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Final analysis: Nine experts on Jaguars-Bills


JACKSONVILLE – Each Saturday during the 2018 season, nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Tony Boselli, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – will break down the following day's Jaguars matchup.

Up this week:

The Buffalo Bills at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York

Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter

The Jaguars will win if:They take some chances in the second half. When you run the ball 43 times – as the Jaguars did last Sunday against Pittsburgh – you typically win, but the Jaguars were way too predictable. The Bills are a good defense, especially against the run. The Jaguars' game plan must involve some passing as well.

The Bills will win if:They make Blake Bortles make some mistakes; the Jaguars quarterback has gone four consecutive games without throwing an interception. The Bills should be able to put pressure on him with Jacksonville's patchwork offensive line. If Buffalo gets takeaways, the Bills will be tough to beat at home.

As Ballou sees it:Jaguars, 17-16. This will be an ugly game in which both teams will try to run. Like last week, field goals will be a major factor. But this time three will be made by Buffalo and only one by Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo. The Jaguars will make some big plays on defense and score two touchdowns to grind out a victory.

Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars

The Jaguars will win if: They take an early lead and regain some confidence after blowing a lead last week. Their confidence has to be shot somewhat. And they have to find some semblance of a passing game; hit a few early in the game to regain confidence there. They must pass some.

The Bills will win if:They can get rookie quarterback Josh Allen going. They are at a huge disadvantage playing a quarterback so inexperienced against a defense like Jacksonville's. He must have early success.

As Frangie sees it:The Jaguars will win. I was confident all week they would beat the Steelers – and I was wrong in the end. But I'll stay with it. They have a better team than Buffalo and should beat the Bills.

Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end

The Jaguars will win if:They bounce back emotionally from the tough loss against Pittsburgh. That's not easy to do given the expectations of the season and the reality that set in Sunday afternoon.

The Bills will win if:Their offense can stay on a roll after scoring 41 points against the New York Jets in Week 10 before their bye week. The Bills have struggled to score all season, ranking dead last in the NFL averaging 13.7 points per game.

As Lageman sees it:The Jaguars' defense will continue itstrong play from last week, leading the Jaguars to victory. The Bills will go back to struggling to find points, especially if Allen is in the lineup as expected. The Jaguars have their own struggles in scoring, but this is a matchup they should feel confident with.

Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director

The Jaguars will win if:They score 20; simple as that against the Bills. The Jaguars' offense has shown flashes the last two weeks, but it is still not enough to win games. They scored 26 points in Indianapolis, but still missed opportunities; we all know what happened in the fourth quarter last week. It is starting to look like the defense is coming back to what we thought it might be; it's time for the offense to do its job.

The Bills will win if:They force two Jaguars turnovers. Points will be at a premium and the Bills have a very good defense. If Buffalo gets a couple of turnovers, especially on the right side of the field, they will win a low-scoring affair.

As Martineau sees it:I'm going to do it; I'm going to say this is the week the slide ends. I'm admittedly not confident, but Ibelieve the Jaguars are a better team and love the matchup of this defense playing against a rookie quarterback just coming back from injury. Jaguars win, 20-10.

John Oehser, senior writer

The Jaguars will win if:The defense forces Allen into mistakes and Bortles plays mistake-free. Bortles staying turnover free hasn't been enough to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, Colts or Steelers in recent weeks. But the Bills' offense is struggling enough that the Jaguars should be able to win a low-scoring game.

The Bills will win if:Allen continues the improvement he showed before a Week 6 elbow injury. The rookie has two touchdown passes and five interceptions this season but was showing signs of improvement before the injury. The Jaguars need him to make rookie mistakes, and they need to turn those errors into touchdowns when the opportunity arises.

As Oehser sees it:The Jaguars have had every opportunity to win their last three games, and the return of running back Leonard Fournette has given the offense glimpses of life. Don't look for the Jaguars to score often against a stingy Bills defense, but look for the offense to do enough to break the six-game losing streak.

Brian Sexton, senior correspondent

The Jaguars will win if:They play above the Xs and Os. The Steelers game was there for the taking, the kind of upset that at the very least breaks a losing streak – and gives you and your fans a lift, and maybe gives you some juice into December. But when critical moments arose, and opportunities presented themselves, the Jaguars didn't get the job done. It's not as simple as do your job. These players must do their jobs and then some in order to finish a game. Make the throw, catch the ball, see the hole, take the right angle … you get it ... make a play.

The Bills will win if:They can stop the run. Stopping the Jaguars is pretty simple: Stop the running game. Everything is built around that. If the Bills can stop Fournette, they can keep it a low-scoring game. If they do that, they can win.

As Sexton sees it:The Bills were destined to take a step back from their playoff appearance last season. Their front office set out a course to gain cap space and stockpile draft picks for the future. The Jaguars were about this season – and based on their players and salary structure they better still be no matter what's at stake. The losing streak will end on Sunday in Buffalo.

J.P. Shadrick, reporter/editor

The Jaguars will win if:They figure out a way to get a meaningful touchdown or two early. Not finishing drives and having to settle for first-half field goals cost this Jaguars team last week against the Steelers.

The Bills will win if:They get an early lead or a couple of takeaways by their defense. This Jaguars offense is not built to make a comeback and certainly not when they give the ball away.

As Shadrick sees it:With injuries at key positions, inconsistent quarterback play and no four-minute offense to speak of, the Jaguars have some real offensive issues as we head into the final six weeks of the season. Heck, those issues are bigger than just this season – they will dominate the immediate future of the franchise. If the defense is as good as in the first three quarters last week, then this team can steal a win in Buffalo. That's the big issue here. Even with all that happened (or didn't happen) in that Steelers game, the Jaguars were still five seconds away from winning. Can the Jaguars finish a 60-minute game? We have not seen it in two months.

Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host

The Jaguars will win if:The Jaguars defense can play consistently. If the defense can play like they did against the Steelers last week they should have no problem getting to Allen. The Bills offensive line is banged up, this is a great opportunity for the Jaguars pass rush to perform at a high level and force the rookie to make mistakes in the pocket.

The Bills will win if:The Bills' defense shows why they are ranked No. 1 against the pass. Bortles was criticized for being too conservative with the football last week. Yes, he protected the football for the most part but avoided taking open shots down the field when they were there. If Bortles takes shots down the field this week, they're going to need to be accurate passes when going against the Bills pass defense.

As Sullivan sees it:This is the best chance the Jaguars have to win for these next six games. The Jaguars running game was successful in the first half against the Steelers. If the Jaguars don't abandon their offensive philosophy, despite it being questioned in the second half last week, they should be flying home to Jacksonville with a much-needed win.

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