The Buffalo Bills look to right the ship following a surprising loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 at home. The Miami Dolphins look to increase their lead in the AFC East following a win over the New England Patriots in Foxboro last week. Both teams come into the game with several injuries which could impact how effective each team’s various units are able to produce. Below are all the injuries, observations, and projected inactives.
WR Gabriel Davis (right ankle)
Following Sunday’s loss, I had previously noted that Davis had an injury, though at the time I thought it was a hip by the way he landed. However, he is listed as an ankle and did not practice Wednesday. He returned to practice Thursday and Friday in a limited capacity, but it is not clear what injury he is dealing with.
Looking at the tweet above, it isn’t clear how he injured his ankle. Another view from the opposite side would clarify the exact injury. Video from Thursday’s practice shows him running without hesitation and moving well with cuts. It’s possible he jammed his ankle while landing trying to catch the ball Sunday, but the video simply doesn’t show what he did.
He did suffer a right high ankle sprain last season in the playoffs which significantly limited him, though this isn’t implied that this is a recurrence of this injury. While is listed as questionable, he appears to be on track to play Sunday.
DT Star Lotulelei (calf)
Lotulelei continues to work back from the calf strain that kept him out of Week 1 against the Steelers. It’s still not defined which side he injured but he appeared to be moving well in practice from what was available. He was limited all week with the exception of Friday where he had a full practice.
The only hesitation I have is the humidity and heat that could cause dehydration down in Miami, but the training staff would ensure that he stays hydrated and rotates out often to prevent re-injury. This may be a true game-time decision once he gets down in the heat, but based on what the weather reports state how hot it will be, I believe he may sit this one out as a precaution.
DE Efe Obada (calf)
Obada showed up on the injury report Friday with a calf injury with a limited designation. Outside of several injury designations last season, he does not have an extensive known injury history Considering this is a new injury, there is very little chance he plays Sunday.
LB Matt Milano (ankle)
Virtually nothing is known regarding Milano’s ankle injury as he was a surprise on the injury report. He played in every defensive snap and on one special teams snap which makes trying to find when he injured the ankle incredibly difficult.
He was limited on Wednesday and practiced in full on Thursday and Friday which suggests that this is not a serious issue.
WR Emmanuel Sanders (right foot)
Sanders didn’t appear limited in Sunday’s game which suggests that this may be an injury the training staff have to manage and prevent overuse during the ensuing weeks. I will not be concerned if he shows up on the injury report with the foot injury in the future as it appears as though it will be a maintenance thing at this point.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (right shoulder)
McKenzie was coming off a left AC joint sprain and left the game briefly with what was later confirmed as a right shoulder injury. In the clips below, he is visibly in pain motioning for a fair catch and catching the ball. He did take a hard shot to his right shoulder on kickoff Sunday but played through the discomfort before fielding the punt which led to his exit.
He continues to practice and on track to play Sunday, though he may once again stick to special teams. If the pain is persistent enough, he may also require some type of shot to manage any discomfort he has heading into the game.
S Micah Hyde (neck)
Not much is known regarding what Hyde is dealing with as this was a new injury. It’s possible that this injury was suffered during Wednesday’s practice, but he was in a red non-contact jersey. He played in 100 percent of defensive snaps and a few on special teams which makes determining possible injuries from the game nearly impossible.
However, he practiced in full on Friday and did not have a game designation clearing him to play Sunday.
Other Buffalo observations
RB Zack Moss (right hamstring)
Moss was a surprise inactive in Week 1 and the initial reasoning was that it came down to numbers during the post game. Since then, it was revealed that the team was cautious about bringing Moss out following his hamstring injury during training camp. It’s important to note that he was not on the injury report last week and had played fairly well against the Packers in the final preseason game.
While the rationale does make sense as Moss does have a multitude of injuries already, it would have been less jarring to hear that it was due to precautionary reasons following the game. The Florida heat won’t help anything Sunday, but I can’t see them making Moss inactive again with how ineffective Matt Breida was last week.
OT Dion Dawkins (COVID-19)
Dawkins was not up to his usual self Sunday, collecting several holding penalties and appearing winded at times. Following the game, Sean McDermott didn’t think conditioning was an issue for Dawkins, but later in the week, Dawkins came out and noted how he still isn’t 100 percent yet. It’s hopeful that Dawkins can continue to round into shape, but we may not see his best for another few weeks. Knowing this, we could see Spencer Brown get some work in to give Dawkins more breaks.
WR Will Fuller (personal issue)
Fuller has already been ruled out of Sunday’s contest to tend to a personal matter. Details are not available, but he did not practice Thursday or Friday. This will be his second game missed following a PED suspension dating back to last season.
WR Preston Williams (foot/knee)
Williams has yet to appear in a regular season game since ending his season in November last year due to a Lisfranc foot injury and starting camp on the PUP list. While he eventually did pass his physical, it’s possible that he continues to deal with soreness in the region as he ramps up to game shape. In addition to working back from this foot ailment, he was additionally listed with a knee injury which all but ensures that his 2021 season debut won’t occur until at least Week 3.
Other Miami observations
DT Raekwon Davis (right knee)
Davis was placed on injured reserve following a knee injury in the first defensive series in Week 1 against the Patriots. By video, it appears as though it is an MCL sprain, though he could have additional damage unknown at the time. He was seen on the sidelines later looking as though he was trying to go back in, but never re-entered. He later was placed on injured reserve for the next three games, though he could be on it longer.
He is a name to watch in the coming weeks as by the time the Bills play the Dolphins again in Week 8, Davis could be coming off IR at that time as MCL injuries can take 4-to-6 weeks to fully recover from.
BILLS PROJECTED INACTIVES
DE Efe Obada
LB Andre Smith
TE Tommy Sweeney
OT Tommy Doyle
DT Star Lotulelei
DOLPHINS PROJECTED INACTIVES
TE Cethan Carter
CB Trill Williams
TE Hunter Long
WR Will Fuller
WR Preston Williams
While Miami is dealing with several injuries, it only appears that Williams may miss the game along with Fuller on Sunday. Buffalo also continues to improve healthwise, likely only missing Davis and Lotulelei, but should match up well. Josh Allen seems to play his best against Miami no matter the circumstances which could make this game real interesting. Last year in Week 2, CB Byron Jones went down with a groin injury early and that changed the course of the game, allowing Buffalo’s offense to take over, leaving with a win.
For those looking to place bets on the game, this could be a great game to place a bet on depending on where you live. For those looking to play online sports betting in Michigan, make sure to shop around for the best lines. Check out Sports Betting Dime which currently has the Bills at -3.5. This would mean that Buffalo has to win by at least 4 points to cover the spread. While it’s exciting to win on a game-winning field goal from Tyler Bass, this would not win you any money. Over the past 10 contests dating back to 2016, Buffalo has won by at least 4 points 6 of those instances. Week 2 in 2020 saw them win by only 3 and the remaining 3 games were won by Miami by only 3 points. Either way, I believe Buffalo will be able to cover the spread and get the win.
Despite this being an early season game, this game has a lot of implications for AFC East supremacy, playoff seeding, and the continued rivalry between the two franchises. Here’s to hoping another Buffalo win and minimal injuries including the avoidance of strains due to the Miami heat.
Top Photo Credit: BillsWire.USAToday.com