Behind Enemy Lines: Bills at Jaguars, Part 1

The Bills are hot. The Jaguars are not. Why? And how will this bode for Sunday's game between the two AFC powers? In Part 1 of Behind Enemy Lines, BFR's Tyler Dunne asks JagNation's Charlie Bernstein a five-pack of questions, ranging from Jacksonville's embattled offensive line to the pressure on $60 million-man David Garrard...

1. What's going on with Jacksonville's offensive line? Were the seven sacks allowed and 33 rushing yards last week more of a red flag for the Jaguars or a product of the Tennessee's defense?

The Jaguars offensive line is currently missing three of their five starters, and their top backup at guard, Uche Nwaneri hurt his knee, and their top backup at tackle, Richard Collier was shot last week. The interior of the Jaguars line was simply whipped by a better Titans defensive line led by Albert Haynesworth. The seven sacks were mostly a product of quarterback David Garrard holding the ball for too long, and they abandoned the running game pretty early which helped account for the league low total of rushing yards.

2. Do you see the Fred Taylor/Maurice Jones-Drew tandem bouncing back soon?

Realistically, it's going to be tough for the two-headed monster to get much accomplished on the ground with a patchwork interior of the line. That said, Taylor and Jones-Drew are too great of players to be kept down for long. I believe the Jaguars didn't really establish their dominance on the ground until week three of last season, but that was with the line near full strength. I believe they'll make more of a commitment to run the football on Sunday.

3. David Garrard was rewarded with a six-year, $60 million contract after last season. Will he justify this deal and stick at QB for years to come in Jacksonville?

That's the million dollar question, actually the sixty-million dollar question. Garrard was great last season, but it was only one season. I believed that they jumped the gun a bit in signing him to such a rich extension based on just one good year. Garrard made poor decisions on opening day and was visibly off target. We'll probably know more by the middle of this year.

4. What area of Jacksonville's vaunted defense could the Bills possibly exploit?

I believe the best matchup for the Bills is wide receiver Lee Evans vs. cornerback Drayton Florence. Florence was beaten repeatedly a week ago by…Justin Gage. If it wasn't for Vince Young missing receivers by five plus yards, it wouldn't have been a close game. The Jaguars don't usually move their corners, so if Buffalo lines Evans up against Florence, they should find plenty of success. Also, misdirections and screen passes work well against a Jaguars defense that's usually a little over-aggressive.

5. Are the Jaguars still a legitimate Super Bowl contender - and how does playing AFC South help or hurt these chances?

If the Jaguars can patch together the interior of the offensive line and David Garrard can be the David Garrard of 2007, they absolutely are a Super Bowl contender. Those are pretty big ifs, however. The AFC South was the strongest division a year ago, but it seems down this year, as Jacksonville has injury problems, Indy doesn't look like the same time with an aging core of stars, and Tennessee needs a quarterback. Houston is still missing a pass rush and a running game. With Tom Brady out of the picture, the entire AFC is wide open and there are plenty of teams that can be considered contenders, among them are Buffalo.


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