The Buffalo Bills host the Washington Football Team at home in a Week 3 matchup due to the addition of a 17th game this season. Both teams are coming off wins, though the Bills had a total domination of the Miami Dolphins whereas Washington needed a game winning field goal to knock off the New York Giants.
The Bills have far more injuries than Washington, but despite that, still have the advantage on talent and depth. Below are the injuries for both teams, potential inactives, and any additional concerns.
CB Levi Wallace (knee)
There isn’t a clear determination as to what Wallace is dealing with. He left the game Sunday against the Dolphins with cramping in his right leg and was designated probable, but CB Dane Jackson played well in his place and Wallace was ultimately not needed.
He later appeared on the injury report with a knee injury Wednesday but practiced in full. He was downgraded Thursday to limited, but rebounded Friday to a full designation, making him questionable for the game. Looking at the film, it’s not clear when he injured the knee other than potentially when he got tackled on his interception. However, he got right back up and continued playing next series. When he went down with cramping, he simply sat down on the field prior to the play which eliminates the possibility that he suffered an injury along with the cramping.
Sean McDermott did note this during his Monday press conference that Wallace was dealing with “irritation”, though I’m not sure what he means by that. Irritation would suggest some type of tendonitis or bursitis, but if this is the case, this is the first known instance of an issue. The bursitis could be supported with a direct blow to his knee which he possibly sustained, but this is stringing several hypotheticals together.
He had two out of three practices where he practiced in full. He also did not play much of the game last Sunday which led to less chances to suffer an injury. Looking at things in it’s entirety, this makes me believe that he will suit up Sunday.
CB Dane Jackson (knee)
Like Wallace, Jackson is also dealing with a knee injury that has limited him in practice this week. It’s also not clear when the injury occurred in the game with Jackson only having two or three possibilities of injuring the knee when he tackled a player.
Two out of the three plays where he had a direct shot to his knee involved the left side with one occurring in the 2nd quarter at 1:21 left and then the other with 2:36 left in the 4th. If he has bracing on that side or begins to favor that side, then looking back at these instances may help further identify what is going on.
He was limited two out of the three days but had a full practice on Friday. If I had to pick a cornerback to not play Sunday between Jackson and Wallace, Jackson is my guess, but it’s not certain that he won’t play.
WR Gabriel Davis (right ankle)
Davis continues to be limited with a right ankle injury, it still isn’t clear how he injured the ankle as the available film does not clearly show the injury. He is able to accelerate, cut, pivot, and jump, but has trouble slowing down, indicating the stability in the ankle is not quite 100 percent yet. Based on video, best guess is that he jammed it when he hit the turf. Davis does not have a designation for Sunday but I still expect him to be used sparingly, though I anticipate he will get several targets unlike last week.
DT Star Lotulelei (groin)
The veteran defensive tackle was a surprise addition to the practice report following Sunday’s game after dealing with a calf injury that forced him to miss Week 1. He played well on first and second downs during the win over Miami and was on the field until midway through the 4th quarter.
It was revealed Friday that he suffered the groin injury in warmups and played through the injury. This also explains why nothing was seen on film. The fact that he does not have a game day designation is excellent to see especially after coming off the calf injury. I expect to see Lotulelei continue in his rotation on first and second downs as he attempts to slow down RB Antonio Gibson and RB JD McKissic.
LB Tremaine Edmunds (heat illness)
Edmunds left the game at halftime requiring an IV for cramping. He was designated as heat illness this week which shouldn’t have any impact on his ability to perform Sunday. The specifics of other symptoms he was dealing with besides cramping isn’t known, but shouldn’t be a factor this week as as weather in Buffalo will be in the mid-to-high-60’s by kickoff.
S Micah Hyde (neck)
Hyde continues to show up on the injury report with a neck injury though has no game day designation. Hyde did deal with a neck injury back in 2019 that kept him out of a portion of training camp including missing a game, but no additional details were ever revealed.
During game review, I did notice Hyde briefly go down with pain with 5:13 left in the 3rd quarter. This was after a low tackle and Hyde appeared to be in discomfort, holding his left arm close to his body for several moments before getting up. This is speculative, but it could be possible he could have been dealing with a stinger which would explain why he is limited during the week but playing on Sundays.
DE Efe Obada (calf)
Obada practiced in full after being limited in practice last Friday and ultimately missed Week 2. Sean McDermott noted that Obada was more the result of numbers than the injury which suggests that his injury was something that he could have played through.
DT Matt Ioannidis (knee)
Ioannidis barely practiced this week following a knee injury last week against the Giants. He left and eventually returned to play, but does not appear to be on track for Sunday. It hasn’t been reported what specific injury he is dealing with, but not practicing Wednesday and he wasn’t projected to practice Friday doesn’t bode well for him. If he doesn’t play, DT Tim Settle will see increased playing time.
RB Antonio Gibson (shoulder)
Gibson has been dealing with a shoulder injury the past two weeks that hasn’t forced him to miss any time, but last week split the workload between him and JD McKissic. One more week removed from the original injury should allow him to be more productive, though with the presence of DT Star Lotulelei could help keep the run game from going off.
BILLS PROJECTED INACTIVES
DE Boogie Basham
OT Tommy Doyle
LB Andre Smith
DT Harrison Phillips
RB Matt Breida
WASHINGTON PROJECTED INACTIVES
DT Matt Ioannidis
CB Darryl Roberts
DE Shaka Toney
T Saahdiq Charles
TE Sammis Reyes
I played with the idea that Jackson could be inactive, but he did practice in full Friday and I’m not certain the Bills want to use call ups this early in the season. CB Cam Lewis along with CB Olaijah Griffin and CB Rachad Wildgoose are available, but I’m not certain that they will be necessary. They were able to call up Dane Jackson last year several times due to COVID protocols, but the team cannot bank on this approach to get more guys on the active roster. Looking at Breida and Phillips, it appears to be a numbers game. Breida has played sparingly on offense and special teams whereas the presence of Lotulelei forces Phillips to the bench.
Both teams bring talent to the table but with Buffalo playing at home against an inexperienced but talented QB Taylor Heinicke, this could push him into mistakes, forcing turnovers. However, I don’t believe this is the game that the Bills get the offense in sync quite yet.
Buffalo should win this game and move to 2-1, but it may be a low scoring affair. I had detailed out the betting implications of this matchup over at The Game Day with several bets that could help you win some money. This will not be a walk in the park for Buffalo, but if they want to win the Super Bowl, these are the games that they have to go in and expect to win.
Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Bills