Pancakes, eggs and the Buffalo Bills versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. What better way to spend your Sunday morning? The Doug Marrone Bowl is just days away so it’s time to make some predictions for the Week 7 matchup.
LeSean McCoy rushes for over 100 yards
Jacksonville isn’t bad in terms of run defense. In fact, the team is currently ranked 14th in the league and only allows 101.7 rushing yards per game. Despite this, the Bills are going to come into the game with a game plan that relies heavily upon the run. Look for McCoy to have his number called at least 20 times on Sunday. McCoy will be successful getting the run game going against a defense that has been credited with 63 missed tackles. In doing so, he’ll make it easier for quarterback EJ Manuel to find success in the passing game.
Last week, McCoy looked like his old self on the field. He made players miss and was able to pick up good chunks of yardage on the ground. McCoy finished with 90 yards rushing last week, his highest amount as a Bills running back. This week, the back goes over 100 yards on the ground for the first time as a Bills player.
Charles Clay leads the Bills in receiving yards
This prediction isn’t too bold. Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin are out for Sunday’s game and Marquise Goodwin was recently placed on the injured reserve. That leaves Buffalo’s receiving corps pretty thin. The Bills will have Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Denarius Moore available on Sunday. There’s a chance that Marcus Easley joins them and it’s certainly possible that Dezmin Lewis is added to the team’s 53-man roster. That said, this isn’t an ideal group of receivers. For that reason, Manuel will look at Clay and Chris Gragg for help.
Clay, currently No. 2 in terms of receptions among all tight ends, will certainly be up to the challenge and when the dust settles on Sunday, he’ll be Buffalo’s leading receiver entering the bye week.
The Bills defense records a minimum of four sacks
Here’s a bit of a bold prediction. Through six games, the Bills have recorded nine sacks. Nine! That is significantly lower than most Bills fans expected entering Week 7. This week, the defense goes off and records at least four sacks.
Through six games, the Jaguars have allowed 17 sacks, so opposing teams have certainly had success getting to Blake Bortles. Some of that falls on the offensive line, but Bortles also deserves some blame. The quarterback is ninth in the league in terms of holding the ball at 2.71 seconds, so the Bills should have some opportunities to sack Bortles on Sunday.
Buffalo’s defensive line has voiced their opinion on how they’re being used and on Sunday, Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan will finally let the line get after the quarterback. In addition to the defensive line, Buffalo will try to confuse the young QB with some exotic blitzes. The entire defense will be flying all over the field for Buffalo and by time the final whistle blows, Buffalo will have sacked Blake Bortles at least four times.
Buffalo helps Marrone land his next head coaching job
Doug Marrone took the money and ran at the end of last season. His 2015 salary was fully guaranteed with Buffalo and Marrone had an opt-out clause in his contract. He took advantage of this and received $4 million to simply walk away from the team.
Marrone probably assumed that he’d be a sought after coach after leading the Bills to a 9-7 record, so he took a chance on himself. The risk didn’t pay off however as he received very little interest on the coaching market. Eventually, Marrone landed in Jacksonville as the team’s offensive line coach.
Don’t be surprised if Marrone’s old team helps him land the head coaching job with his current team. Buffalo is banged up and will have their backup quarterback under center and quite a few backups on the field at wide receiver. Defensively, they’re without a starting defensive lineman and safety. With all of the injuries, it’s only fair for the Jaguars brass to assume that Jacksonville could win on Sunday.
Instead, I expect Buffalo’s defense to have their best game of the year. The team will shut down the Jaguars offense and Buffalo will find a way to win comfortably. In doing so, it wouldn’t be a shocking move to see the Jaguars fire Gus Bradley and promote Doug Marrone to interim head coach for the remainder of the season. In doing so, the Bills get to close the book on Marrone and the former head coach gets another opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. Sounds like a win-win for everyone involved (minus Jaguars players and Gus Bradley).
Despite missing many quality players, the Bills pull out a convincing win against the Jaguars by a score of 27-13. Buffalo goes into the bye week with a 4-3 record and the team gets some additional time to rest up and get healthy. As for the Jaguars, the team goes into their bye week at 1-6 and the Gus Bradley era comes to an end. For the remainder of the 2015 season, Doug Marrone gets to run the show for Jacksonville.