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Week 7 preview: Bills at Jaguars (London)


The Sports Xchange

Buffalo Bills (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET, at Wembley Stadium, London – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Jamie Erdahl

*Keys to the game: Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (knee) is out and EJ Manuel gets the call for his 16th NFL start without the benefit of the Bills’ top playmakers. Manuel started last week but it was clear he is not as dynamic as the athletic Taylor. WRs Sammy Watkins (ankle) and Percy Harvin (hip) were ruled out Thursday, which puts a larger burden on the ground game and RB LeSean McCoy.

While the talk in Buffalo has focused on all the offensive injuries, the defense has also slipped to 16th overall and 23rd against the pass as the Bills have recorded only nine sacks through six games. The Jaguars would love to get RB T.J. Yeldon (groin) back in the lineup after backups Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson combined to average 2.8 yards per carry in last week’s loss to Houston. But Buffalo still sports a strong run defense and ultimately it will be up to QB Blake Bortles moving the ball through the air. He threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns as TE Julius Thomas became his favorite target, but Bortles still must cut down on the turnovers (three picks vs. Texans) with the Jaguars facing such a slim margin for error.

*Matchup to watch – Bills front seven vs. Jaguars offensive line: Jacksonville has allowed 17 sacks, but that’s not as bad as it may appear with Bortles chucking the ball 242 times (sacked once every 14.2 pass attempts). The Bills’ secondary has been getting torched with the pass rush not getting home as it adjusts to coach Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme that at times features only three rushers.

*Player spotlight – Bills RT Cyrus Kouandjio: The second-round pick from 2014 has largely been a disappointment, but will make his first career start in place of Seantrel Henderson (concussion) – unless the team goes with recently-signed Jordan Mills.

*Fast facts: The Bills averaged 3.47 sacks per game over the 2013-14 seasons. … Jaguars WR Allen Hurns has a touchdown catch in four consecutive games.


The Jaguars keep it close with the Bills’ depleted receiving corps necessitating a ball-control attack. But Jacksonville’s defense continues to suffer multiple breakdowns weekly that make it difficult to beat quality opponents.

*Our pick: Bills 19-17

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