Jacksonville Jaguars facing a Buffalo Bills team sitting multiple key players, need to take advantage


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The Jacksonville Jaguars are flying to London on Thursday for what is quickly becoming their annual beatdown in front of a massive crowd at Wembley Stadium, but they have an opportunity to win back a little bit of goodwill with the fans as they face the Buffalo Bills early Sunday morning.

At full strength, the Jaguars are vastly outmatched by the Bills at almost every position. Newly rejuvenated starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor has thrived under offensive coordinator Greg Roman, wide receiver Sammy Watkins is an explosive playmaker, Karlos Williams has had a nose for the endzone in 2015, and their defensive line is frighteningly effective with several impressive players, including Kyle Williams. Well, luckily for the Jaguars, all of the players I listed will be out of this Sunday’s game:

This is great for the Jaguars, but it’s continuing a disturbing trend this season of opposing teams sitting key players against the Jaguars, essentially treating the Jacksonville squad like an extra bye week.

The most significant swap in that group is EJ Manuel for Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. The Jaguars already lost to a Manuel-led Bills team 27-20 in 2013, letting the young signal caller out of FSU put together a respectable 193 yard, 2 touchdown outing. Since then, Manuel was unceremoniously benched for Kyle Orton and lost the starting job to Taylor after the team brought in Matt Cassel to supplant Manuel.

Most of that is inconsequential, but the main takeaway is this – EJ Manuel is a bad quarterback. Over the last 3 weeks, the Jaguars have made bad quarterbacks look competent and even outstanding at times. It needs to stop this week. The Jaguars absolutely have to shut down EJ Manuel, especially when he’s missing 3 of his top skill players in Watkins, Percy Harvin, and Williams.

The Jaguars offense against a stout Bills defense on the other side of the ball is another story, but it starts and ends with how the Jaguars deal with Manuel. If they let another replacement-level quarterback light them up, it’s going to get damn near impossible to defend head coach Gus Bradley.

Next: Gus Bradley safe for now

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