Josh Allen is back in the saddle for the Buffalo Bills, making his first start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars since injuring his elbow Oct. 14.
The Bills (3-7) are ready for another look at the player they consider the future of the franchise, while the Jaguars are spiraling to an unexpected level of uncertainty amidst a six-game losing streak.
“I have to lead this team through this tough challenge of this adversity, and we have to continue to go out there and play with the same type of emotion, the same type of enthusiasm with each other,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “And if we keep doing that and working away, we will find a way to win.”
The Jaguars found a new way to lose last week, blowing a 16-0 lead in the third quarter and falling to the Steelers at home. Now 3-7 and facing long odds to return to the playoffs, Marrone and Co. are focusing on one task at a time.
Jacksonville beat Buffalo 10-3 in an ugly playoff game in January, but that defeat has no bearing on this game — at least that’s the position the Bills are taking.
Buffalo is also downplaying comments made in the offseason by Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey in which he referred to Allen as “trash.”
Allen wouldn’t comment on the quotes attributed to Ramsey in the GQ article, but said he’s “one of the best” cover cornerbacks in the NFL. Running back LeSean McCoy said “That’s his thing. (Ramsey) likes to talk.”
With Leonard Fournette back from a hamstring injury, the Jaguars played power football last week against the Steelers and alleviated pressure on Blake Bortles. Bortles rushed for 88 yards and passed for 87 in the January playoff win, the fourth time a winning QB gained more on the ground than through the air in the playoffs since 1950.
Both teams are looking to be better protecting the ball.
Turnovers have been a bugaboo for the Jags, with a league-high 11 lost fumbles and at least one turnover in every game this season. The Bills have 22 total giveaways this season.
Marrone, who coached the Bills for two seasons and went 15-17, expects to hear a few boos in Orchard Park, N.Y.
“Right now, that is what’s happening in any stadium because we’re not winning,” he said.
—Field Level Media