Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 15 picks: Bills at Jaguars

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the AFC matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dan's take:
Unlike Buffalo, Jacksonville has shown progress despite its woes this season. One thing the Jaguars haven't shown, however, is a running game, which has been non-existent aside from last week against a porous Houston defense. Chad Henne's sub-par season continues with a pedestrian showing against the Bills' top-rated pass rush, which takes advantage of Jacksonville's troubled offensive line. A strong turnaround by Buffalo's running back corps fuels an offense in desperate need of some consistency.
Prediction: Bills 22, Jaguars 13

Sean's take:
In the not-too-distant past, say, around Week 8, the Bills were considered a good young team finding its legs at 3-5 and the Jaguars were an 0-8 laughingstock, getting routed week in, week out. Since then, Buffalo has imploded while Jacksonville has ridden a wave of excitement and easy opponents and now both teams are 4-9. Lined up side by side, the Bills are the most talented team, but have been held back by quarterback E.J. Manuel's errant play. The rookie rounds into form in Jacksonville, which is 150 miles from Manuel's alma mater, Florida State. Buffalo wins a close one. 
Prediction: Bills 23, Jaguars 17

Nick's take:
The Bills are making their second trip to Florida in as many weeks to face a team that's trending in the opposite direction -- a better direction -- as Buffalo. The Bills' pass rush gives them a fighting chance, and offensively, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson rebound. But Manuel's struggles continue against a defense with six turnovers in its last three games and 10 in its last five, and the Jags extend their winning streak to four.
Prediction: Jaguars 24, Bills 20