The Bills need to get back on track in Week 7, and perhaps getting overseas and into London, England will do just the trick. And if not? Maybe playing the lowly Jaguars will help out in that department. Many great things were expected from Buffalo in 2015. With Rex Ryan at the helm and an influx of talented defensive players and explosive guys on offense, the Bills were seen by many pundits as legitimate playoff threats in a tough AFC East division. But through their first six contests, Buffalo has been wildly inconsistent and dropped a tough one last week at home to a good Bengals team. Now, they enter a virtual must-win contest in Week 7 against an improving, but still awful Jacksonville squad. Despite some key injuries for the Bills up front, it’s time for Buffalo to get serious about a potential playoff berth by showing what they’re capable of.
And while the Jags are still the Jags, they’re a better group than years past. Blake Bortles is improved, and their offense has some scary deep threats. And even though they’re billed as the “home” team in this one, playing in London does them no favours as the NFL tries to extend its global reach. For us viewers, fans, and bettors though – it’s always great to have an early, stand-alone game to kick off our Sundays! Read on below for a full game breakdown and a feature selection for Bills/Jaguars.
Bills vs. Jaguars Betting Odds:
Buffalo Bills -4.5 (-115)
@ Jacksonville Jaguars +4.5 (-105)
Over 41 (-115)
Under 41 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bills vs. Jaguars Pick:
It really is too bad the rash of injuries that have plagued Rex Ryan’s Bills team of late. Tyrod Taylor had been looking great under centre, but Week 7 will be going to E.J. Manuel at the QB position. Percy Harvin is injured again and contemplating retirement, while key wideout Sammy Watkins suffered a tough leg injury last week vs. the Bengals. Still, the Bills have a lot of talented guys up front that have the ability to do damage against any defense.
It was expected that the Jacksonville defense would be solid, yet Bortles and the offense would struggle in 2015. That hasn’t exactly been the case so far – in fact, quite the opposite. Jacksonville’s defense has been porous through the first six games, and could be in for a long day against the Bills’ attack. Even though they’re decent at stuffing the run, the Bills’ LeSean McCoy offers a lot coming out of the backfield as a receiver. Look for Manuel to rely heavily on that option come Sunday morning. Jacksonville has shown big vulnerabilities to this in past weeks, and the fact that they struggle to rush the passer should give Manuel added comfort when operating from the pocket. Jacksonville enters this match-up ranking as the worst coverage team in all of football, so even with Buffalo’s second-tier guys, they should be able to move the chains consistently in London.
Another surprising aspect between these two teams has been the recent play of Buffalo’s defense. Once heralded as the best in football – it’s looked anything but over the past few weeks. Sure they’ve been facing some prolific offenses, but Rex Ryan needs to get more from this talented unit if they’re going to make a push for the playoffs. Lots of focus has been made on the pass rush – or lack thereof – in the lead-up to Week 7, and my money is on the Bills rebounding in a big way this week. This will be a statement game for Mario Williams as he and his Bills’ teammates should feast on a putrid offensive line of Jacksonville. Bortles gets virtually no protection in the pocket, and look for the Bills to be living in that backfield on Sunday.
It should also be noted that Jags’ running back T.J. Yeldon looks ready to return to the Jacksonville backfield on Sunday, although he’ll likely be at less than 100 percent. Even still, the Bills are very stingy when it comes to defending the run, and as a result they should be able to force the Jags’ into a pass-only team. If the Bills can simply focus on coverage and covering the likes of Julius Thomas, Allen Hurns, and Allen Robinson, it could be a tough outing for Jacksonville in front of their “home” fans in London, England.
The Bills enter Week 7 an angry, yet motivated group. They know they’re capable of a lot more – especially on the defensive side of the ball. The perfect remedy for this is playing a brutal team on a neutral site. Look for the Bills to bust out in a big way – led by some key plays from their heralded defense. This spread should be much higher on a neutral field, as I cannot envision a playoff contender only laying 4.5 points to a team battling for a first overall selection in the 2016 Draft! Expect the Bills to roll in England.
PICK = Bills -4.5 (-115)