The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the regular season with a 10-6 record -- a marked improvement from 2016 when the Jaguars finished with a 3-13 record and a top five pick -- but finished the season on a two game losing streak.
Now, the Jaguars prepare for their first playoff game since 2007, their first home playoff game since 1999, and only the third home playoff game in franchise history. The Jaguars are set to take on the Bills, who made it into the playoffs thanks to a Ravens meltdown against the Bengals in the final momens of the regular season.
On Tuesday, according to OddsShark, the Jaguars are favored by nine points over their foes from Buffalo. That's a big number for a team that's limping into the playoffs after losing to the 49ers and the Titans in their final two games of the regular season.
But there is reason for hope for the Jaguars. Prior to their terrible offensive performance against the Titans in week 17 the Jaguars had been hot on offense, scoring 30 or more points in three consecutive games. The Jaguars defense, despite an embarrassing effort in San Fransisco in week 16, have been a dominant group throughout the course of the season.
The Jaguars are also red hot at home right now, having won five straight in the friendly confines of EverBank Field.
To boot, the Bills most important player on either side of the ball, LeSean McCoy, is questionable with an ankle injury. A running back of his caliber is likely to try to play thought the pain in the playoffs, but his effectiveness could be limited if he is unable to cut and juke.
This matchup is loaded with storylines.
The Jaguars have already played the Bills once in the playoffs. The Bills were the first team that the Jaguars ever played in the post season, falling to the upstart Jaguars 30-27 at Rich Stadium in Buffalo.
Doug Marrone, the head coach of the Jaguars, held the same position with the Bills in 2013 and '14 before resigning from the position abruptly. There has been much hostility from Bills players, media, and fans towards Marrone since his departure. He'll face his former team in his first ever playoff game as a head coach.
Marcell Dareus was traded from the Bills to the Jaguars earlier this season, despite being one of the teams best players over the last half decade. He'll have plenty of motivation to show his former team they made a mistake moving on from the 27 year old defensive tackle.
This AFC wildcard matchup is sure to be a thriller.
Stay tuned for more.
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