The 9-7 Buffalo Bills will travel to Jacksonville to take on the 10-6 Jaguars on Sunday for the AFC Wild Card game. These teams took very different paths to make the playoffs this season. Jacksonville clinched their first AFC South title in week 16 and was able to rest their starters in their 15-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans last week. This is their first playoff game since 2007 and their first home playoff game since 1999. Buffalo beat the Miami Dolphins 22-16 last week to grab the sixth seed snapping a playoff drought that dates back to 1999. Running back LeSean McCoy injured his ankle and is listed as questionable for the game against the Jaguars.
Blake Bortles had a very solid season in his 4th year in the league finishing with the highest passer rating of his career at 84.7. He threw for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Running back Leonard Fournette had a good season gaining 1,40 yards and 9 touchdowns on 268 carries. For the year, the Jaguars offense ranked 6th in total yards per game with 366 and are 5th with 26 points per game. Defensively, they rank 2nd in the league by allowing 16.8 points and 2nd in yards allowed with 286. This game will have extra meaning for coach Doug Marrone as he led the Bills to 15 wins during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Tyrod Taylor did enough for the Bills last week to get the Bills the must needed win even with McCoy’s injury. He finished with a quarterback rating of 104 as he completed 19 of 27 passes for 204 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. His favorite target was Charles Clay who had 6 catches for 64 yards. They also had success running the ball gaining 126 yards on 32 carries, which is an average of 3.9 yards per carry. For the year, the Bills offense ranked 22nd with 18.9 points per game and were 29th with 302 yards per game. Defensively, Buffalo is ranked 18th by allowing their opponents to score 22.4 points and are ranked 26th as their opponents averaged 355 yards per game.
Jacksonville will have home field advantage in this game and are 8.5-point favorites despite being on a 2 game losing streak. They have gone 9-7 against the spread this season including 5-3 at home. The Bills have gone 9-6-1 against the spread including 4-4 on the road. McCoy’s injury is significant because if he can’t play, they would be missing out on a running back that gained 1,590 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. There is a big disparity in point differential this season between these clubs as the Jaguars are + 149 while the Bills are -57. To put that in perspective, there were 9 teams in the league with a better rate than the Bills who did not make the playoffs. Jacksonville is ranked in the top 5 in both offense and defense and the Bills really have their work cut out for them especially if McCoy cannot play.
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