AFC wild-card game


Time: 12: 30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Bills by 8 1/2

Vs. spread: Jaguars 7-9; Bills 9-7.

Last playoff appearance: This is Jaguars' first playoff game. Bills lost to Steelers in Pittsburgh, 40-21, in AFC divisional game last -- season.

Playoff record: Jaguars 0-0; Bills 14-12.

Outlook: Game matches grizzled playoff veterans against second-year expansion team, but Bills coach Marv Levy, who has guided team to eight playoffs in last nine years, is discounting experience factor. He's more concerned about Jaguars QB Mark Brunell, who has way of stretching defenses to breaking point with arm and legs. Bills' offense has been stuck much of season, but defense is strong. Under normal circumstances, Jaguars could hang with Bills, whom they've never faced. Plus they have momentum, having won final five games to be only AFC team undefeated in December. But this is playoffs, and Bills are simply too experienced in that department.

By the numbers: Brunell hasn't been intercepted in 119 passes spanning four games. Bills have committed 13 turnovers in last four games that were converted into 39 points. WR Jimmy Smith led Jaguars with team-record seven TD catches. Bills WR Andre Reed has five postseason 100-yard receiving games, tied for second-most in NFL history. Bills are 9-0 in playoffs at Rich Stadium and have won six of seven playoff openers under Levy, who is 11-7 in postseason. Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin went to playoffs as Giants assistant twice, including Super Bowl XXV win over Bills.


JAGUARS: Probable: LB Brant Boyer (shoulder), RB Randy Jordan (knee), LB Eddie Robinson (knee).

BILLS: Questionable: CB Marlon Kerner (groin).

Pub Date: 12/28/96

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