By now, you’re aware that the Buffalo Bills are playing their upcoming ‘home’ game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, not Orchard Park. Random, not-so-fun fact: the Bills have the second most international games under their belts, only behind the Jaguars. Despite the Jags’ second home being in England, Buffalo is still a 5.5-point favorite at the time of my writing this article. That makes sense with the Bills coming off of a 28-point over former media darling Miami. It’ll be early here in the States, with kickoff set for 9:30 AM Eastern Standard Time. To get you ready for an early morning, here are my five keys to a Buffalo victory over the Jaguars across the pond on Sunday.
Let Allen Be Allen
This one is “bait,” which the internet says means “obvious” or “simple” in London slang. The Bills’ 48-20 win over Miami was a prime example of Josh Allen doing his awesome stuff but within the confines of a great game plan from Ken Dorsey. Allen went 21 for 25 with 320 yards and four touchdowns, added a rushing TD, and finished with a perfect passer rating. Over their last three games, the Jags ranked 18th in the NFL in passer rating against at 93.4. We’ll get deeper into the passing stats shortly.
Pass the Pint
The Bills need to keep attacking downfield with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and crew. We saw what they did last week, with eight players coming down with a catch, including four touchdowns from Diggs (three) and Davis (one). The Jaguars have a glaring issue against the pass. They rank 19th in opponent yards per pass at 6.8 yards. They’re 22nd in opponents’ passing yards per game at 238.3 yards per game. Passing the rock downfield should be available for Buffalo early and often.
This may be a key to victory each week. Last year, it was “all gas, no breaks,” but this season, it’s been “FAST START.” Let me explain. Over their last three games, the Bills have scored 10.3 points per game in the first quarter. On the other side of the field, Jacksonville is 22nd with 2.3 points per game in the first quarter. I think all of Bills Mafia would sign up for an eight-point lead after the first 15 minutes. Taking this a quarter further, the Bills are first at points by halftime over their last three games at 22.7. Once again, the Jags are significantly worse, at 27th with 7.7 points in the first half. Again, I believe everyone cheering for Buffalo would be content with a 15-point edge at half.
I know what you’re thinking… Greg, what does soccer have to do with Bills vs. Jaguars? In this instance ‘futbol’ is just a placeholder for ‘kicking the ball.’ Entering Week 5, Jacksonville is 24th in field goal conversion percentage at 80%. We always talk about the Bills’ defense bending and not breaking. There is an added emphasis on this with the struggles of the Jags in the kicking game.
Fish and Chips
The Bills need to deploy the same blocking scheme against the Jags’ Josh Allen that they did with the Raiders’ Maxx Crosby. Buffalo did a fantastic job vs. one of the game’s top pass rushers by helping Spencer Brown with chips, double teams, and sliding protection. The Jacksonville defensive line isn’t as one-dimensional as Las Vegas, but Allen is ninth in true pass rush grade at 90.5, per ProFootballFocus. No other Jaguars player is within the top 40. Allen’s six sacks as an EDGE are tied for the most in the league, and his six hits rank third.