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Will Week 5 Be the Jaguars Biggest Test Yet? | Quick Thoughts: Jaguars vs. Bills

Quick Thoughts Pre-Game

LONDON – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars as they prepare to play the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London Sunday in a 2023 Week 5 game …

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…

  1. Biggest test yet. The Jaguars' first-place schedule in 2023 assured five matchups against 2022 division champions. The thought here is Sunday may prove as tough as any of those tests – even tougher than the Week 2 home matchup against defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City that the Jaguars lost in Jacksonville, 17-9. The Bills not only have won the last three AFC East titles, they have reestablished themselves as division favorites and Super Bowl contenders. Since losing the regular-season opener to the New York Jets, the Bills have won three games by 90 points, including a 48-20 victory over previously unbeaten Miami this past Sunday. The Jaguars' offense likely needs its best game of the season Sunday. The defense likely must force multiple turnovers from a Bills offense that's playing as well as any in the NFL entering Week 5. The Jaguars have felt like a team surviving week-to-week through four weeks. They must do more than survive to win Sunday.
  2. Time for praise. The Jaguars' defense faces perhaps its toughest task of the season to date Sunday, but know this: This unit deserves more credit than it has received – not only this season, but the past two seasons. While it has been vogue to criticize the Jaguars' pass rush, the group has been very good outside two communication errors that led to 14 points in a 37-17 Week 3 loss to Houston. The pass rush has been good outside that loss Houston, and the run defense has been consistent. Most notably, the defense continues the trend it began last season of being very good at one of the most important aspects of NFL defense – forcing turnovers. The Jaguars finished fourth in the NFL in takeaways in 2022 and are fourth through four games with nine this season. They have forced three takeaways in three of the first four games this season. Sunday will be difficult because the Bills are tough on any defense. But overall, this defense continues to be consistent enough to play winning football most weeks.
OL Cam Robinson (74)

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …

  1. The Jaguars have a unique opportunity to make some changes. This offense is scoring 20 points per game? With these weapons? The line is a major reason and usually in Week 5 you are stuck with "You are what you are." The return of left tackle Cam Robinson and the presence of guard/center Tyler Shatley allows the Jaguars to do something drastic and from my vantage point they must do something. I would get Robinson on the field, move Walker Little to left guard and put Shatley at center. The middle of the line has not been good, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence has not had nearly the time to operate at a high level. He has thrown four touchdown passes in four games, which is below expectations for the talent they've assembled. The passing game isn't efficient, the running game is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and they're converting only 31 percent of their third downs. That all contributes to inefficiency in the red zone. The Jaguars have the opportunity to make a bold move and I believe they should.
  2. Josh Allen is a beast. The Bills quarterback is completing 77 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception in three consecutive Buffalo victories. You thought this was about the other Josh Allen? Well, he must go into "beast mode" on Sunday for the Jaguars to have a shot at beating the other Allen and an offense that is scoring 41 points per game the last three weeks. These are two premier players and two years ago, the Jaguars' Josh Allen had eight tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery in a 9-6 victory over Buffalo. They're not going to hold these Bills to six points Sunday, even with the advantage of Buffalo arriving in London on Friday morning. The Jaguars' Allen will need help; outside linebacker Travon Walker must show up and the middle of the defensive line must push the pocket to make it easier for Allen and Walker to be disruptive. Allen is playing at a championship level and the Jaguars' version is coming off one of the best games of his career. If the Jaguars' version of Allen plays like he did last week, they have a good shot at pulling off the upset win in London.

Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter/Producer ...

  1. The big man is back. Cam Robinson returned to the practice field Wednesday after a four-game suspension for a PED violation. The offensive line has been a weakness so far this season, so Robinson's return is coming at a great time. While head coach Doug Pederson was noncommittal on Wednesday, we will likely see Robinson return as the starting left tackle this Sunday. That frees up Little to slide into a left guard position that has been a trouble spot through the first few weeks. Hopefully shoring up the line will allow Lawrence the time needed to find open receivers downfield.
  2. Training camp vibes. Pederson said earlier this week the set up in England reminded him a bit of training camp when he was a player. The grounds at Hanbury Manor, the estate where the team is staying, are a beautiful backdrop for the week of preparation. The team spending more time together on and off the field is always a good thing and hopefully this trip can serve as a positive turning point for the rest of the season.

Change of scenery 🌳 Check out practice photos in the countryside of London as the Jaguars prepare to face the Bills in a week 5 matchup. ➡️

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