Meaningful NFL football is back! The Buffalo Bills head out to New Jersey to face the New York Jets in a Week 1 tilt on Monday Night Football. Both teams head into the game with Super Bowl aspirations and a win for either team could help spark a hot start.
Fortunately, injuries are not dominating the storylines as each team heads into the game relatively healthy. In addition, injuries should be reduced with the replacement of the turf at MetLife stadium, moving away from the slit film which caused plenty of ACL tears. In its place, they installed a monofilament turf, closer to natural grass.
Monday night should be exciting as divisional foes square off in a pivotal matchup for early control of the AFC East.
Below are the injury reports for each team, projected inactives, and Banged Up Bills’ best bet.
Buffalo Bills Injury Report
S Micah Hyde (Back)
Hyde entered the week with a back injury, specifically in the lumbar region. This was confirmed with head athletic trainer Nate Breske working on Hyde’s lower back/sacrum area in the video below.
He was limited during Wednesday’s according to reports, participating in individual drills. He was officially limited during practice Thursday before returning to full on Friday and Saturday though didn’t appear to have any limitations during the media viewing portion of practice.
He later double downed stating that he would play Monday against the Jets with no hesitation in his voice. Based on the information currently available, this doesn’t appear to be anything more than generalized soreness from him being an older player.
It’s worth noting that during Wednesday’s report, Hyde was working through several other things, mainly the back. If this back injury lingers or other issues crop up, this may have been an early indicator.
G Connor McGovern (Right knee)
After the team was quiet on a timeline regarding McGovern’s right knee, he returned to practice a week after the initial injury, not looking great even with a knee brace.
He looked better the following Wednesday as seen below and does not have an injury designation heading into the game.
He did not appear on the injury report and will start Monday.
DE Von Miller (Right ACL)
There is nothing new regarding Miller’s status on PUP, but he revealed that he was cleared from his surgery two days before roster cut-down day. Unfortunately, this was not enough time to ramp up activities to Week 1.
I highlight these updates as they provide insight into the process and variables that factor into these decisions. The Bills are playing it safe and taking the decision out of Von’s hands to give the team the best shot at winning.
New York Jets Injury Report
OT Mekhi Becton (Right knee/Illness)
Becton is still working his way back from his back-to-back season-ending injuries to his right knee with the team limiting his reps. The team is being cautious to avoid any setbacks in his knee as he looks to regain his prior level of function in 2020. The hope is that his body can handle the workload for games, but manage the reps throughout the week to avoid any acute-on-chronic workload overuse injuries. His knee is functionally healthy at this point, but to play in the NFL, Becton and the team can’t throw caution to the wind.
While I do expect he would play if it was only his knee, a late-week illness may hold him out for Week 1. Depending on how severe the illness is will dictate whether he plays. Looking at the injuries as long as I have, I found that most players do end up playing through illness.
OT Duane Brown (Left shoulder)
Brown is still ramping up his football activities following his activation from PUP on August 23 for his left rotator cuff repair. It would not surprise me if he is limited for the first few weeks of the season, but his participation is more about ramping up than actual injury. It should not be surprising to see him play 100 percent of snaps and play at an acceptable level.
RB Breece Hall (Left knee)
Hall is also continuing to ramp up following his left ACL tear from last season. He is not expected to carry the full workload early on, but like Brown, his participation is more related to his workload versus actual injury.
I would not expect any highlight film, but more in between the tackle running. He has the speed to get out into the open field, but I would expect that he doesn’t try to break too many tackles or juke and spin quite yet as he gets his legs back under him.
CB Michael Carter II (Elbow)
Carter was a late addition to the injury report on Saturday with an elbow but has no designation heading into Monday’s game.
DE Carl Lawson (Back)
Lawson missed an early portion of training camp, nearly three weeks as he worked through a back injury. It was never revealed what the specific injury was, but this could be a player to watch in the event that Lawson has an early exit from Monday’s game.
DE Kingsley Jonathan
CB Kaiir Elam
DT Tim Settle
OT Germain Ifedi
RB Latavius Murray
New York Jets
TE Jeremy Ruckert
WR Xavier Gipson
RB Israel Abanikanda
WR Irvin Charles
LB Chazz Surratt
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
The Bills and Jets split last season with strong defenses dictating the action in both games. Despite elite quarterbacks under center for each team, the defense will control the action throughout the game. I expect it to be a close game with either team having a strong chance at winning. This makes my Week 1 bet for 1 unit on the Under (45.5) at BetMGM.
This is a fantastic matchup to start off Week 1, especially on Monday Night Football. Either team has the ability to win and it may come down to who makes the fewer mistakes. The winner Monday night sets themselves up for any tiebreakers later in the season for playoff seedings, but this game alone won’t determine everything just yet.
Let’s hope everyone stays healthy through the game to give each other their best.
Top Photo Credit: Ryan Kang/AP