By Ian S. Palmer
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London’s calling again this weekend as the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars head across the Atlantic Ocean to battle it out at the famous Wembley Stadium in England’s capital on Sunday, October 25. Jacksonville has lost four in a row and sit in the basement of the AFC South with their 1-5 record. The Jaguars were taken down at home by a score of 31-20 by the Houston Texans last week. Meanwhile, the Bills were beaten 34-21 at home at the hands of the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. They now own a 3-3 record and occupy third place in the AFC East.
Bills vs Jaguars – Bovada NFL BETTING LINE:
- Bovada currently lists the Bills as -4.5 favorites with the over/under at 41.5 points
Buffalo is unbeaten in their road travels in their past three games, so a trip to London might not bother them. Backup quarterback EJ Manuel took the field against Cincinnati since Tyrod Taylor had to sit out due to a knee problem. Manuel completed 28 of his 42 attempted passes and finished the game with a touchdown pass, an interception and 263 yards in the air. He will likely get the start again in London if Taylor’s not fit enough to play. In addition, Sammy Watkins could miss the contest as he suffered an ankle injury against the Bengals. He’ll be missed if he can’t play since Buffalo’s receiving corps are hurting with Marquise Goodwin and Percy Harvin also nursing injuries.
On the bright side, LeSean McCoy is expected to play. He carried the ball 17 times for a touchdown and 90 yards against Cincinnati. Running back Karlos Williams missed the game against the Bengals and the previous contest with a concussion, but he may be healthy enough to suit up at Wembley. The Bills like to run the ball as they average 125.3 yards on the ground each week. rushing yards per game, so they’ need as many healthy bodies as possible.
Jacksonville hasn’t been playing well and they need to improve in all areas of the field. They allowed Houston quarterback to pass for three touchdowns and 293 yards last weekend and that’s not good enough. Buffalo’s passing game may be ranked just 29th in the NFL at 209.5 yards in the air on average, but it can still cause damage if the Jaguars’ defense doesn’t tighten up. Jacksonville may be able to fare a little better against the rush if the Bills’ injured players don’t play. Jacksonville held Houston to 95 yards on the ground last weekend and are 14th in the league by allowing just 101.7 yards against each game.
Offensively, Jacksonville will be relying on the arm of second-year quarterback Blake Bortles, who threw three touchdown passes and gained 331 yards in the air against Houston. However, he was also picked off three times. Bortles has averaged 2.4 touchdowns and 289 yards in his past five outings. He’ll be facing a Bills team which conceded 243 passing yards to Andy Dalton last weekend as well as three touchdowns passes. Bortles will be targeting Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns as they’ve combined for eight touchdowns and 862 yards in the air so far. Robinson suffered a leg injury late in last weekend’s game though and his status for the game is unclear at the moment. Jacksonville will need to protect Bortles though since he’s been sacked 17 times this year.