Final Game Preview: Jaguars vs. Bills

Charlie Bernstein outlines the Jaguars / Bills matchup in his final preview.

Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, November 25, 2007

1:00 p.m., Jacksonville Municipal Stadium

Kickoff Temperature: 73 degrees, 30% chance of precipitation

Line: Jaguars by 8

Records: Buffalo 5-5, second place in the AFC East; Jacksonville 7-3, second place in the AFC South

Bills lead the all-time regular season series, 4-2 with the last game being a 27-24 victory for Buffalo at home last season. The Jaguars first ever postseason victory came at the hands of the Bills on December 8, 1996 in Buffalo.

Five most important things for the Jaguars

    1. Don't fall in. This is almost certainly a trap game for the Jaguars. With a record of 7-3, they are sitting pretty in terms of a playoff spot and are likely itching to get another chance at the Colts who embarrassed the team 29-7 on Jacksonville soil a little over a month ago. The Bills are a worthy competitor and they could pull an upset if the Jaguars aren't 100% focused come Sunday.

    2. Don't lose the special teams battle. The Bills offensive and defensive rankings are poor, but they've won five games. Buffalo has plenty of special teams weapons with return men Roscoe Parrish and Terrance McGee, as well as punter Brian Moorman and kicker Rian Lindell. If the Jaguars can play the Bills to a special teams draw, they should be victorious.

    3. Pound ‘em. Running the football is usually the key to the Jaguars offensive success, but it's especially important this week. The Bills defensive line is smaller than the Jaguars offensive line and if the Jaguars can pound the football for three quarters, the wear and tear will take it's effect on the Buffalo line.

    4. Let Garrard be Garrard. David Garrard has proven in his seven plus games this season that he's one of the better NFL quarterbacks in the league. He made some big throws last week when the Jaguars needed him and there's no reason to believe that he can't do it again. Take the cuffs off and let him make plays.

    5. Cover Lee Evans. Evans is having somewhat of a down year, but he's a legitimate number one receiver in the NFL and he can change a game. The Jaguars need to be aware of Evans every time he steps foot on the playing field.

What to look for:

    1. More dancing from Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars running back will have a solid game this Sunday which will include an appearance in either the north or south end zone, and possibly both.

    2. Look for David Garrard to throw his first interception of the year. Garrard has been sparkling thus far, but he's also been a little lucky. The luck runs out this week and he gets picked by a member of the Bills ball-hawking secondary.

    3. Look for the Jaguars to force multiple turnovers. Buffalo is gritty and gutty, but they do make mistakes, especially when pressure is applied. The Jaguars should pick off either J.P. Losman or Trent Edwards at least two times on Sunday.

    4. Look for a quick start by Jacksonville. The Jaguars will put points on the scoreboard in the first quarter.

    5. Look for the Bills to throw for over 250 yards in the game. I see the Bills not having much of a running game and being forced to throw the ball. They will have some success with the speedy Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish on the outside.

Prediction: The Jaguars are a better team on offense and defense, and if they can not allow big special teams plays by Buffalo, I can't see how they lose. The Jaguars have finally matured, and this one will send the fans to the parking lots early. Final score: Jaguars 34, Bills 13.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, and a regular syndicated contributor to, Sirius NFL Radio, and Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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