While the Jaguars have been at the bottom of the NFL barrel for years now, they have started to stockpile some young talent, and in recent weeks have been putting up points. Sure they are just 1-5 on the year, but the Bills have to be careful in London on Sunday. Here are a few players and positions to watch for that could be factors this weekend:
1. Charles Clay – Without Watkins and Harvin, the Bills are left with only one reliable pass catcher. Out of all of the Bills’ offseason moves, Clay has without a doubt been the best. He has lived up to the hype of his big contract. The best thing about Clay is he comes to play every week, never taking any plays off or complaining about his touches. He was targeted 13 times last week by Manuel, hauling in 9 catches for 62 yards. Keep an eye on Clay, it seemed he and Manuel had instant chemistry last Sunday.
2. E.J Manuel – According to Football Outsiders, the Jacksonville defense ranks 31st in the league in pass defense. Despite missing his top two receivers, Manuel should be able to move the ball through the air against the weak Jaguars secondary. Its do or die this weekend for Manuel, and he has the perfect matchup to put up points.
3. The Cold Front – All week Buffalo’s expensive defense line has been criticized by the mainstream media, citing the lack of pressure generated on the opposing quarterback all year. Luckily for the Bills, Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore are having outstanding years shutting down the top receivers in the league. The frustration form the defensive line is starting to show, now with some expressing their unhappiness with the media. Kyle Williams will not be playing this week, but there are still three pro bowlers starting on the line. Rex needs to figure out a way to keep the cold front happy, and get them back to the form of last year.
1. T.J. Yeldon – The rookie second round pick out of Alabama has quietly become a solid versatile running back. Yeldon caught five balls in his last game out of the backfield, and the week before ran for over 100 yards. The Bills have been prone to running backs who can catch the ball and beat linebackers in open space (think Rashad Jennings). Yeldon is listed as questionable this week, it would be a huge help for Jacksonville if he is on the field.
2. Run Defense – It looked like LeSean McCoy was back to full speed and 100% healthy in last week’s Bills game. Shady was as shifty as ever leaving line backers in the dust as he darted for 90 yards on 17 carries. The middle linebacker for the Jaguars is a familiar face to Buffalo fans, Paul Posluszny. He is second on the team in tackles behind Tevin Smith. If the Jaguars want to stop Buffalo they must force Manuel to throw the ball, which means stopping Shady first.
3. Julius Thomas – Thomas is back after missing the first four games of the season, coming out last week with seven receptions and a touchdown. Though Blake Bortles has had deep threats all year at receiver, expect those to be taken away by the Bills secondary. Taking away the deep ball leaves Thomas underneath and on seam routes for Bortles. Julius Thomas could have another big games this weekend in London.