When the Buffalo Bills take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, they may very well be matching up against the hottest quarterback in the league in Chad Henne. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
Here's a thing you probably didn't expect to read as recently as two weeks ago: when the Buffalo Bills host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, they're going to have to stop arguably the hottest quarterback in the NFL.
Of course, Chad Henne was not starting for the Jaguars two weeks ago; that was Blaine Gabbert stinking up the field (and the stat sheet) on a weekly basis. When Gabbert was injured early in Week 11 against the Houston Texans, however, Henne stepped into the lineup, and Jacksonville's offense has been completely different with him at the helm - even as they continue to play without the services of star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
In his last two games - a 43-37 overtime loss to those Texans, and a 24-19 home win over the Tennessee Titans last Sunday - Henne has thrown for 615 yards (at a ridiculous 10.4 yards per attempt) with six touchdowns and just one interception. Never mind that his completion percentage is not all that impressive (55.9 percent) and that he was sacked seven times by the Titans; Henne is playing the best football of his career for Mike Mularkey. Those two scores were the Jaguars' two highest point totals of an otherwise miserable season.
Three Jaguars receivers - wideouts Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, as well as tight end Marcedes Lewis - have taken off since Henne's arrival in the lineup. Blackmon - the No. 5 overall pick in April's draft - has recorded an astonishing 54.4 percent of his 548 receiving yards this season in the last two games alone (17 receptions, 298 yards, two touchdowns). Shorts, the team's big-play receiver, has two touchdowns and 186 yards on seven grabs, and Lewis has added 96 yards and two scores on his seven grabs, as well.
In fact, Henne's been so productive in the past two games that his production rivals his totals in four career games against the Bills, when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins. In going 2-2 against the Bills with Miami, Henne threw for 748 yards at a dismal 5.7 yards per attempt (though he did complete 64.4 percent of his throws), and threw more interceptions (4) than touchdowns (3). Believe it or not, the Bills have always been able to pressure Henne, as well; he's been sacked 13 times in those four games against Buffalo.
Buffalo has played enough high-caliber quarterbacks (Tom Brady twice and Matt Schaub) that they're very likely not going to be intimidated by a guy that they've played well against in the past. Still, the question is worth pondering: will the Bills' improving defense play against the Henne of the past two weeks, or will they get the Henne that they've seen four times in recent years?