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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars host Bills in AFC Wildcard game

Roy Cummings



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

What: Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) vs. Buffalo Bills (9-7) in AFC Wildcard Game

Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL.

When: 1 p.m.

Latest line/Over-under: Jags (-8)/39

Why you should watch:

It’s here. For the first time in 18 years, the Jacksonville Jaguars are hosting a playoff game. They will take on the equally upstart Buffalo Bills.

Speaking of 18 years, it has been that long since Buffalo last played in a playoff game, themselves.

Is there a better storyline is NFL postseason than these two teams meeting each other? Probably not, especially when you take a look at how they both got here.

Jaguars underwent an amazing turnaround from six straight 10 loss seasons to win 10 games this season and a division title for the first time since 1999. And, this granted them the coveted home game Sunday.

Meanwhile, Buffalo had a must win last week at Miami to finish 9-7 and then, that had to have Cincinnati upset Baltimore by scoring a touchdown on fourth down in the final 30 seconds to get them in on a tiebreaker as the sixth seed.

I’d say that’s officially a big reason to tune in.

Key on: Leonard Fournette

A lot is being made of how the Jaguars finished the season with losses to the 49ers and last week to the Titans. As we wrote yesterday, those losses should concern Jacksonville fans and also, the way the quarterback Blake Bortles played.

That leads us to the Jacksonville run game and Fournette.

Fournette owns five 100-yard rushing games on the season, but only had one after the calendar flipped to November this year.

A big part of Sunday’s success, if it happens, will be Fournette getting the Jacksonville ground game back on track. He had a tremendous start to his rookie season, but has battled ankle and quad injuries in the second half of it.

The Bills are 30th in run defense in the NFL and the Jags ability to run the ball will be as big a key as any, to getting their offense going and setting the tone.

Statistically Speaking

It’s uncertain how much and how effective bills star running back LeSean McCoy will be in Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle in the finale’ with Miami last week. He is responsible for over 33% of the yards from scrimmage for Buffalo this year. So, if he cannot play or is limited and how he plays, that’s huge.

The Bills don’t have a backup option that’s legitimate or solid, and that will put more pressure on quarterback Tyrod Taylor to go against one of the best defenses in all of pro football.

Jacksonville is #2 this season in the league in takeaways 34 and also interceptions with 22. They also tallied a second best 55 sacks in the NFL this season and desperately want Buffalo to be forced to throw.

The Bills must somehow someway find some offense or it will be a long day for them in North Florida.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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