Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Jaguars at Bills


The still-reeling Buffalo Bills begin a three-game home stand this week, and what better way to begin the uphill journey than with an easy first step. (photo: Lizz Koch, Flickr)

Jacksonville has been just that this year, though the Jags snapped a seven-game losing streak last week that secured their second win of the season. With Chad Henne now at the helm of the Jags' offense, Jacksonville is looking much more ominous than its numbers indicate, and the Bills cannot afford another disappointment with only five games to go.

(Editor's note: Dan was on a major pun kick this week. Please excuse him.)

No. 1 in the run, C.J. Coach Chan Gailey said earlier this week that even if both of his productive running backs are healthy, C.J. Spiller will receive the majority of the touches. Spiller leads the league in yards per attempt and is second in rushes of 20 yards or more, which should be a handful for a Jags defense giving up 136 yards per game on the ground. Spiller should see upwards of 30 total touches Sunday, with Fred Jackson getting his time in the screen game and the red zone.

Mario once again super? Despite a slow start, defensive end Mario Williams has stepped up his game as of late. After only 1.5 sacks in his first five games, Williams has tallied seven in his last six games. He may be poised for another three-sack game like last week, as Jacksonville's offensive line has been porous this year. The squad has given up 34 sacks, fourth most in the league, and Jaguars quarterbacks are getting hit nearly 28 percent of the time they drop back to pass.

Hello, Henne. Buffalo will be welcoming back a familiar face Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, former Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne. Taking over for the injured Blaine Gabbert, Henne has thrown for more than 600 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games. He has had average numbers against the Bills in the past, splitting four games with just over a 64 percent completion rating, according to Pro Football Reference. He's 1-1 at Ralph Wilson.

Salute your Shorts. Jags wide receiver Cecil Shorts has exploded in his second year in the league, finding his niche as a true deep threat. Despite Jacksonville's lack of success this season, Shorts is second among all wide receivers in average yards per catch (20.8), snagging six touchdowns and 14 catches of 20 yards or more. Impressive given he barely makes the top 75 in receptions. Look for the Bills to keep a safety over the top of him for much of the game, which means Jairus Byrd will be chomping at the bit for a chance at a big play.
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