Stories in the AFC Wildcard weekend vary from the all of a sudden hot Kansas City Chiefs to the feel-good story of the Buffalo Bills making their first playoff appearance since the 1999-2000 season. In the AFC it feels like the Chiefs have the most on the line. Starting off 5-0 and looking like the best team in the NFL early in the season. They then went 1-6 in the middle of the season, but were able to cap the season off with a 5-game win streak. Anything less than an AFC Championship game berth will be looked on as a failure. In Jacksonville, an all of a sudden resurgent Bills team was able to slip into the playoffs by virtue of an Andy Dalton late touchdown to sink the Ravens from Playoff contention, will face the AFC South champions, Jacksonville Jaguars. Met with hysteria and jubilance from the passionate fans of the Buffalo, it is hard not to root for this feel-good story.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
Time: 3:35 Today EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City, MO
TV: ABC or ESPN App
The two most inconsistent teams in the playoffs will square off on a frosty cold afternoon game today. Marcus Mariota had a career high in interceptions with 15 this season, the Titans have been wildly inconsistent and at times bad. Tennessee has benefited from a very easy schedule. In order to win this game, they will have to force turnovers and try to get Leonard Fournette going against a below average run defense in Kansas City. Quarterback Alex Smith doesn’t turn the ball over often. That has been his m.o. for most of his career. He makes the safe plays and won’t ‘wow’ you with arm. Riding on a 5-game win streak, can the Chiefs keep this streak going? Linebacker Justin Houston, has had an up and down season but has amassed 9.5 sacks this year.Tamba Hali and Chris Jones haven’t been as great as most Chiefs fans would have liked. As of recently they have stepped it up and even sacked Derek Carr 3 times last week and hit him 5 more times. If the Chiefs front 7 is able to pressure Mariota often this game should be over very soon. I will take Kansas City 24 and Tennesse 14.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars
Time: 12:05 EST
Where: EverBank Stadium. Jacksonville, FL
With the pride of upstate New York, the Buffalo Bills come into Jacksonville with upset on their mind. Reportedly, the Buffalo contingent are buying up many of the tickets for this game. Often a vacation destination for New Yorkers, Florida should not see a shortage of the “#BillsMafia’ (if you don’t know about it already, look it up on YouTube). As far as the play on the field, Jacksonville boasts one of the best defenses in the NFL. Calais Cambell has been a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He ranks second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks. Along with Malik Jackson and Dante Fowler, this is easily the best defensive front in the NFL. The Buffalo Bills are not great on either side of the ball, but what they do well is force a lot of turnovers. The Bills have a +9 in turnover ratio. If the Bills can force the historically inept Blake Bortles to turn the ball over they may have a chance to win this game. LeSean McCoy is not going to play in this game. Buffalo’s best player, should be a major setback for this game. I think Jacksonville’s game-plan will have Blake Bortles making safe plays all the game and letting the defense make the game-changing plays. Without LeSean McCoy I don’t see the Bills really having a shot in this game. I will take the Jags in close low scoring game, Jacksonville 13 Buffalo 6.