The Buffalo Bills head out to New Jersey to face the New York Jets in an AFC East showdown that could shake up the divisional race. While the Bills are 6-1 and on top of the conference, the Jets are not far behind at 5-3, sitting in fifth.
A loss by the Bills could allow many of the other AFC teams to jockey for the top seed in the playoffs and give the Jets a key divisional win. However, a win by the Bills only separates them from the rest of the field while a loss by the Jets would drop them to 5-4 and on a two-game losing streak.
The Bills have several key contributors either ruled out or are dealing with injury whereas the Jets are relatively healthy, but have lost major contributors to season-ending injuries already this season. Divisional games are always more difficult than the records show and no matter the season.
Below are the full injury breakdowns for each team heading into Week 9.
BUFFALO BILLS INJURY REPORT
S Jordan Poyer (Left Elbow)
There has been a ton of concern regarding the health of Jordan Poyer after his latest injury on Sunday. By video, it looks to be a medial elbow sprain, specifically the UCL. This ligament is more commonly injured in baseball players and overhead-throwing athletes. So while the letters UCL does strike fear into someone, Poyer does not have to throw, minimizing the impact of the injury.
It’s interesting that the team says that he’s day-to-day but national reporters such as Ian Rapoport indicate that he’s week-to-week. Brandon Beane did state that Poyer is day-to-day, but used the words “or something like that” in his wording suggesting that there may be some credence to what Rapoport indicated.
While Poyer did injure the same elbow as before in training camp, this was a different mechanism of injury. This suggests similar structures such as the UCL could have been damaged, but additionally, other structures are not yet known.
Poyer did not practice all week and was ruled out Friday morning due to the acuity of the injury. The best-case scenario is that he misses one game but do not be shocked if there is more to this injury.
OT Spencer Brown (Right ankle)
Brown continues to work back from a right low ankle sprain originally suffered in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He had the benefit of the bye to get right but still missed last week after not practicing.
He was limited all week and simply did not look good on film. He’s not fully healthy yet and getting him back out there won’t do him any good. He may be best served in a reserve role and let David Quessenberry get another start.
LB Matt Milano (Oblique)
Milano was deemed day-to-day dealing with an oblique injury suffered against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. This injury is present despite playing in 100 percent of snaps.
The obliques help with trunk flexion and rotation, key movements at the linebacker position. There isn’t a ton of great research on time missed, but looking back at how the Bills have handled the injury is telling. In 2018, G John Miller missed one game with an oblique injury, in 2020, Stefon Diggs did not miss any games with an oblique injury during the playoffs but let’s face it, it was the playoffs.
While the Jets are not the pushovers they once were, this is a game that Milano can sit out knowing there is strong depth behind him. The team can certainly give him a week off to prepare for the Minnesota Vikings next week.
LB Tremaine Edmunds (Heel)
Edmunds appeared in 100 percent of snaps on Sunday, making determining what his heel issue is difficult. My initial idea is that it’s bruised from it getting stepped on or hit when tackling. He could also be dealing with an Achilles issue as the heel is where the tendon inserts into.
He was limited on Wednesday and Thursday before a full practice on Friday, suggesting that this may be a pain issue. Edmunds does not have a game designation and will look to play on Sunday.
RB Taiwan Jones (Right knee)
Jones continues to be working through what appears to be chronic knee issues, most notably on his right knee. He is limited during the week and at times not practicing, but with his role on special teams and veteran status, he doesn’t need a lot of practice time to get ready. He will play and continue to perform on special teams.
CB Cam Lewis (Right forearm)
Lewis has been working through chronic bone infection dating to his time in college, practicing in full. How this is affecting his ability to play or his concerns isn’t clear at this moment.
C Mitch Morse (Right elbow)
Morse continues to be on the injury report with a right elbow injury originally sustained in the Week 2 matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Originally, I believed him to have a contusion for which he missed Week 3 against the Dolphins.
However, this injury has been lingering on the report over the past six weeks suggesting that this is a chronic issue. He has been able to snap the ball without error, but I’m sure there is still pain in the elbow. Considering the elbow was forced into the valgus, it’s possible he suffered some type of damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, resulting in a sprain. There could also be bone chips in there due to all the repeated hits to the area. Keeping the elbows in extension and blocking every play could lead to triceps issues.
Morse has been available and playing well suggesting that the issue is managed, but this injury is more than what it initially appeared to be in Week 2.
DE Von Miller (Right ankle)
Miller was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday with an ankle designation. This comes after missing Wednesday’s practice with a vet rest day. Below are the details on when the injury likely happened.
He doesn’t have a gameday designation which means he will suit up but I could see him staying exclusively rushing from the right side to minimize pushing off the right ankle and bending the edge.
CB Tre’Davious White (Left ACL)
White was finally activated to the 53-man roster Tuesday following several roster moves as he returned to practice with the starting defense.
In past weeks, Sean McDermott would rule out White early in the week whereas this week he did not. He is not on the injury report as he is not officially dealing with an injury. However, I don’t believe he will play Sunday.
I would expect him to get one more week in the starting defense in practice and hit before we see game action. He also is going to an away stadium on a field known to have had an influx of lower extremity injuries over the past several years. The team will also want to control for any variables and are less able to do that at an away stadium.
Making your return to the home crowd would be so much sweeter anyway in my opinion. While the Jets are a divisional opponent, I believe the team can get by one more week without him and then work him in slowly.
S Dean Marlowe
RB Nyheim Hines
NEW YORK JETS INJURY REPORT
WR Corey Davis (MCL Sprain)
Davis missed last week’s game against the New England Patriots after suffering an injury in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network stated specifically that Davis was dealing with an MCL sprain. It’s not clear which knee it is, but he will have difficulty in pushing off that affected side with cutting and landing after jumping in his routes.
Most MCL sprains are able to be played through after some rest and rehab, but coming back before there is medial stability may welcome additional injury to the area which could cost him more time. He was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday, indicating that he would not play Sunday.
The loss of Davis against the Bills isn’t ideal, but with a team that has raced out to a fast start as they’ve dealt with several major injuries, they can’t afford to lose key contributors as they fight for playoff positioning.
RB James Robinson (Knee)
Robinson was placed on the injury report Saturday with a knee designation, making him questionable for the game. At the time, details of the injury are not known.
TE CJ Uzomah (Shoulder)
Uzomah is working through a shoulder injury sustained at some point in the loss to the Patriots on Sunday. He caught only one pass and has had only two over the last two weeks, not making him a primary target in the offense.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Uzomah is expected to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
OT Duane Brown (Left shoulder)
Brown continues to work through his left rotator cuff tear in his shoulder shortly after he signed with the team. He has not missed a snap since returning in Week 4 and while he is not fully healthy, he has proven to be an anchor on the line, preventing him from being an easy target for defensive ends despite the shoulder.
G Nate Herbig (Hand)
Herbig is working through a hand injury picked up in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. It’s not clear what he is dealing with, but if he has any difficulty in keeping his block inside losing the ability to keep his hands on the pads may make him a liability on the interior offensive line.
He is expected to play per reports but could be a target for the Bills’ defensive line.
LB Larmarcus Joyner (Hip)
Joyner is dealing with a hip injury that there really isn’t any information on. He is expected to play according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini as he was limited in practice all week.
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
Season: 2-1 +1.00 unit
This should be a straightforward bet. The Bills are favored by 11.5 points (BetMGM) against a Jets team that started off hot but has since cooled due to injuries and ineffective play.
The Bills are 2-1 in one-score games this season and while the line is two scores, I don’t believe the Jets have the firepower to keep up with the Bills offensively and can still get in turnover trouble. I’m taking one unit on the Bills to cover the 11.5 spread.
BUFFALO BILLS PROJECTED INACTIVES
OT Spencer Brown
S Jordan Poyer
LB Matt Milano
TE Tommy Sweeney
CB Tre’Davious White
NEW YORK JETS PROJECTED INACTIVES
WR Corey Davis
QB Joe Flacco
CB Bryce Hall
RB Zonovan Knight
S Tony Adams
The Bills are the more talented team on paper and have the success that many envy over the past several years. The Jets are building towards something but aren’t quite there yet due to inexperience and injuries.
Buffalo has overcome several major injuries due to their depth and only has had big losses in the secondary, mostly at the safety position. The Jets have had trouble keeping the offensive line healthy and several key offensive contributors. I have been impressed by how the Jets have strung together several wins this year and remain competitive. However, they are meeting the buzzsaw that is the Bills and this may be a reality check of sorts.
If the Jets could come in with full health across the board, this game could be a lot closer. Considering that this is a divisional game, this will be no walk in the park. As always, hoping for no injuries for either team.
Top Photo Credit: Adrian Kraus/AP