The Buffalo Bills enter Sunday’s contest as heavy favorites against the Houston Texans with lines as big as -17.5 according to several betting sites. However, HC Sean McDermott continues to attempt to keep his team grounded by stating his team maintains focus because, “if you don’t, you get your ass kicked”.
It’s easy to look past a team that was projected to be bad this year and instead prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs, but this is the NFL, where any given Sunday reigns supreme. The Texans are a team that the Bills need to handily beat, not dominate like last game, but get in and get out, taking care of business. Several Bills injuries may lead to that above mentioned line not reflecting the actual score at the end. Below are the injuries for both the Bills and Texans heading into Week 4.
S Jordan Poyer (left ankle)
Poyer left the game late Sunday with a left ankle injury that initially appeared to be minor as he was jumping up and down on it following the win, but was later seen in a walking boot. The injury came as the result of having Tremaine Edmunds roll up on Poyer’s ankle as he attempted to tackle Terry McLaurin.
Initially, it appeared as though Poyer may have suffered a high-ankle sprain as I mentioned in my postgame article, as his heel appeared to be up off the turf and his foot pointed down which could suggest that he avoided the injury.
This could be a painful contusion the team wants to allow full time to rest, or even a medial ankle sprain, injuring the deltoid ligament. The reason he was able to walk it off and even jump around on it was due to the swelling not quite setting in and adrenaline masking the pain.
It’s possible that in past years, he would attempt to play through this, but considering the Bills have potentially 18 more games this season, it’s best to get guys fully healthy. Starting in his place will likely be Jaquan Johnson with Damar Hamlin backing him up. We could also see Josh Thomas get called up from the practice squad.
Finally, check out this tweet below. It is incredible and something I went back to my notes to confirm, I was surprised but it confirms my statement above.
G Jon Feliciano (Concussion)
Feliciano was a DNP Thursday with a concussion designation after originally having an illness designation. He has since been ruled out for Sunday and has to progress through the concussion protocol before he can return to play.
My theory for the concussion is that he suffered the concussion Wednesday but he had several symptoms that mimic illness and may not have initially reported it. When it persisted, it’s possible he went through testing that revealed the concussion. That could explain why he was designated with illness Wednesday but a concussion Thursday.
It’s important to note that this is Feliciano’s second documented concussion according to his known injuries. He suffered one back in 2017 with the Raiders towards the end of the season.
Ike Boettger can slide into his starting spot and Jamil Douglas can be called up from the practice squad as a depth option.
CB Taron Johnson (Groin)
Johnson was limited practice Wednesday and did not participate Thursday or Friday suggesting that he suffered the injury at some point during Wednesday’s practice. He played in all the defensive snaps Sunday which further cements that this may be the case.
Unfortunately, Johnson has had a groin strain early in the season every year dating back to 2019. He suffered one in the preseason, missing the Colts game that year. He suffered one in Week 2 last year, but did not miss time. Considering he has a past history with this and it appears to be a fresh injury, I’m not confident that he would play Sunday. Currently, Siran Neal is the backup nickel cornerback and I would expect Cam Lewis to be elevated from the practice squad.
DE Efe Obada (ankle)
Like his last injury that forced him out of Week 2, not much is known about his latest injury. He practiced in full Wednesday, DNP Thursday, and practiced in full on Friday. Right now, he’s trending towards playing, I don’t see them putting Boogie Basham in at this time if Obada can play.
S Micah Hyde (quadriceps)
Hyde is working through a quadriceps injury after playing in 100 percent of the snaps Sunday. It’s unknown if the injury occurred in the game or whether this was also the result of practice. He practiced in full on Thursday and Friday suggesting that this is minor.
I fully expected him to play because I didn’t believe that the Bills would allow themselves to not have their two starting safeties and nickel cornerback available, even against a lesser opponent in the Texans.
WR Danny Amendola (thigh)
Amendola will miss his second straight game following his injury against Cleveland in Week 2. According to CBS Sports, he was initially designated as a hamstring which later was classified on the injury report as a thigh. This sounds like it was a strain based on the change in designation and could keep him out longer than this game.
RB Scottie Phillips (illness)
Phillips has missed all week with an illness and has already been ruled out for the game.
QB DeShaun Watson (not injury related)
Watson continues to be inactive due to his pending sexual misconduct allegations.
OUT (COVID-19 Reserve List)
DT Ross Blacklock (positive test) and LB Zach Cunningham (close contact)
Both were placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday. They will miss the game and the team has practice squad call ups which may be used on WR Jalen Camp or Jordan Veasy and QB Jeff Driskel.
CB Terrace Mitchell (concussion)
Mitchell suffered a concussion in Week 2 against the Browns and was unable to clear protocol in time for Week 3 on a short week against the Panthers. He practiced this week indicating that he was possibly close to clearing concussion protocol. If he doesn’t play, then I’d expect Jimmy Moreland to play.
LB Garret Wallow (illness)
Wallow missed Thursday’s practice due to illness but was able to practice Friday in a limited fashion, marking him questionable. Considering the other pieces they are missing and call-ups needed elsewhere, he may try to play through.
DE Boogie Basham
CB Taron Johnson
OT Tommy Doyle
S Jordan Poyer
DT Harrison Phillips
G Jon Feliciano
RB Matt Breida
Practice Squad call ups OL Jamil Douglas and CB Cam Lewis
QB DeShaun Watson
WR Danny Amendola
RB Scottie Phillips
TE Brevin Jordan
CB Jimmy Moreland
S Lonnie Johnson
DL Jaleel Johnson
COVID Reserve call ups QB Jeff Driskel and WR Jordan Veasy
Returning to play this week include S AJ Moore (hamstring) and K Ka’imi Fairbairn (muscle strain) from IR. Returning after brief absences include C Justin Britt (thigh), CB Justin Reid (knee), and LB Kamu Gruger-Hill (knee). Not much is known about some of their injuries but are returning to play in Week 4.
Overall the Bills have several more concerning injuries but have elite depth available to overcome the Texans. This should be a game that the Bills fully take control and never let them into the game. This game will also be key to avoid any injuries as a tough stretch of the season starts with Kansas City and then Tennessee, requiring the team to play to the top of their abilities.
Next week will be important to watch with when Feliciano and Poyer return to practice along with if this groin injury lingers for Johnson. It should be a fun game and a win to move the Bills to 3-1 and first place in the AFC East.
Top Photo Credit: BillsWire-USAToday