The Buffalo Bills continue to play meaningful games in December! This is quite the rarity, but something the fan base should and is embracing! Regardless of this week’s outcome, the Bills will not be out of the playoffs which sets up a huge showdown with the Miami Dolphins in Week 17! This is an exciting time to be a Bills fan and hopefully a sign of positive things to come!
Today’s post will assess the injury report prior to the game against the Patriots. To earn a win in Foxboro, the Bills must play mistake free football and have everyone still available healthy. Right now, the latter is a distinct possibility. Those not practicing today are as follows: LB Lorenzo Alexander (rest), WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB E.J. Gaines (knee), WR Andre Holmes (neck), TE Nick O’Leary (back), DT Kyle Williams (groin).
Alexander is a seasoned veteran that still puts up solid play at the linebacker position and earns every one of his rest days. Benjamin continues to require extended rest breaks and rehab to manage the pain and swelling that he suffers after each game as a result of the meniscus tear that he will require surgery for at the end of the season. Holmes and Williams continue to deal with their respective injuries that appear to be nothing more than muscle strains which require rest and stretching. O’Leary has been on the injury report earlier this season due to back issues which may be muscle strains as he has had multiple short term complaints rather than a chronic long term issue.
As I stated in my last article, Gaines injured his left knee on a tackle of TE Julius Thomas in the 3rd quarter. After looking at video during coaches film, Gaines was running towards Thomas and had to change direction suddenly. During pivoting on the left knee to go to the right, it appears as though he sprained his left knee as he was able to take one more step and then throw his body into Thomas to knock him out of bounds.
Gaines was carted off the field and tests are still being performed as of today. I suspect a MCL sprain as the primary injury based on video with an ACL/meniscus tears always worst case scenarios. However, had he torn his ACL, that type of news would have been released by now. I suspect that the team is keeping tight lipped so as to not allow teams to game plan as if he doesn’t play. Considering his injury history, I suspect he misses the next game which would be a blow to the secondary as there is an obvious difference when he starts and when he is out.
If Gaines is forced to miss the next game, S Colt Anderson is returning to the roster from IR after breaking his forearm earlier in the season. This is a surprise due to the fact that he saw little playing time when he was healthy and has not made an impact during his time here. However, he provides depth in the secondary and may allow special teams to add a new wrinkle to this week’s game plan.
Those limited in practice are: TE Charles Clay (knee), RB LeSean McCoy (knee), G John Miller (ankle), and WR Deonte Thompson (back). Clay continues to deal with his knee and may forever be listed on the injury report. McCoy continues to take a beating as the workhorse of the offense and while I had originally thought he may be on the report due to a hip, his knee continues to be listed as soreness, though does not appear to limit his ability. McCoy is another player that will require a serious injury to be ruled out.
Miller is still dealing with what I believe to be a high ankle sprain and may be ruled out again on game day. Thompson has seen the injury report several times during the season but is currently dealing with a back injury. It did not appear that an injury forced him out of Sunday’s game, but he took several hard hits that could cause some expected discomfort in the following days.
Finally, those practicing in full are: QB Nathan Peterman (concussion). Peterman continues to bounce back from the concussion in the Colts game and appears to have resolved all issues in order to return to the backup QB position. I do not expect him to play unless QB Tyrod Taylor goes down with another injury at which time he will build off his solid outing against the Colts.
This game against the Patriots doesn’t have the Bills favored, but in the NFL, it’s Any Given Sunday. The Bills have a shot at winning. If they play like they did in the first half of the Patriots game, they have a realistic shot at keeping it close and possibly winning. I believe the coaching staff will bring everything they have in order to win and that includes most of the players on the injury report with the exception of Gaines.
I’m going to boldly predict a Bills win to push them to 9-6 and to the brink of the playoffs! Continue to check back for updates articles injuries as more information is known. Follow me on Twitter @kyletrimble88 for the latest updates and game day analysis. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!