The Buffalo Bills put the rest of the league on notice following an impressive win at home over the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. Quarterback Josh Allen has received a wide share of the spotlight following his near-flawless performance that saw him finish with more touchdowns (5 total) than incomplete passes (4).
Buffalo’s win last Sunday was an important victory on many levels, chief among them positioning in the AFC East and avoiding an 0-2 hole in the division. But it also allowed for the rewriting of narratives, and giving the Bills’ current roster increased confidence as the season progresses.
But a Week 4 victory didn’t make the Bills winners of anything more than three games. The debate about which team is best can and likely will change several times in the next 14 weeks. What most view on paper as tough or easy schedule can look very different in reality.
Among the things that have remained true since head coach Sean McDermott came to One Bills Drive is that the Jacksonville Jaguars have proven a tough opponent for Buffalo. It might be argued that in prior seasons, the Bills lacked as complete a team as they field in 2023. While that may be the case, it’s also the same for the Jaguars.
Sunday’s game on relatively unfamiliar British soil marks the 19th times these two team face off. This meeting will serve as the rubber match — with the series tied 9-9 (all time including playoffs). Buffalo and Jacksonville have each played host to the other nine times. While the box score will show the Bills as the home team in 2023, it’s more of a figurehead role than an actual advantage. (Fitting, given the locale, no?)
Thinking back to the 20th century, the upstart new-to-the-NFL Jaguars laid waste to the Bills’ postseason plans in 1996, winning 30-27 and shocking the crowd at Rich Stadium. That playoff game was the first meeting between the two clubs, and also became Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s final NFL game — in part due to the injury he sustained in the loss.
Interestingly, in the 18 previous meetings, the winning team has only ever won by a two-score or more lead a total of four times. In those four games, the Bills and Jaguars both finished 2-2, winning a game each on the road and at home.
Here’s how those games played out:
- 2003: 38-17 @ JAX — with Bills winning
- 2007: 36-14 @ JAX — with Jaguars winning
- 2010: 36-26 @ BUF — with Jaguars winning
- 2012: 34-18 @ BUF — with Bills winning
The rest of their series history is painted by close-fought games, again finishing right down the middle and locked at 7-7. Following the Bills’ win in Week 4, many expect this weekend’s game to come easy for Buffalo, and the DraftKings Sportsbook odds find favor with the Bills. But the Jaguars have been over in London since last weekend, when they convincingly defeated the Atlanta Falcons. So Jacksonville has acclimated to the six hour time difference, and the Bills will attempt to do so by flying in on Friday. Despite playing as the away team, the Jaguars should have an upper hand in a few regards — namely being adjusted to UK time, and having been overseas for more than a week by Sunday.
It’s not going to be easy for the Bills. Aside from the hurdles they’ll encounter hopping the globe, these Jaguars are a worthy opponent. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to mature under head coach Doug Pederson, while the additions of running back Travis Etienne plus wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk are paying dividends. Jacksonville also has their own Josh Allen — the talented pass rusher who usually gives QB17 fits.
The Bills have proven capable of stopping the most talented and capable offenses, this year and prior. The big question will be if Buffalo can sustain such an elite level of play on both sides of the ball. For the Jaguars, it’s going to be paramount for them to establish an early lead and play lights out on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
This showdown’s an early one for most of Bills Mafia. The game kicks off at 9:30 a.m. EDT, 6:30 a.m. PDT. Be sure to get your popcorn ready for the early fireworks show this weekend!
All our coverage for the Buffalo Bills’ Week 5 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars is linked below. Be sure to keep it locked here to stay connected with all things Bills at Buffalo Rumblings!