The Buffalo Bills ended the longest active playoff streak in the NFL. Now they travel on the road to face the NFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars, who are also in the playoffs for the first time this decade. Both teams will be looking for an elusive postseason win at 1 p.m. ET on CBS (live streams at CBS All-Access and FuboTV).
The Bills had to wait until the last game of Week 17 to find out their playoff fate. They easily took care of the Miami Dolphins but needed the Cincinnati Bengals to upset the Baltimore Ravens so they could get the No. 6 seed by tiebreakers. After a dramatic last-minute touchdown by the Bengals, the Bills finally got to celebrate, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Now the Bills have a tough road contest against a fierce Jaguars defense. They face further trouble if LeSean McCoy can’t play — McCoy suffered a sprained ankle in the regular season finale and is questionable for this game. The entire offense revolves around McCoy, so if he’s inactive, Tyrod Taylor will have even more on his shoulders when he makes his first playoff start.
The Jaguars didn’t need as much drama to reach their first playoff game since 2007. They clinched the division title early, though the team has struggled in recent weeks and heads into the postseason with two straight losses. The defense remains one of the best in football, with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey, and A.J. Bouye leading an outstanding unit.
How far Jacksonville goes in the playoffs will depend on which Blake Bortles shows up. Bortles played pretty well in late November and early December as the Jags sewed up a division title, but he fell back into old bad habits during their losing streak. The good news is that he’s getting Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee back from injury, while rookie running back Leonard Fournette will be counted on to carry the load in the backfield.
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
- TV: CBS
- Streaming: CBS All-Access | fuboTV
- Odds: The Jaguars are favored by 8.5 to 9 points
People are stuck on the old Blake Bortles, the one that lost a lot with a franchise that struggled a lot. He was the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft and his development has been typical of several young quarterbacks, especially those from smaller colleges (Central Florida). He is 25. In his fourth season he has helped lead the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and to the AFC South crown. He’s in the playoffs, at home against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Only three other starting quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Jared Goff, and Alex Smith) of the eight playing this playoff weekend can say they were good enough to win a division and earn the right to play at home.
“Andy and JJ are thankful for the generosity of Bills fans and honored to have the opportunity to use these donations to support the families in need through our Foundation’s programs,” the foundation shared through a statement to SB Nation. “The city of Buffalo truly is the city of good neighbors and crazy fans.”
In addition to the $17 donations, an homage to the 17 years Buffalo waited for a shot at the postseason, Dalton is getting plenty of love from Bills fans in his mentions.
- If the Bills are going to have a shot, then offensive coordinator Rick Dennison needs to be less predictable:
So, yes, Dennison is predictable on first down. Will Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator Todd Walsh attempt to take advantage by bringing a safety down into the box on first downs? He should, as it would put the game squarely on the shoulders of Tyrod Taylor. With a doomed run or short pass called in the huddle, Taylor would have to come to the line, realize the play wasn’t going to work, and audible to some kind of 10-plus yard pass. Reading defenses, changing the play, taking shots downfield … stop me when I hit on something that sounds like it is in Taylor’s wheelhouse.
As cool as it is to see the Bills back in the playoffs, they have a tough path to victory this week — especially if McCoy isn’t 100 percent. With Taylor getting bombarded by the Jacksonville pass rush and a makeshift receiver core, it’s hard to see where Buffalo’s points are coming from. The Jags grind out a low-scoring affair and move on to next week.
Check out our Wild Card Weekend picks for even more expert opinions.