Bills vs. Jags Could Be Total Mismatch
Is Sunday's Wild Card matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars at total mismatch? Despite having Blake Bortles under center, here's why the Jags could roll.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Jaguars are 8.5-point home favorites to beat the Bills, who opened as 7.5-point road underdogs when the line was first released for this game. As for the total, the number hit the board at 40 but has been bet down to 39.5. As of Sunday morning, 52% of the betting tickets are on the Jags to cover the point spread.
Problem 1: McCoy isn't healthy
LeSean McCoy is questionable to play in today's game after he suffered an ankle injury in the Bills' Week 17 victory over the Dolphins. Coach Sean McDermott said there is a "chance" McCoy could play after he was carted off the field in Miami. If he can't play, or he's limited, the Bills are in trouble. McCoy was responsible for 33 percent of Buffalo's scrimmage yards this season, which was the second-highest percentage in the league behind Todd Gurley's 36 percent. The Jaguars own one of the nastiest defenses in the league but one way to beat them is by running the ball. If McCoy is hamstrung, forget the Bills winning this game.
Problem 2: Protection for Taylor
Tyrod Taylor was sacked on 9.1% of his dropbacks this season, which was the second-highest percentage in the league behind Colts' starter Jacoby Brissett (9.3%). Taylor will face a Jacksonville team that sacked opposing quarterbacks on 9.3 percent of dropbacks, which was also the second-highest rate in the league. Taylor does a great job of not turning the ball over but he was often inaccurate with his passes this season. If he doesn't have time, the Jaguars could open up a big lead, pin their ears back in the second half, and make Taylor's day a nightmare.
Problem 3: The Bills are having trouble stopping the run
Some bettors are fading Bortles, which is understandable. That said, the Bills traded defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars before Week 8 and the two run defenses went in different directions. Buffalo allowed a league-worst 18 rushing touchdowns since trading Dareus and surrendered 148.7 rushing yards per game (second-most in the league during that span). If Leonard Fournette is gaining yards in chunks, Bortles won't have to do much and that was the recipe for success this year in Jacksonville. Buffalo could play right into the Jaguars' hands.
My free pick will be coming out for this game soon but you know which way I'm leaning. Out of all the Wild Card matchups this weekend, this is the one game I see being a blowout.