Happy Thanksgiving, all!
While the Jacksonville Jaguars have to wait until Sunday to face off with the Buffalo Bills, there is plenty of football to go along with the holiday today.
We all remember what happened the last time these two franchises faced off, namely Bills Mafia trying to destroy the city of Jacksonville, but what is the history like between the two AFC foes? Let’s explore.
All-time regular season series record: Bills lead 8-6
Postseason record: Jaguars lead 2-0
Last Jaguars win: Jan 7, 2018 (playoff game, 10-3)
Last Bills win: Nov. 27, 2016 (28-21)
Current Streak: Jaguars with one win
Biggest Jaguars win: 36-14 (Nov. 25, 2007)
Biggest Bills win: 38-17 (Sept. 14, 2003)
Interesting takeaway: The first game in this series was a Jaguars playoff win (Dec 28, 1996) and the last game in the series was a Jaguars playoff win (Jan. 7, 2018).
Quick thoughts: The Bills have the two-game advantage in regular season meetings, but the Jags have the two-game advantage in the playoffs, and overall the series is tied at eight wins a piece. Jacksonville won the first two meetings, and then the Bills followed that up with three straight wins, and the last 11 games have been very back and forth (Jaguars lead 6-5 in that span). Jacksonville is 4-4 all-time as the road team in this series, and will look to bring that up past the .500 mark on Sunday.
Date: Jan. 7, 2018
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
Team Stats: Jacksonville — 87 passing yards, 155 rushing yards, 22 first downs
Buffalo — 148 passing yards, 130 rushing yards, 20 first downs
Quick recap: As an out-of-state fan, this was my first ever game at EverBank Field (now TIAA Bank Field), and it was a blast. In an NFL where offense is king, both defenses played great games. Blake Bortles wasn’t much of a threat in the passing game, but he made plays with his legs and got the job done. In fact, he actually had more rushing yards (88) than passing yards (87). It was a one-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-one from Bortles to Ben Koyack that was the difference in the game, as the Jacksonville’s defense held Buffalo to just three points and 263 total yards. Jalen Ramsey sealed it with an interception at the end of the game when Nathan Peterman had to step in for an injured Tyrod Taylor, and the stadium erupted. Jacksonville earned its first playoff win in 10 years, and it’s a day that I, along with many other Jaguars fans, will never forget.
Date: Nov. 27, 2016
Location: New Era Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
Team Stats: Jacksonville — 126 passing yards, 183 rushing yards, 20 first downs
Buffalo — 166 passing yards, 153 rushing yards, 15 first downs
Quick recap: Jacksonville had its opportunities in this game, and it was back and forth throughout. The Jags took an early first quarter 7-0 lead on a Chris Ivory touchdown, which was later answered by LeSean McCoy right before halftime. McCoy opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown run to give the Bills the lead. Bortles then found Marquise Lee on a 20-yard strike and gave the Jags a 14-13 lead. Tyrod Taylor scampered for a score late in the third and that put the Bills back up. Bortles found Allen Hurns for a touchdown to open up the final quarter of play, and the Jags had the once-point advantage again. Taylor found Justin Hunter a few minutes later and the Bills got the two-point conversion. The Jaguars didn’t score again and Buffalo won 28-21. Neither team turned the ball over.
Through the Decades
1990s: Jaguars 2-1 (Jaguars with one playoff win)
2000-2010: Tied 4-4
2011-Present: Bills lead 3-2 (one playoff win for the Jaguars)
Quick thoughts: The Jaguars and Bills first squared off in a playoff game in 1996, which the Jags won. The Jaguars and Bills then split the remaining two games in the ‘90s. There were four wins a piece in the next decade (2000-2010), with the Bills winning three of the first four games and the Jaguars winning three of the final four meetings in the time frame. Buffalo holds the advantage since 2011, but the Jaguars have won two of the past three games, including a playoff victory and a win in London.
Looking at this season’s matchup, I think the advantage still goes to Jacksonville. While both teams are struggling this season, I just can’t see rookie quarterback Josh Allen — coming off of an injury — having much success against Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and the rest of the Jacksonville secondary. The Bills actually have a really good defense, and will likely hold Bortles and the uninspiring Jags offense in check, but I see Jacksonville puling out another victory in a low-scoring affair. I am pretty sure the two fanbases aren’t relatively fond of each other following the playoff game festivities, either, so there is some bad blood there for sure.
Both teams have fallen from grace following the 2017-2018 postseason appearances. What happens this time around?