Everyone who had the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars making the AFC playoffs this year, say “Aye.”
The only thing that is more improbable than Buffalo and Jacksonville making the playoffs is that one of the two is going to have to advance to the second round of the postseason. The squads will face off in just the fourth home playoff game in Jaguars history.
Bills Playoff History
Go ahead and celebrate, Buffalo. This is going to be the first time the Bills have been in the playoffs in 18 years, meaning no one has ever made a single social media remark about how they’ve played into the middle of January.
The Bills are 14-15 in their history in the playoffs, but the last man who quarterbacked them to a victory in the postseason was Jim Kelly in 1996. Kelly, of course, has a history against these Jaguars. His last game ever was Jacksonville’s first playoff victory in franchise history, a 30-27 triumph in Orchard Park in 1997.
Jaguars Playoff History
The Jags haven’t played a meaningful January game at home since 2000 when they hosted the AFC Championship against the Titans. That Tennessee team, of course, was the one that pulled off the Music City Miracle in Buffalo’s most recent playoff game.
Since that point, the Jags have only reached the playoffs twice, and they’ve won just one game. In fairness, they keep running into Tom Brady and the Patriots, getting knocked out first by the 2006 Pats, then by the “Perfect Patriots” in the 2008 playoffs.
From 2008 through 2016, Jacksonville has been so far away from the playoffs that it has picked in the top-10 of the NFL Draft in every single season.
Why Buffalo Will Win in Wild Card Weekend
The Bills haven’t played pretty football this season, but they have a gamer at quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor has been through a ton this season, including getting pulled from two different games and losing his starting quarterback job for a half of football before having to come back into a game in which Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions over 30 minutes.
Just rehashing that makes us dizzy, and it’s a wonder how he managed to lead this team to nine wins. But the bottom line is just that: Taylor went 9-6 this year as a starting quarterback and 9-4 in games that weren’t against the Patriots.
Why Jacksonville Will Win in Wild Card Weekend
We’re not sure whether Blake Bortles is really a playoff-caliber quarterback in the NFL, but we do know that he’s got a darn good team around him.
Leonard Fournette will be totally forgotten in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, but he rumbled for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 36 passes for 302 more yards in just 13 games. He’s the best running back this team has had since Maurice Jones-Drew, and that’s certainly going to help on a team that has a bunch of no-names at wide receiver.
But most impressive in 2017 was the Jacksonville defense. Calais Campbell slowed down in the second half of the year, but he was second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks and was the leader of a team that finished No. 2 in the NFL in sacks and forced turnovers.
Bills vs. Jaguars Prediction
Though Sean McDermott has said all the right things early in the week about LeSean McCoy and his ankle injury, we can’t imagine that he plays effectively in this game, if he even plays at all. McCoy is the heart and soul of this team, and this offense is fruitless without him. It’s one thing to ask Marcus Murphy to run against the hapless Dolphins in Week 17 and another thing entirely to ask him to do so against one of the best defenses in a playoff game in what would be just his second NFL game.
For as little as we like Bortles and the Jacksonville offense, this defense is legit. This might not be the prettiest game in the world, but this sets up well for the Jags to move on to Pittsburgh.
Bills vs. Jaguars Pick: Jacksonville 16, Buffalo 10
Ready to join a contest for the first time at Contest General? Our NFL Playoff Contest is the perfect way to start! Join today and prove that you’re the king of the gridiron!