How can Jacksonville stop Buffalo’s Josh Allen? Why have the Bills dominated defensively? Is there a rivalry between the Bills and Jaguars? Corey gives his thoughts on these questions and more.
1. It appears that quarterback Josh Allen is off to another fantastic start this season. What has it been like watching Allen’s ascension over the past couple of years? What can the struggling defensive unit for the Jaguars do to try to limit Allen’s effectiveness on Sunday?
Corey: It has been a blessing for sure seeing Allen improve year in and year out. His decision-making is getting better and better, but there are still times we see Allen try to do too much with the football and put Buffalo in a bad situation. The way teams are finding success with Allen is either keeping him in the pocket so that he cannot use his legs or force him to go to his left. Being a right handed quarterback, Allen’s numbers are significantly lower when he is scrambling to his weak side. Also, with a weak running game, force him at the line of scrimmage to check into a run play because it appears that the Jaguars could have the advantage in the box.
2. Defensively, the Bills rank first in total defense (269 yards per game), first in passing defense (182.4 yards per game), fifth in rushing defense (86.6 yards per game) and first in scoring defense (15.6 points per game). What has made the unit so dominant? What is the best way for Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville offense to attack Buffalo’s defense?
Corey: The easiest way to describe the success of the defense is time. This defense has mainly been together for the past couple of seasons and continues to build chemistry with one another. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are, in my opinion, the best safety duo in the league and gives the cornerbacks a lot of confidence knowing that they are going to have help over the top. The main difference this year versus last year is that the team is able to get pressure rushing only four guys a lot more frequently than it did last year, which allows the back half of the defense to play tighter coverage. As for beating the defense, we saw the Titans have a great game plan. Get the running game going so that it forces the linebackers to play up more. This in turn will create opportunities in the play-action game for hitting receivers over the middle where linebackers would normally be playing.
3. How does the Bills Mafia fan base feel about head coach Sean McDermott and his staff? What has made his tenure so successful thus far?
Corey: We love McDermott and the culture that he has created with the team. The players believe in him and will give him 110 percent week in and week out. There were some struggles early in his coaching tenure, such as the whole Nathan Peterman drama, but he has learned from that and has become one of the best coaches in the league. Now, we are seeing him use analytics a lot more during games when it comes to specific situations. He knows how to keep the team focused for sure as he is undefeated in his career coming off of the bye week.
4. Are there any under-the-radar players on either side of the ball for the Bills who Jaguars fans may not be too familiar with, but could impact the game?
Corey: Look for Gabriel Davis to make an impact this week, especially in the red zone. Davis had a great rookie season but hasn’t had the numbers this season due to the emergence of Dawson Knox. However, with Knox out with a hand injury, it is an opportunity for Davis to remind people how effective he can be. He scored his first touchdown last week since Week 1, and I am expecting him to do the same this week given his size and ability to go up and grab the football.
5. The last few times the Jaguars and Bills have gotten together, there have been some memorable/intense moments, such as Jacksonville’s 10-3 Wild Card playoff victory during the 2017-2018 season, or the brawl in Buffalo in 2018 during the following season. There seemed to be a bit of a rivalry heating up between the two organizations and fan bases. Do Bills fans look at the Jaguars as a low-key rival? Why or why not?
Corey: I would think of it more as a fan rivalry than a player rivalry. Things always get chippy during games, so that it is no surprise when a fight breaks out. However, it is always fun to watch social media before, during, and after the game because these two fan bases really love to go at it with each other. It is hard given the current direction of the teams to call it a rivalry in football terms, but there obviously seems to be some dislike between the two fan bases.
Bonus: Score prediction?
Corey: 31-14 Buffalo. Nice and easy score prediction, haha.