Playing on a short week, this could be the best opportunity for the Buffalo Bills to get back on track after a disastrous performance against the Patriots on Sunday. This can be a turning point in the season despite it only being Week 8, but the team needs to secure wins where they can because it’s only going to get harder. Hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday may allow them to steer into calmer waters.
Battling through injuries once again, the Bills appear to be the better team on paper, but losing key contributors weekly hurts more and more. The depth of this team has been solid at times, but when the depth starts going down, then there are bigger underlying problems.
Below are the injury reports for both teams, projected inactives, Banged Up Bills Best Bet, and final thoughts.
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Buffalo Bills Injury Report
TE Quintin Morris (Right Ankle)
Morris will miss his second consecutive game following a right high-ankle sprain suffered against the New York Giants in Week 6. This was expected all along that he would miss this game and with the mini-bye, Morris could return to play as soon as Week 9 if rehab goes well. His practice status will be closely monitored next week as he becomes a top option in the offense in the absence of Dawson Knox for the foreseeable future.
TE Dawson Knox (Right Wrist)
Knox was already ruled out Wednesday morning prior to practice and underwent surgery earlier this week. For more details including the possible injury and return to play timeline, check out the article link below.
LB Baylon Spector (Hamstring)
After appearing in 14 special teams snaps in back-to-back weeks, Spector pulled up lame with another hamstring strain on Sunday. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury, but it likely occurred late in the game.
This is just the latest setback for Spector after he suffered a right hamstring injury late in the preseason that saw him go on injured reserve for the first five weeks of the season. His loss further stresses an already depleted linebacker corps as he attempts to rehab with the benefit of the mini-bye.
DT Ed Oliver (Toe)
Oliver missed last week’s contest after suffering a toe injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5. There wasn’t any instance of turf toe mechanism which leaves a possible muscle strain or contusion from getting stepped on some of the remaining possibilities.
He was limited all week and the idea that he missed Sunday’s contest to play on Thursday with the addition of the mini-bye. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play just because if he’s available, you may as well make sure you have your best players out there. The Bills can’t afford to let them get run on again.
QB Josh Allen (Right Shoulder)
Allen continues to practice in full with a right shoulder injury that by his accounts, is more pain management than anything. The concern was that he suffered an AC joint sprain which would affect accuracy when throwing the ball.
That appeared to be the case on Sunday when he had overthrows, underthrows, and generally inaccurate passing. Wind may have been a contributing factor, but Mac Jones seemed to do pretty well in the same conditions. I expect Allen to perform better with a few more days rest but with some difficulty still on touch throws. He is still the best chance for the Bills to win, but an injury he has to work through.
LB Terrel Bernard (Right Knee)
Bernard is a new addition to the injury report with a knee injury this week. He played in 100 percent of snaps this week and there did not appear to be any notable instances where he required medical attention.
He was on the injury report earlier this season heading into Week 3 with a knee/quad designation but he played through the issue. Also last week, I pointed out a play where it appeared he tweaked his knee which could have torn his meniscus as seen below.
If the knee becomes irritated playing on the fraying cartilage, he may need treatment during the week to get by but play through it. We saw this happen in years past with Jordan Poyer and even Kelvin Benjamin in 2017. It would not concern me if he continues to manage the complaints throughout the season. The hope is that it does not affect his play.
OT Spencer Brown (Right Knee)
Brown continues to work through his right knee injury suffered against the New York Giants when he got knocked down in the end zone scuffle. He returned with a hinged brace on the area and also played in Week 7. This continues to be a maintenance thing that should continue to improve, especially with the mini-bye.
CB Kaiir Elam (Ankle)
Elam tweaked his ankle injury originally sustained in training camp. Few details are known as to the exact specifics, but considering he practices in full but needs continued treatment indicates that this may be more of a pain issue, and staying on top of the issue to ensure it does not worsen.
DE Von Miller (Right Knee)
Miller appeared on the injury report this week with a knee designation after only playing six snaps on Sunday.
The video above shows where Miller hit his knee and gingerly walked around before playing two more snaps. The team downplayed his injury and limited him during the week until Wednesday. It’s possible he was dealing with some soreness as he continued to ramp back up or the knee continued to bother him into halftime and they shut him down.
Progress is not linear and if he suffered any type of even minor setback, they were right to curtail his snaps. He’s needed in the back half of the season when he’s fully healthy, not necessarily now. I didn’t even plan on him being back until now at the earliest so while I felt the team made the right call allowing him to return earlier, he is still working through getting back into football shape.
DT Jordan Phillips (Back)
Phillips briefly required medical attention from training staff late in the game when he collided with Micah Hyde on Sunday. He was able to stay in the game but spent this week on the injury report with a back designation. This may be more generalized soreness and maintenance on a short week, but hopefully, he can pick up the slack in the event that Ed Oliver doesn’t go or is limited.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Injury Report
S Kaevon Merriweather (Ankle)
Merriweather suffered an ankle injury sometime in the first half and was initially questionable to return. It’s not clear if he did return but he played exclusively on special teams on Sunday as he has all season. Considering that he did not practice all week, it appears the short week was too much to overcome to play in Week 8.
G Matt Feiler (Knee)
Feller was a new addition to the injury report this week with a knee injury suffered on Sunday. Not much can be found as to the specifics of the injury, but not practicing on a short week didn’t bode well for his availability on Thursday. Aaron Stinnie will get the start in his place.
WR Chris Godwin (Neck)
Godwin appeared on the injury report this week with a neck designation despite playing in 70 percent of snaps on Sunday securing six receptions for 66 yards. This may be more of a soreness issue as he did not leave the game or has a gameday designation heading into the game. He is expected to play on Thursday.
QB Baker Mayfield (Knee)
Mayfield reported that his knee is a pain tolerance issue which suggests a contusion suffered in Sunday’s contest. He went on further to state that this was an injury that he sustained playing against the Saints in Week 4 that he re-aggravated. He appeared on track to play all week with a slow ramp-up in his activity. Despite being questionable, he is expected to play.
DT Vita Vea (Groin)
Vea has been hampered by injuries all season with his groin injury being the latest injury he’s working through. Last week, he was on the injury report for a foot injury, in Week 4, it was a pectoral injury originally suffered in Week 2. Despite the questionable designations, he has suited up every week but has not been 100 percent. With Vea battling through so many injuries, this could be an opportunity to get the Bills run game going. He appears to be the only true questionable player for the Bucs heading into this game after not practicing all week.
RB Chase Edmonds (Knee)
Edmonds suffered a knee injury in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve afterward to rehab. According to reports, he suffered an MCL sprain and needed extra time to fully recover. He was designated to return to play this week and activated Wednesday.
Buffalo Bills Projected Inactives
OT Alec Anderson
OL Germain Ifedi
S Damar Hamlin
LB Baylon Spector
TE Quintin Morris
TE Dawson Knox*
*Projected to IR. Callups: TE Joel Wilson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Projected Inactives
DL Vita Vea
CB Derrek Pitts
T Brandon Walton
OL Markees Watts
TE David Wells
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
What’s the opposite of a heater? Because whatever it is, I’m on it. Four straight bet slips lost and in the red doesn’t bode well for bets. I’m looking to get back in the win column just like the Buffalo Bills. Staying away from the spreads and break the losing streak, I’m taking 1 unit on the Buffalo Bills moneyline (-430) at Caesars.
Record: 3-4, -1.73 units
Get the win and take advantage of an extra few days rest. That’s all they need to do. The more they play down to their opponents level or fail to secure the wins they need to, the closer they are to missing the playoffs. They need to get healthy for the next few weeks in order to have a shot at getting a solid playoff seed and hosting at least one playoff game.
Top Photo Credit: Associated Press