The Buffalo Bills are more than a two-touchdown favorite this weekend over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bills were a two-touchdown favorite last weekend over the Miami Dolphins. One big difference this week is that the Bills are on the road, so the oddsmakers and the money really like Buffalo to win handily this weekend.
This could be considered one of those “trap games” given the talent disparity between the two clubs; however, Bills head coach Sean McDermott doesn’t dabble in such things. He will have his charges focused on any Sunday that the Bills are playing any team.
Some injury concerns have me a little nervous this week, though, as Buffalo will likely be down some starters for the second straight week. What’s worse is that the Bills could be starting yet another new combination along the offensive line.
Here are our players to watch this Sunday when Buffalo plays at Jacksonville.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
With apologies to our own Matt Byham, who I may or may not have advised to start Sanders on his fantasy team last weekend, I’m thinking that there’s no way that Manny has two straight weeks in the gutter. Last week, Sanders failed to catch any of the four targets that came his way. Sanders is averaging 17.2 yards per grab on the season, though, and he’d been over 50 receiving yards in all but one of Buffalo’s games prior to last week. He’s gone over 90 yards twice, as well, and he’s also caught multiple touchdowns in two games, making him the only Buffalo player to catch multiple touchdown passes in multiple games this season. Jacksonville is going to have a tough time stopping the Bills’ offense, but I don’t think that Sanders is going to be the focal point. This weekend could be the best game of his Buffalo career.
G Cody Ford
Jon Feliciano isn’t going to play this weekend. There’s a chance that Spencer Brown doesn’t play, either, which would mean that the Bills’ offensive line group would be (from left to right): Dion Dawkins, Ike Boettger, Mitch Morse, Cody Ford, and Daryl Williams. The play up front hasn’t been great, and Ford has already lost his starting gig once this season. He may have a chance here to give the coaching staff a reason to re-insert him into the lineup with a solid effort on Sunday. If Brown can play, I think Ford will likely sit, as the Bills will just make a one-for-one switch with Boettger for Feliciano. If Ford is given another chance, he needs to make the most of it.
DT Ed Oliver
You know what would be better than one phenomenal game where the former No. 9 overall pick was a straight-up wrecking ball? A second consecutive game where Buffalo’s top draft choice from 2019 was a straight-up wrecking ball. Oliver already has four tackles-for-loss on the season, so he’s on pace to break his career-high total of six, which he set for himself as a rookie. He’s yet to notch a sack this year, and he only has two quarterback hits even though he has played more snaps on defense than any Bills defensive lineman thus far. He’ll take down rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence this week for his first sack.
CB Levi Wallace
Buffalo’s CB2 had a tough time with DeVante Parker last week, as he allowed plenty of yards and catches when targeted against the bigger, stronger player across from him. The Jaguars have some thicker wideouts in Laviska Shenault, and even players like Marvin Jones and D.J. Chark are bigger and stronger than Wallace. Those guys aren’t as physical as Parker, so I’m looking for Wallace to have a bounce-back game this weekend.
P Matt Haack
Yep, I’m watching the punter in a game where I don’t expect that the Bills will punt much. That’ll happen when the punter is among the worst in the league in net yards per punt (37.8) and gross yards per punt (43.9), and one of his alleged strengths, pinning teams inside the 20, hasn’t come to fruition, either. Haack has put just six of his 20 punts inside the 20. The only positive has been the hang time on the kicks he hasn’t shanked, as Haack has allowed just 24 punt return yards on eight return attempts. That yardage total is the best among qualifiers, per The Football Database. In any case, Haack needs to be more consistent in the few attempts he has to punt per game.