1. How does Buffalo feel about Rex Ryan? How's the city feel about his style and how the team has performed so far this year?
Ryan has been around long enough where even casual NFL fans are privy to his act. The bravado, the bold claims, and the confidence that oozes from his every pore were a welcome addition to the offseason for Bills fans, particularly after years of milquetoast coaches like Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey, and yes, even Doug Marrone.
But unless that kind of personality can back his schtick up with a stack of wins, the routine will grow old. Ryan has not met expectations thus far, and even though a lot of the reasons for that are beyond his control, if the Bills hit the bye week at 3-4 with three straight division games coming up, discontent for Ryan will hit a new high in his Bills tenure.
2. What's the greatest deficiency on the Bills offense? How should an opposing defensive coordinator game plan against it?
That's a tough question to answer, because there are so many to choose from. Right now, the unit's biggest Achilles heel is that the starters haven't played together much. The starting quarterback (Tyrod Taylor), the top two running backs (LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams), the top two receivers (Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin), and the right side of the offensive line (John Miller and Seantrel Henderson) have all missed large chunks of time, and that'll continue in London for all of those players save for McCoy.
That's a huge amount of athletic talent that has revolved in and out of the lineup, and it's been tough for Greg Roman to establish much of anything as a result.
3. What does E.J. Manuel bring to the team that Tyrod Taylor doesn't? In your opinion, is Manuel the better option?
Manuel brings a net decrease in football instincts, athleticism, playmaking ability, passing efficiency, and overall confidence in the offense, at least from this fan's perspective. Taylor is not exactly a world-beater, mind you, but I consider him superior to Manuel in nearly every conceivable way as a quarterback and a football player. The Bills need Taylor back under center the very second he's healthy enough to do so.
4. Is there a Jaguars player on either side of the ball that you say, "If the Bills don't stop him, we're in trouble"?
It's a bit of a cop-out to pick the quarterback - sorry - but I'll go with Blake Bortles.
Buffalo's defense has been up-and-down this season, with the downs mostly coming against quarterbacks that have been playing very well early in the season. I'm not sure Bortles qualifies for that status, but until the Bills' pass rush picks up the pace and they can handle up-tempo shifts and personnel variants without making mental errors, I'll worry about any quarterback that has shown any modicum of success this season. Bortles has some good weapons, too. The Bills can't let him be effective.
5. What's your prediction for Sunday? Who's coming out of this one the winner?
As a personal rule, I don't make game outcome predictions, but... this feels like a game that the Bills are going to have to scrap for. It's a must-win for them, and there is a definitive sense of desperation right now, given the number of starters out of the lineup, the 1-3 record at home, and the need to hit the bye at 4-3 with a tough divisional stretch coming up.
I'm not anticipating a pretty football game. It'll be an ugly one, even for the victor.