Oct 31, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs with the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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Bills face Jaguars in continuation of soft stretch

To say the Buffalo Bills have entered a friendly stretch of their schedule is an understatement along the lines of suggesting that Josh Allen can throw a football.

After defeating one-win Miami last week to improve to 5-2, Buffalo will play Sunday at 1-6 Jacksonville, followed by a visit to the two-win New York Jets and then a home game against 3-5 Indianapolis.

Simply put, if the Bills are to secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, they’ll have to take advantage of this four-week stretch.

“We’re not trying to be the best team in the league every Sunday,” Allen said. “We’re trying to be the best team on the field that we’re on every Sunday.”

Allen usually has a lot to do with that. Even during an uneven performance such as last week’s, when Buffalo posted a 26-11 home victory over the Dolphins, Allen still accounted for 304 total yards and three touchdowns.

With Miami’s defense determined to take away Stefon Diggs, Allen simply played catch with Cole Beasley (10 receptions, 110 yards).

Few teams boast proven receivers like the Bills’ trio of Diggs, Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders.

And Buffalo might get even deeper this week. Tight end Dawson Knox (hand), who missed the game against the Dolphins, could return. All he did in the first six games was catch 21 passes for 286 yards and five touchdowns.

First-year Jaguars coach Urban Meyer has the unenviable task of putting together a game plan to neutralize the AFC’s highest-scoring attack.

“You just got to not let (Allen) pick you apart,” he said. “He’ll pick you apart in zone, and then you got to worry about some of the talent at receiver in man-to-man.”

Just how does Jacksonville go about pulling off an unlikely win?

For starters, a pass rush that’s managed a mere 11 sacks in seven games – tied for second-to-last in the NFL – needs to find a path to Allen. The Bills’ shuffling along the offensive line could help that happen.

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday that guard Jon Feliciano (calf strain) is week-to-week. With left tackle Spencer Brown’s status up in the air after he missed last week’s game with a back injury, McDermott is hopeful the line can find a rhythm quicker than it did against Miami.

“You always want to establish a line of scrimmage earlier in the game than what we did, and I think that’s an area we can all improve on,” he said.

Secondly, the Jaguars will have to crank up the running game from the start. The expected return of No. 1 back James Robinson (heel) after he left last week’s 31-7 loss at Seattle in the second quarter should help.

If Jacksonville can run the ball successfully against a defense that’s allowed the fewest points in the NFL, it would take pressure off rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

“We’re not built to play from so far behind,” Meyer said. “I’m not sure many teams are. We certainly aren’t yet. When we’re balanced, we’re at our best. I imagine most offenses would say that.”

The Jaguars rank third-to-last in points per game at 17.6 and are 17th in yards per game at 349.4. Their one relative strength is the run game, which is 20th in the league with 813 yards.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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