The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping to end the season on a positive note when the Buffalo Bills come to town in Week 15. The Jaguars have won three games in a row and spirits are high after an 0-8 start to the season.
The Bills, meanwhile, are just looking for a win of any kind. They suffered their fifth loss in the last six games and the offense looks increasingly lifeless. With both teams at 4-9, only pride and draft positions are at stake here.
Meet the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars earn bragging rights for the offseason after sweeping the Houston Texans this year. Their latest win on Thursday night got Gary Kubiak fired the next morning. Jacksonville still doesn't have much talent, but Gus Bradley has the team playing hard and punching above its weight class. With the Bills, Titans and Colts left on the schedule, a 7-9 finish isn't out of the question.
It's not all roses on the injury report. Maurice Jones-Drew tweaked his hamstring last week and is a question mark to suit up against the Bills. Jordan Todman would get the start if Jones-Drew can't go.
Meet the Buffalo Bills
The Bills hit rock bottom in a 27-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The offense managed just 214 total yards, E.J. Manuel threw four interceptions and C.J. Spiller was held to 22 yards on 11 carries. It was an all-around disaster.
The poor offensive effort wasted another solid effort by the defense, who picked off Mike Glennon twice. Aside from an 80-yard touchdown run by Bobby Rainey, the defense remains the strongest part of Buffalo's roster.
Local Takes: Jacksonville Jaguars
Alfie Crow from Big Cat Country cites the turnover battle as a key part of the Jaguars' winning streak:
Over the past five games, the Jaguars are plus-5 in the turnover battle (10 takeaways to 5 giveaways). In their one loss over the past few weeks, they were minus-2 in the turnover battle. While typically in the NFL teams who win the turnover battle go on to win, some teams like the Jaguars simply cannot over come turning the ball over.
Through the first eight games, the Jaguars were minus-7 in the turnover battle.
The Jaguars right now are a classic scrappy "try hard" team. They don't have a ton of talent, some could argue less overall talent than some of the teams they're beating, but they play hard every down and limit their mistakes, especially over the past month or so.
Teams like that can win close games.
Local Takes: Buffalo Bills
Brian Galliford from Buffalo Rumblings doesn't think the Bills should bench E.J. Manuel despite his massive rookie struggles:
As for the argument, mercifully coming from the few, that the Bills should play Lewis to see if he can be their backup quarterback long-term: There are two immediate problems to point out. First, if we're talking about pure return on investment, the Bills need to nurture the guy that became the first quarterback picked with their first first-round pick in the 50-plus year history of the franchise, not the guy they picked up out of desperation in a trade for Chris White. Second, they need to work on figuring out if they have a starting-caliber quarterback before they attempt to figure out who the backup is. The argument for starting Lewis is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Five out of six experts on SB Nation are picking the Jaguars, with Joel Thorman the only one taking the Bills.
The Bills are 1-point favorites on the road, according to OddsShark.
Jacksonville vs. Tennessee, Dec. 22, 1 p.m. ET
Buffalo vs. Miami, Dec. 22, 1 p.m. ET