Wildcard Playoffs: Bills vs. Jaguars
For only the third time in the 20 season history of Bills Daily we get to write about a playoff game. The Bills travel down to Florida to take on the third seeded Jacksonville Jaguars. As if the first postseason game in almost 18 years to the day isn't enough intrigue, there is more. The Bills face the coach that quit on the, and the star defensive linemen they unloaded earlier this season.
Sunday, Jan. 7th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (9-7) vs. Jacksonville (10-6)
||Network: CBS; SiriusXM: 83
||Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, and Tracy Wolfson
||Jaguars by 8½
||Bills lead 8-6 (Bills 0-1 in playoffs)
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 28-21 in Buffalo (2016)
||Rush (1st); Pass (17th); overall (6th)
||Rush (21st); Pass (1st); overall (2nd)
||Rush (6th); Pass (31st); overall (29th)
||Rush (29th); Pass (20th); overall (26th)
On the injury front for Buffalo all eyes are on their best player. LeSean McCoy was carted off last week with a painful ankle injury but x-rays were negative. He isn't practicing this week and it will likely come down to gametime for a final decision on his availability. Two other starters are pretty banged up as Matt Milano has missed practice time with a hamstring injury and Jordan Mills injured his ankle last week but returned to the game. He is also missing practice time.
The Jaguars have been without WR Marqise Lee the past two weeks and he has missed practice time this week but is expected to play. TE Mercedes Lewis injured his ankle in the finale and is sitting out early week practices but he says he'll play. LB Donald Pyane has a quadricep injury costing him practice time.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
LT Dion Dawkins vs. RDE Calais Campbell:
Dawkins will have his hands full against Campbell who leads a stellar defense with a franchise record 14½ sacks.
C Eric Wood vs. DT Marcell Dareus:
Wood will be lining up against Dareus who should be very motivated for this one. Dareus has all the talent in the world but isn't even a starter on this defense but will see plenty of time in the rotation.
DE Jerry Hughes vs. LT Cam Robinson:
Hughes has struggled this season but is coming off his best game in the finale. Robinson is a rookie 2nd round draft pick who Hughes can exploit with his experience.
LB Preston Brown vs. RB Leonard Fournette:
Brown led the league in tackles and will be going up against the rookie sensation who is a dual threat in the backfield.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Can Shady Play And Be Productive: All eyes will be on whether or not Shady can play. If he does suit up then everyone will be looking to see how effective he is. If he can't go or can't do much because of the sprained ankle then the Bills are in trouble.
2. Get Tyrod Moving: They need to get Tyrod Taylor in a moving pocket for two reasons. If Shady is limited or can't go then they need Tyrod to pick up the slack in the running game. If he is moving around it could also slow down the 2nd best pass rush in the NFL with 55 sacks.
3. Take The Crowd Out Of The Game: The Bills are fired up for their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season but the Jaquars haven't hosted a playoff game since that same season so the crowd will be fired up. They have taken the tarp off the top sections and the place will be wild. If the Bills can score early they can take the crowd out of the game.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
This has the makings of a defensive struggle. Points will be tough to come by for a Bills offense that has struggled this season and it will be even harder if Shady can't go or is limited. The Bills defense needs to come up big to keep them in this game and I think they will but it may not be enough:
Jaguars 17, Bills 13
Season Prediction Record: (10-6)
Season Record Against The Spread: (6-8-2)
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