Three Jaguars to watch Sunday at Buffalo
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars can beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and end a six-game losing streak if these three players become difference makers.
You can tell the Jacksonville Jaguars six-game losing streak is affecting the organization. There isn’t as much chatter in the locker room. The coaching staff is still searching for ways to solve issues on both sides of the ball. As the holiday season has started, these players would like to finally win a football game and end the countless questions asked by the local media on a daily basis.
This week, the Buffalo Bills are the latest team the Jaguars must focus on to end the streak and bring some much-needed confidence to the franchise. A win also keeps a slim hope of the postseason on the table. A loss and yes, the season is over.
"“I have all the confidence in the world we’ll fight through this thing together and come out the other side,” Blake Bortles said on Wednesday via Jaguars.com."
Jacksonville walks into Buffalo as a clear favorite in a repeat of the AFC Wild Card game from last season. Bortles is one of those players on offense who must have amnesia and play better than they did against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Throwing for 108 yards while only completing 55.6 percent of his passes won’t help this team in a tough environment.
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Bortles is going to have to take advantage of what the defense gives him and may need to rely on his running game or more run-pass option as passing lanes close up. Also, these three players will need a big game to help Jacksonville win on Sunday.
Malik Jackson – He did not start in the game against Pittsburgh. With the injury to Marcell Dareus, who still may play on Sunday, Malik Jackson will need to help with the pass rush up the middle to rattle rookie Josh Allen.
Jackson may be playing his final six games in Jacksonville. Changes to player personnel and his contract on the books for 2019 may force the team to release him after this season. I expect the defensive tackle to play with a chip on his shoulder this week, sending a message to management there is still play for him to play for in 2018.
Rashad Greene – Rashad Greene has not had the kind of season to write home about but could make a difference in the passing game this week. Call it a hunch.
The former FSU star fumbled the football late in the game against Indianapolis when the Jaguars were driving to possibly take the lead and win the game. He could replace DJ Chark in the rotation this week and could also aid the team on special teams.
A possession receiver and punt returner, he could be valuable as an under the radar target.
Tyler Shatley – He did not have the best game against the Steelers. Will he rebound this week?
Tyler Shatley played well in place of Brandon Linder last season. The Jaguars need their pivot man to help improve the left side of the line with the run game and pass protection. Buffalo’s pass rush isn’t nearly as dominant as Pittsburgh, but this unit made Kansas City look like world beaters.
If Shatley plays better and stops the pass rush up the middle, Bortles could have more time in the pocket to read and react to the defense.