Sunday, September 14, 2008, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
Records: Buffalo 1-0, Jacksonville 0-1
Series history: Buffalo leads 4-3 (regular season), Jacksonville won the only playoff meeting. Last season: Jacksonville won, 36-14.
Five most important things for the Jaguars:
1. Patch it up, your backs are against the wall. There realistically isn't a must-win situation for any team in week two, but with a trip to Indianapolis looming, as well as a tough divisional matchup with the Texans in week four, the Jaguars can't really afford to start out 0-2 in the conference. Every team is dealing with injuries right now, and you can't use them as an excuse.What to look for:
"They're all important games," said Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. "If somebody would let me know which game is not important, I'd like to hear it."
2. Outplay them on special teams. Buffalo has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, but so do the Jaguars. Jacksonville needs to tackle or kick away from Roscoe Parrish and Terrance McGee, and they must convert on all their field goal attempts. Special teams could decide this one, and the Jaguars are capable of dominating any team on special teams.
"Special teams-wise, Roscoe Parrish; He had a 63-yard return for a touchdown. Of course we remember that he had one on us in a previous game. He was close on several others and he's going to be somebody that we'll have to contend with on Sunday. They also hit a fake field goal on special teams for a touchdown. So they're playing well," Del Rio said.
3. Garrard must be a playmaker. To put it simply, when David Garrard was given a six-year, $60 million contract, he became more than just a guy that hands off and throws 20 times per game. Garrard is being paid like a top-ten quarterback and he needs to make plays, not be just a game manager. With the interior of the Jaguars offensive line struggling, Garrard must elevate his game and his team.
"The bottom line is there were a couple situations where we can get rid of the ball and protect ourselves and not take a negative play," Del Rio said when talking about Garrard's play in the opener.
4. Throw to score, run to win. The Jaguars have some matchups that they can exploit through the air, and they should do that early. If they can get a lead, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew should be able to ground out the Bills as they wilt in the heat and humidity.
"It's going to be hot," said Del Rio. "It's heating up; it's going to be hot. It's hot for everybody. It's going to be hot, though."
5. Play in front of the sticks. Most offenses struggle when they have downs longer than ten yards, the Jaguars are especially one of those offenses that struggle in those situations. Jacksonville needs to limit penalties and negative plays, and David Garrard needs to get rid of the ball instead of taking sacks.
1. David Garrard to bounce back. Garrard didn't play two bad games in a row a year ago, and there's no reason to believe he won't bounce back this Sunday. David followed a horrible playoff game in Pittsburgh with an outstanding performance against New England. He should be up to the task against the Bills defense.Jack Del Rio talked about the play of his defense a week ago—
2. The Jaguars to match Rashean Mathis up against Lee Evans, or else. We understand that the Jaguars paid big money to Drayton Florence in the offseason, but Florence was beaten repeatedly by Justin Gage on opening day. Evans is considerably better than Gage, and the Jaguars will have to line Mathis up against him or there will be some big plays as punishment.
3. Two combined turnovers or less. Both teams are normally very good at protecting the football, and turnovers shouldn't be a big factor in this game.
4. A big special teams play. Although both coverage units are excellent, all the return men in this game are very explosive. There's a great chance of a long return or blocked punt or kick.
5. The scoreboard operator to fall asleep. With the Jaguars offensive line in shambles, and the high level of the Jacksonville defense, there shouldn't be much scoring in this one. Like last week, first team to two touchdowns wins.
"I'm happy with some things; I'm not happy with the end result. They didn't convert a third down until the fourth quarter; that's good. They weren't able to sustain anything, go down the field; that's good. So you could look at reasons why, how, the bottom line is that there were some good things going on. Guys played hard, a lot of energy, flying around. Now do I want it crisper? Do I want more tackling, cleaner tackling, stronger tackling? Do I want a more ferocious rush? Do I want more interceptions, more fumbles? We created two turnovers, I want more. So as a coach, you're never satisfied.
Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron talked about the Jaguars—
"Jacksonville is a physical team, a big team. We've played them. This will be the third year in a row we've played them, so we feel like we know a little bit about them and they certainly know a little bit about us. We're excited about the opportunity."