The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 but the level of difficulty will turn up a couple notches when they face off against the Buffalo Bills Sunday. Add the potential return of outside linebacker Von Miller and this looks like a tough matchup.
Miller, who started the 2023 season on Injured Reserve, is trending toward making his season debut in Week 5. He made the trip with the Bills to the UK and has had no setbacks in practice, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
Last year, Miller tore his AFL and missed six games. He spent the offseason recovering but wasn't ready for the opener, so he was placed on IR. Although the former Texas A&M Aggie has dealt with injuries in recent years and hasn't had a 10+ sack season since 2018, he's still a dominant pass rusher, one that could give the Jaguars fits.
Even without Miller, the Bills boast a stout (and deep) defensive front. Leonard Floyd, Gregory Rosseau, and Ed Oliver already tallied three sacks this season and players such as A.J. Epenesa and Jordan Phillips will ensure their rotation remains fresh throughout the game.
Miller, the second-overall pick in 2011, signed a multi-year contract with Buffalo. He won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2015 and has consistently been one of the top pass rushers in the league.
Earlier this week, Miller said he would play if the coaching staff believed it was the best course of action but he's progressively sounded more confident about his chances of playing, going as far as saying that if he were a betting man, he would be suiting up for Week 5.
Von Miller and the Bills will be a huge test for the Jaguars
The Jags showed in Week 4 that they're a good yet imperfect team. Trevor Lawrence will always give them a fighting chance, especially when his receivers aren't dropping passes at a high rate. Their defense has also done a good job of stopping opponents from reaching the end zone.
That said, there are a few areas of concern heading into Week 5. The main one is that their offensive line hasn't given Lawrence ample time to throw or make blocks in the running game. The good news is that left tackle Cam Robinson is back from a suspension. His return should give the unit a boost.
On defense, the pass rush can get hot at any time but then disappear for full games. If the Jags want to have a shot at beating Buffalo, they'll need to slow down quarterback Josh Allen, who leads the second-best offense in the league. Similarly, the defense will have their hands full, whether Von Miller makes his return or not.
There's a chance Miller won't suit up, and if that's the case, Jacksonville will get a bit of a break. On the other hand, they could struggle in Week 5 if he does play. Either way, the Jaguars have to be ready to face him.