Note: This story was written by Bills 101 writer Richard Wade
The Buffalo Bills have been frustrating fans all season long. They have failed to win consecutive games through thirteen games, essentially eliminating them from the playoffs for a fourteenth straight season. A season once filled with promise has been relegated to the notion "When does the 2014 NFL Draft start?"
This season has seen the team usher in another new franchise quarterback. EJ Manuel, drafted 16th overall in the 2013 National Football League draft. The Bills moved on from the Ryan Fitzpatrick era, giving hope to fans that haven't seen much in the past several years. Manuel's play has been shoddy, which is typical of a rookie quarterback. The lone bright spot on offense for the Bills has been the running game, where they average 133.6 yards per game, fifth in the NFL. Their passing game is slightly better, 25th in the league. The Bills conversely are 28th in the league in passing yards per game.
What can Bills fans expect from the team this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars? The team is all but eliminated from the playoffs again, but pride and jobs are potentially on the line. The coaching staff is evaluating each position to see where the team can get better. The much ballyhooed running game has provided big plays, but those big plays haven't resulted in wins. The running back tandem of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson have both battled injuries at various points this season. Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is 2nd in the NFL in total tackles, may miss Sunday's game after tweaking his knee in practice on Thursday.
After starting this season 0-8, the Jacksonville Jaguars have won four of their last five games. The team, much like the Bills, has been decimated by injuries this season. Long-time running back Maurice Jones-Drew may miss Sunday's game with a strained right hamstring. Justin Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 Draft, has been on indefinite suspension by the commissioner for violating the league's substance abuse policy for a third time. The Jaguars leading receiver, Cecil Shorts, is nursing a groin injury, which may limit his effectiveness during the game Sunday.
Both the Bills and Jaguars have the same 4-9 record. Which team will prevail in a matchup of league doormats. Will these teams play for the win, or will either team tank for a higher draft pick? Some fans might want the team to lose in order to gain a higher draft pick, but winning is much more important.
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