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Bills need LeSean McCoy to beat Jaguars

The Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. If they want to stay there, they need All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy to get healthy … and quick.

McCoy has been the epicentre of Buffalo’s offence since he arrived via trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015. The 29-year-old star had another 1,000-yard campaign on the ground. However, he left the Week 17 win over the Miami Dolphins with a sprained ankle. On Wednesday, McCoy wasn’t able to practice. With two more practices remaining before Buffalo’s tilt on Sunday afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is still time. Although the clock is ticking loudly.

The Bills are already facing a tough draw in Jacksonville, even if McCoy was completely healthy. Buffalo doesn’t have much in the way of receiving options. Their leading yardage total for a wide receiver being Deonte Thompson’s 430. Overall, tight end Charley Clay is leading the charge with 558, something that doesn’t bode well when playing the tandem of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.

All of this points to needing huge game out of McCoy to both chew up yards on the ground and open up some play-action passing concepts. The Bills have to give McCoy the ball 20-25 times and hope that his ankle holds up. If not, Tyrod Taylor becomes the focal point of a feeble offense.

Taylor is a decent signal caller, but he’s not going to challenge the aforementioned duo with consistency. The former Virginia Tech star has not thrown for 300 yards once this year, coming into this weekend with 2,799 passing yards and 14 touchdowns for the season.

Buffalo’s defense should be in position to keep Jacksonville’s offense largely at bay, making LeSean McCoy all the more valuable. With Blake Bortles and Co. always vulnerable to interceptions and missed opportunities, the best chance for the Bills remains a steady ground attack buttressed by key third-down conversions from Taylor when the moment calls for it.

If LeSean McCoy can’t play, the Bills have little choice but to rely on their defense for both stops and points. Buffalo can’t throw the ball at will against Jacksonville’s secondary, so it becomes a ball-control affair. Run the ball with Mike Tolbert and Taylor on the read-option, and attempt to pin Bortles deep in his own end. Then, bring pressure and hope the Jaguars make a few errors, leading to a low-scoring affair.

It won’t be easy without McCoy — it would be borderline impossible — but nobody thought the Bills had a prayer of being here in the first place. If they’ve proven anything, it’s that they’re a resilient bunch.


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