Bills vs Jaguars: Game Plans

Bills- Jaguars: What they can do, what they need to do, and what type of impact injuries might play on Sunday. Game plans for both teams.


GAME PLAN: Buffalo used plenty of big special teams plays to overcome a dominating offensive display by Jacksonville last year in defeating the Jaguars 27-24 in Orchard Park. Without RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle) to control the ball on the road, the Bills will need similar contributions from other sources to pull off the upset. QB J.P. Losman absolutely needs a big game and should test the Jaguars' two-safety high scheme early with CB Rashean Mathis (groin) hobbled and perhaps out of the lineup. And Buffalo can't shy from running the ball as it did last week against New England, particularly against a Jaguars defense missing MLB Mike Peterson (hand) and DT Marcus Stroud (suspended). Buffalo needs to match aggressive play with aggressive play.

Defensively, Buffalo can't allow a repeat of last November's Fred Taylor-Maurice Jones-Drew show, when Jacksonville gained 207 yards rushing on 35 carries in Buffalo. Buffalo's defensive ends must also force containment on QB David Garrard, who can keep a lot of plays alive with his feet.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bills PR Roscoe Parrish, who scored on an 82-yard punt return last year against Jacksonville, vs. Jaguars special teams.

Bills run defense, ranked 20th in the NFL, vs. Jaguars' No. 3 rushing offense, led by Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, who have combined to top 1,000 yards already.

Bills QB J.P. Losman, who had a solid game at home against Jacksonville last year, vs. Jaguars' No. 23 defense that could be missing Mathis (groin).

INJURY IMPACT: The absence of Lynch (ankle) is significant as there are no players close to his skill level on the depth chart. Anthony Thomas has lost a step at age 30 and can't turn a corner. But he can be effective on runs between the tackles. Rookie Dwayne Wright has good potential but the coaching staff is reluctant to give him a heavy workload, particularly on passing downs against the blitz.


GAME PLAN: The Jaguars figure to run the ball against the Buffalo defense that isn't noted for stopping the run. The Jaguars ran for 207 yards against them last year, but still managed to lose the game mainly because Roscoe Parrish returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Fred Taylor had 101 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew added 78. If they run that way again, they should be able to control the game.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bills WR Lee Evans vs. Jaguars CB Brian Williams. Williams missed last year's game with an injury and the Jaguars started Dee Webb, who lasted only a half before being pulled for Scott Starks. Evans wound up with five catches, but Williams will give him a tougher test, although the Bills may try to isolate them on their safeties.

Bills TE Robert Royal vs. Jaguars SS Sammy Knight. Knight is showing his age and is sometimes pulled for Jamal Fudge on passing downs. Royal has only 13 catches this year, but could be a bigger factor if the Bills match him up against the Jaguars safeties.

INJURY IMPACT: The defense may be hurting because MLB Mike Peterson is out with a broken hand and CB Rashean Mathis missed practice with a groin injury Wednesday. The two injuries could leave the defense vulnerable. Daryl Smith is expected to move to the middle to replace Peterson, which will vault Justin Durant into the starting lineup. Starks will replace Mathis if he can't go. Offsetting their injuries was the return last week of quarterback David Garrard, who showed no rust after missing three games with a high-ankle sprain.

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