The Buffalo Bills kick off their home opener on Monday night hosting the Tennessee Titans. Over the past several years, these two teams have battled leading to most entertaining games.
Even though it is Week 2, injuries are already affecting the potential outcome of the game, leading to what could be a war of attrition. With the chance for rain on Monday, this could affect not only who plays, but what further injuries may occur.
BUFFALO BILLS INJURY REPORT
Below are the full details of each injury for both the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans for Monday night.
DT Ed Oliver (Right ankle)
Oliver appeared to sprain his medial ankle against the Rams back on September 8 when he attempted to tackle WR Cooper Kupp. He had to double back and pivot on the ankle, stressing the inner structures known as the deltoid ligaments. To add insult to injury, he had multiple bodies fall on him during the tackle as it took several additional players to bring Kupp down.
It seemed initially optimistic that Oliver would play as mild medial ankle sprains miss on average of eight days according to this study. However, as Oliver had not practiced all week, it could be difficult to get up and be ready for Monday.
He either had a more moderately graded medial ankle sprain requiring additional time off or the team did not feel that they could go without him in an early season game.
The team did not want to risk anything, ruling him out after Saturday’s practice.
DT Tim Settle (Right calf)
Settle missed practice this past week after appearing to aggravate the calf injury he originally sustained in the preseason. To recap, he injured it back against the Indianapolis Colts in preseason Week 1 and did not practice the rest of camp. He was able to return to practice fully in Week 1 and played in 42 percent of snaps.
He required the attention of training staff in the first half of the game but did not receive an injury designation. In the second half, he wore a compression sleeve on the right calf but finished the game.
While he is doubtful to play, there has not been a player who has been designated as doubtful to suit up for the Bills since Sean McDermott shows up here. Considering this is a re-injury, he very likely will not play. Settle did go on to state that he has done everything the Bills have asked of him ahead of the game. He also confirmed this was the same calf from training camp.
It may be too soon to tell if he misses the Dolphins game in Miami, but not unreasonable to consider. Settle will have 16 days in between when he suffered the injury and when he could return, more in line with what the timeframe requires for a safe return.
He will need at least one full practice later in the week for me to say whether he plays in Week 3. Factoring in that this is a lingering injury, the Bills may err on the side of caution and he could miss an additional week.
CB Dane Jackson (Left knee)
Not much is known regarding Jackson other than he’s dealing with a left knee injury from pictures taken at practice and the injury report designation.
Sean McDermott noted that Jackson came down on the knee and tweaked it while performing a 1-on-1 drill earlier in the week. By video, he looks to be moving well as I mentioned in the tweet below.
He was able to get a full practice on Saturday after two DNP’s. Jackson appeared to be optimistic that he would play and considering the circumstances, I would expect he does even with the rainy weather.
WR Gabe Davis (Ankle)
Davis was a late addition to the injury report with an ankle injury Saturday. The specifics of the injury are not known at the time of publication, making it difficult to determine if he will play Monday.
Outlined below are the practice injuries along with designations since 2017 regarding whether they played or not. It’s about 50/50, but it appears more joint sprains play rather than strains.
Looking back at his prior ankle injuries, he dealt with a right ankle injury heading into the AFC Championship game in 2020 which affected his production. In 2021, he suffered another right ankle sprain in Week 1 that slowed him to begin the season.
If he re-injured his right ankle again, there may be enough laxity in the joint to have him bounce back faster as the ligaments are already loose, causing less damage.
However, if he suffered an injury to the left side, then that could change things.
More information needs to be known as to whether he really can suit up on Monday and things could change rapidly. If there are any concerns, especially early in the season, then he may be best to sit out.
Davis is on the doubtful side of questionable per NFL Network’s Mike Garofalo as seen in the clip below.
TE Quintin Morris (Right hamstring)
After suffering a right hamstring strain in practice on August 29, Morris returned to practice in full this past week and will play. He missed two weeks of practice before returning to participate in full which is in line with what we see regarding hamstring management from the team. Having the additional time off only helps reduce the chance of re-injury later in the season.
It’s worth noting the Bills have been excellent in avoiding chronic hamstring strains since Sean McDermott installed his new training staff.
OT Tommy Doyle (Right foot)
Doyle returned to practice this week following a foot sprain suffered against the Indianapolis Colts in preseason Week 1. He missed the following month of practice as he rehabbed. According to research, this appeared to be a Grade 2 foot sprain, taking on average 36 days of time lost; Doyle seems to have bested that.
The mechanism of injury according to the research suggested that direct impact is more likely than torsion through the foot. At the time, Doyle did appear to get stepped on at the end of the first half, briefly limping around which further supports the original suspicions. With the time off, I am optimistic that he will avoid re-injury.
TENNESSEE TITANS INJURY REPORT
CB Kristian Fulton (Hamstring)
Fulton missed practice all this past week as he worked through a hamstring strain suffered in Week 1. He played in 100 percent of snaps during the game, making it difficult to determine when he suffered the injury. With Fulton not going, expect to see an increased workload for CB Caleb Farley, coming off a mid-season ACL tear against the Bills last season. This could expose the passing defense as Farley is still working his way back in along with a lot of inexperienced depth at the position.
RB Dontrell Hilliard (Hamstring)
Hilliard, the third down back and catching passes out of the backfield only played 12 snaps last week before exiting with a hamstring strain. The potential loss of Hilliard behind Derrick Henry doesn’t help the rushing attack that is the engine of the team. Without Hilliard, this puts Hassan Haskins and Trenton Cannon, the latter a practice squad player, up for increased snaps.
OL Jamarco Jones (Elbow)
Jones missed last week with what the team termed a triceps injury, missing Week 1. He remained on the injury report with an elbow injury, limited all week. This is very likely the same injury considering the distal portion of the triceps attaches at the elbow.
If he had played, he would have struggled to maintain engagement with his arm extended while blocking, potentially leaving him exposed to getting beat.
WR Kyle Phillips (Right shoulder)
Phillips hurt his right shoulder late in the fourth quarter following a catch that set up the eventually missed field goal attempt. By video, it appeared as though he suffered a right AC joint sprain landing on the sidelines, unable to brace his fall.
This is something he can play through with padding and an injection to managing pain, but if he suffers further hits to the area, this could lead to extended absences or an early exit from the game. He will be someone to watch as the game progresses Monday night.
OL Dillon Radunz (Neck)
Limited all week, little is known regarding Radunz and his neck injury suffered in Week 1.
DB Lonnie Johnson (Groin)
Johnson missed Week 1 with a groin injury before practicing in a full practice this week. Even if he wasn’t fully healthy, he would be pressed into service due to injuries to Fulton, Moore, and Molden.
OT Taylor Lewan (Knee)
Lewan briefly required attention from the training staff during the second quarter, heading into the blue tent before returning with what is now known as a knee injury. He was able to practice in full all week suggesting a minor issue, but if there are any lingering issues, this could slow up his kick-slide or side shuffling keeping the defensive end outside of the pocket.
G Nate Davis (Knee)
Davis showed up on the injury report Friday with a knee injury, not practicing Friday but returned in full on Saturday.
OLB Ola Adeniyi (Neck)
Adeniyi left the game with 1:05 left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, questionable to return. He was part of the punt unit, lining up next to the long snapper. Once the ball was snapped, he engaged with his blocker and was hit on the left side of the head, briefly staying upright before he began to go to the turf and the camera cut away.
He required supervision in coming off the field, at times moving his left arm/hand, and rubbing his fingers together. While he was given a shoulder injury designation, he appears on the injury report with a neck injury. Considering how he was hit along with the change in the body part, this suggests that he is dealing with what is at least a stinger. This could be something more significant, but without further information, this may explain why he has a neck designation.
When there is a sudden compression or traction to the head, this can sharply pull on the nerves in the neck, causing a stinger-like sensation down the arm, causing pain along with numbness and tingling.
DE Harold Landry (ACL tear)
Landry tore his ACL in practice on September 2, just days after cut down day after coming off a career-best 12 sacks. Losing the best defensive end on the team certainly doesn’t help a team trying to keep a Super Bowl window open.
CB AJ Moore (Left ankle)
Moore suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1 against the New York Giants on a routine special teams play. It isn’t clear the specifics of the ankle injury; he did require assistance from Giants punter Jamie Gillan to get to the cart.
While he was seen as a special team and depth option, losing him with several of the other injuries on the roster doesn’t help the passing defense.
DE Da’Shawn Hand (Torn quad)
Hand played in two snaps last week before going down with a torn quadricep tendon, ending his season. The loss of Hand further stresses the defensive line already without Landry not even two weeks into the season.
CB Elijah Molden (Groin)
Molden went to IR last week after attempting to practice with a groin injury that he had been dealing with all off-season. This will give him an additional month to recover but forces the Titans to use practice squad players as key contributors.
LB Chance Campbell (Knee)
Campbell appeared to suffer a knee injury in practice last week, causing him to miss Thursday and Friday before going on IR, leaving the Titans with three healthy linebackers before signing four linebackers to either the active roster or practice squad including former first-round pick Takk McKinley.
BUFFALO BILLS INACTIVES
DT Ed Oliver
DT Tim Settle
OT Bobby Hart
CB Cam Lewis
WR Gabe Davis
TE Tommy Sweeney
LB Baylon Spector
DT Brandin Bryant
DT CJ Brewer
TENNESSEE TITANS INACTIVES
CB Kristian Fulton
RB Dontrelle Hilliard
DL Naquon Jones
OL Jamarco Jones
OLB Derrek Tuszka
The Buffalo Bills have a clear injury advantage over the Titans other than defensive tackle. Being without Ed Oliver and very likely Tim Settle will make stopping the run much more difficult, but not entirely impossible.
I don’t expect the Titans to roll over, especially after coming off a loss. They are well coached by Mike Vrabel and come ready to play, no matter who is healthy or not. They still managed to secure the number one seed in the AFC playoffs last year despite using 91 players due to injury and without Derrick Henry for half of the season.
Home field advantage may also be a big factor as this is the home opener on a Monday night, it will be rocking! The Rams noted they had to move to a silent count during Week 1 due to the crowd noise despite playing at home.
This will be an excellent game with the outcome not clear until the fourth quarter or a key turnover. Adding in the moderate chance for rain may reduce the incidence of injuries on a slicker field.
Top Photo Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports