Week 7 of the 2015 NFL season will continue with an early Sunday match up overseas as the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) face off against the Buffalo Bills (3-3) from Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The Jaguars have made significant improvements since finishing 3-13 last season, but they still haven’t found a defensive identity through Week 7.
Jags’ QB Blake Bortles is having an impressive sophomore season, throwing for 13 touchdowns in six games and quietly asserting himself as a serious threat for opposing defenses. Jacksonville’s offense is building around Bortles’ talent with young receivers like Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, who account for nine of his TDs this year.
When asked about the the nine hour plane ride to London, Bortles explained that this match up is no different than any other road game.
“I know I’ll sit next to Chad (Henne) and we’ll go through our normal Thursday evening stuff, watching the tape on the iPads…and then probably try to go to sleep as soon as possible.”
The Bills will be without their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor (knee), for the second consecutive week and EJ Manuel will get his 16th NFL start. Manuel will need to make plays without his two best receivers, as both Percy Harvin (hip) and Sammy Watkins (ankle) are inactive for this match up.
Back in the states, the Houston Texans (2-4) will travel south for a match up with the Miami Dolphins (2-3).
After firing their head coach, Joe Philbin, the ‘Phins played like an invigorated team against the Titans last week.
Dolphins’ halfback Lamar Miller scored his first rushing touchdown of 2015 and racked up 113 yards on the ground in the 38-10 rout. Miami also played angry on defense, sacking Marcus Mariota six times and picking him off twice. Defensive end Cameron Wake forced two fumbles and recorded his first four sacks of the season.
“I review the film, understand what we need to do. Understand what we did correct, what we didn’t do correct. and then obviously, understand what this team (Houston) wants to do against us.” Ndamukong Suh said of the defensive game plan. “We gotta go out there and execute.”
Houston is coming off of a much-needed road win in Jacksonville last week, outlasting the Jags 31-20.
Texans’ QB Brian Hoyer looked impressive in his first start since Week 1, throwing for 293 yards and three scores. Look for a big game from receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who added 148 receiving yards last week along with two touchdown grabs.
Finally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) will be on the road this Sunday for a game with the Washington Redskins (2-4).
The Bucs are coming off of their bye week as they travel to Washington, hoping to remedy their slow start to this season. Developing Tampa Bay rookie QB Jameis Winston is reading defenses with confidence now as he gets acclimated to the professional level. With the help of wide out Mike Evans and an improving run game, the Bucs are building.
“We worked a lot, you know, over the summer, so we definitely have a chemistry. Definitely gonna try and get him the ball more,” Winston said of Evans. “He had a big year last year, people focusing on stopping Mike Evans.”
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Bortles discusses plane ride