Welcome to Big Cat Country’s weekly roundtable, where our staff previews each Jacksonville Jaguars game and makes picks for each NFL game. The Jaguars are favored by 5 points against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5, according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Which Jaguar needs more help this week: Trevor Lawrence or Josh Allen?
Dillon Appleman: Trevor Lawrence without question will need more help. The Bills defense has forced more turnovers (11) and created more sacks (16) than any team in the NFL to this point. That means everybody around Lawrence has got to come with their A-game if the Jags are going to come out of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a W.
Caitlin Connor: Trevor Lawrence needs more help on his side of the ball. The offense played better last week but hasn’t shown its full potential. Hopefully, this is the week where they find their rhythm.
Joseph Henry: I really think it’s Trevor. The consensus opinion — which I agree with — is that the offense’s struggles have been caused by just about everything but his play. The hope for Sunday is that the potential of a new offensive line combination — highlighted by the return of Cam Robinson at left tackle — can make a noticeable difference in both the run game and pass protection.
Travis Holmes: I have to go with Trevor Lawrence here. As we have discussed over the past few weeks, Lawrence seems to be one of the more consistent spots for this Jaguars offense, playing at a high level even when his supporting cast has not. However, for a victory this week the offensive line protection, the running game, and wide receiver drops will all need to be cleaned if this Jaguars offense is to finally get on the right track - which Buffalo has already done over the past three weeks.
Gus Logue: Josh Allen. I think Trevor Lawrence needs more help in general, and for the Jaguars to be Super Bowl contenders -- but this week it’s all hands on deck for the defense. Miami (thanks to a 70-point outing in Week 3) is the only team with more points scored than Buffalo this season, and the Bills lead the league in rate of offensive drives that end in a score. The Jags will need a big performance out of its entire defense to hang this week.
Adam Snowden: Until the Jaguars’ OL can give Trevor Lawrence more than seven milliseconds to find receivers downfield, I’m going with the offense. Yes, Josh Allen has been great this season, and he has historically fared well against offensive Josh Allen. However, defensive Allen is not really “held back” by the rest of the defense, which has been pretty solid. On the other hand, it seems like Lawrence’s ability to lead a dominant offense is currently capped by OL play and WR drops. Fix the latter two issues, and this offense can explode, which will be essential to beating top-tier teams like the Bills.
Henry Zimmer: The Jaguars offense needs the most help to get a win. The defensive front for the Bills is phenomenal and is going to give Jacksonville all it can handle. Someone on the offensive line, tight ends room, running back room or all three is going to have to help up front to keep Lawrence upright.
What will be the deciding matchup of this game?
Dillon: Cam Robinson versus the Bills loaded edge rusher group is what I’m focusing on in this one. Returning from suspension just in time to face the best pass rushing team in the NFL is tough, but considering the Jags' offensive line woes to this point, maybe Robinson's inclusion is just what the doctor ordered. His performance will play a major role in the outcome.
Caitlin: Josh Allen vs Josh Allen. When the Jaguars and Bills played in 2021, the defense did a great job stopping Josh Allen and the Bills offense. If they continue to play the way they have been, then I don’t think they’ll have a problem.
Joseph: It’s easily Jacksonville’s secondary versus Buffalo’s pass catchers. Stefon Diggs is undoubtedly the best wide receiver the Jaguars have faced all season so far. Plus, I believe that Gabe Davis is a really effective number two. Even after a genuinely great performance against the Falcons last week, it is really hard to forget about this unit getting absolutely torched by Tank Dell. So yeah, the secondary needs to show up big time or this game has the chance to get out of hand very quickly.
Travis: The deciding matchup from my perspective will be DaQuan Jones and Ed Oliver versus Luke Fortner and Walker Little (who presumably will start at left guard). I see the Jaguars’ path to victory this week resting on the defense and establishing the running game, as the Jets did in Week 1 versus the Bills. If Jones and Oliver have their way of controlling the inside, limiting Etienne, it could be a long day for Jacksonville.
Gus: Jacksonville’s rushing offense against Buffalo’s rushing defense. The Bills rank last in yards per carry allowed (6.3) and fourth-worst in runs of 15-plus yards allowed (7). It’d be huge if Travis Etienne could break off a few long ones, but more importantly, keep the sticks moving to keep Buffalo’s offense off the field.
Adam: Until proven otherwise, the Jags OL vs Bills DL will be the most important positional matchup of the day. This OL is currently the greatest hindrance to the Jags offense (and team in general), so until they can consistently perform at a high level, this will be the deciding matchup of any game.
Henry: Can the Jaguars shut down Stefon Diggs? If Tyson Campbell is able to keep Diggs relatively quiet, the Bills offense is beatable. In a very watered-down sense, the Bills offense is similar to the Falcons. If the defense can do what it did last week again, the Jags have a real shot.
Final score prediction?
Dillon: Bills 30, Jaguars 24
Caitlin: Jaguars 28, Bills 21
Joseph: Bills 33, Jaguars 20
Travis: Bills 27, Jaguars 24
Gus: Bills 24, Jaguars 20
Adam: Bills 31, Jags 21
Henry: Bills 31, Jaguars 20
Here are our staff’s Tallysight picks for the full slate of games this week.
What are your Week 5 predictions, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!