With a wild-card matchup looming between the Jaguars and the Bills, here are my six thoughts on the playoff-opener:
1. This matchup is why the Jaguars drafted Leonard Fournette
When the Jaguars selected a running back with the fourth overall pick, I questioned the value. However, with the Jaguars set to face the Bills on Sunday, Fournette is as critical as anyone on the roster.
Offenses have found a lot of success against the Bills with the use of the running game. Opposing teams averaged roughly 29 rushing attempts per game, as their plans were to grind and wear down the Bills' run defense. That fits Fournette's style of running.
Fournette's style is built for a large workload in the trenches. If he can pick up chunks of yardage and set a physical tone throughout the game, the Jaguars should be able to control the clock and the field position battle.
While the Bills aren't a big-play offense, keeping the ball in Fournette's hands prevents big potential plays from Buffalo's playmaking secondary (more on that later). Fournette is the key to the offense this week.
2. Blake Bortles needs to support the offense, instead of taking it over
With Fournette being the key to the offense, Bortles should understandably take a backseat. This is a game that Bortles needs to manage and not become the center of attention.
Bortles finished the regular season with five interceptions during the final two games. He has a history of turning the ball over, so it's hard not to question the ball security issues. That said, when he has been a role player in the offense, he has offered up strong performances.
I think keeping Bortles under 30 throws would be ideal. Let the running game, which has been invested in plenty, carry the load. Bortles needs to be able to make key throws but he shouldn't be expected to carry the offense.
3. A consistent weapon needs to emerge in the passing game
The youth at wide receiver has become evident over the last two weeks. The lack of situational awareness and mental errors have hurt Jacksonville at the wide receiver position at times.
With Allen Hurns settled back into the lineup, he needs to be the go-to possession receiver. He was known as "Mr. Consistent" around EverBank Field before he went down with his ankle injury. The Jaguars would benefit from his consistent hands against Buffalo.
Marqise Lee (ankle) has been sidelined but could play this weekend. He won't be fully healthy, so he should probably just be sprinkled into the offense. Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook will need to get back to where they were a few weeks ago.
The Bills aren't likely put up big points on offense, so it is crucial that the Jaguars take advantage of Buffalo stacking the box against Fournette. While the passing game should simply compliment the rushing attack, the ability to convert on third down-and-distance will be paramount for the Jaguars in this game.
4. The Jaguars must contain Tyrod Taylor and force him to throw
The Jaguars have struggled against mobile quarterbacks this season. Pocket mobility has taken away the pass rush at times and allowed opposing quarterbacks to buy time for their wide receivers against A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey.
Taylor is one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the league and he has the ability to hurt the Jaguars with his legs. Taylor is relatively similar to Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota in style. During two games this season, Mariota collected 84 rushing yards on 16 carries against the Jaguars' defense.
The Jaguars need to keep Taylor in the pocket and force him to throw. Taylor isn't known for throwing interceptions, as he has only thrown 14 picks in three seasons as a starter. However, if they can limit his options in the passing game, mistakes will be made.
The Jaguars have struggled to defend the middle of the field this season, so Taylor will probably target tight end Charles Clay quite often. The Jaguars need their coverage unit to handle Clay, while the pass rush keeps contain on Taylor. If both units can do their jobs, the Bills will be very limited in the passing game.
5. LeSean McCoy's game status is a game-changer
McCoy was carted off the field with an ankle injury during the Bills' season-finale against the Miami Dolphins. However, he still has a chance to play on Sunday.
Whether McCoy is 100 percent (he won't be) or 60 percent, he is a dangerous, integral part of the Buffalo offense. In fact, he accounted for 32.7 percent of the Bills' yards from scrimmage this season. He finished fourth in the league in rushing yards and was the Bills' reception leader.
If McCoy can't play, the Bills' offense will be significantly hindered. If McCoy can play, he should be the Jaguars' main focus on defense.
6. Jacksonville needs to avoid being baited in the passing game
The Bills have one of the best playmaking secondaries in the league. Safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and cornerback Tre'Davious White combined for 14 interceptions this season.
Poyer and Hyde are very effective at baiting opposing quarterbacks. The defensive backs will hide in coverage and then jump routes. It has worked against Tom Brady and it can work against Bortles. The Jaguars' quarterback will need to be aware of both at all times. Bortles will also need to make good decisions.
White is one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league. He could seemingly take away whomever the Bills deems as the Jaguars' top receiving threat. That may limit the Jaguars' passing game even more. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett may need to show some creativity to find some groove with the passing attack.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.