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Bills vs. Jaguars: How the teams match up for the AFC wild-card playoff game

The world worried about Y2K. “American Pie” hit the theaters. Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France.

That’s what was happening the last time the Buffalo Bills last made the playoffs.

That drought is over, with the Bills heading back to the NFL postseason for the first time since 1999.

They will have their hands full, though, against a Jacksonville team that gave up the fewest points in the AFC (16.8 points per game) and was second in the league with 33 takeaways.

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It doesn’t help Buffalo’s cause that running back LeSean McCoy is nursing a tender ankle. He finished fourth in the league with 1,138 yards rushing and 1,586 from scrimmage.

The Jaguars are powered on offense by running back Leonard Fournette, who led all rookies with nine rushing touchdowns and was second in rushing with 1,040 yards.

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles, making his first postseason start, had been playing surprisingly well for a stretch before finishing with two subpar games. He had a three-game stretch with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, but finished with two touchdowns and five interceptions in his last two games.

We meet again

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Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was the Bills’ coach for two seasons in 2013-14 but walked away from the job, taking advantage of an opt-out clause when the club changed owners.

Buffalo traded star defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville in October, but he told reporters this week he couldn’t help but celebrate the Bills finally making the playoffs.

“It’s hard for me not to celebrate as well,” he said.

“I’m just really happy that it came. The timing? Hey, it is what it is. It’s a business. That’s how it goes. I’m just happy they got over the hump. I’m happy for the guys that have been there and fighting with me to get things going to where it is now and get the opportunity to get in the playoffs.”

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That’s the spirits

The Jaguars will be selling teal-colored beer for their playoff game. The craft beer, made by Anheuser-Busch, will go well with the teal burger buns and teal ice cream, all to celebrate the first playoff game hosted by the Jaguars since 2000.

By the numbers

How teams compare statistically. All stats are per-game averages, except for turnover differential, which is for season (league rank in parentheses):

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Category (NFL rank): BUF | JAC

Points scored: 18.9 (22) 26.1 (5)

Points allowed: 22.4 (18) 16.8 (2)

Pass offense: 176.6 (31) 224.6 (17)

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Rush offense: 126.1 (6) 141.4 (1)

Pass defense: 230.5 (20) 169.9 (1)

Rush defense: 124.6 (29) 116.2 (21)

Sacks: 27 (T29) 55 (2)

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Penalty yards: 54.5 (9) 58.5 (18)

Turnovers: 18.9 (22) 26.1 (5)

Farmer’s pick

This game will hinge on Jacksonville’s stingy defense and Buffalo’s banged-up offense. With McCoy hobbled, there’s extra pressure on Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He’s already going to have his hands full against that smothering pass rush and a vaunted secondary. Close and relatively low-scoring game.

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JAGUARS 23, BILLS 17


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