At 5-4, the Buffalo Bills host the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football in what is essentially a must-win game for the Bills to stay firmly within the playoff race. This season has been one of disappointment in what should have been another opportunity to make a deep playoff run and dominate the AFC East.
However, losses to the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and Cincinnati Bengals, all conference opponents have put the Bills back up against the wall for the first time in a few years. The Bills should have realistically beaten the Jets after they lost Aaron Rodgers early in the game and the lowly New England Patriots. But the NFL is a week-to-week league and these are the consequences of not taking care of business. Injuries have not helped the Bills, but it can’t be used as an excuse.
Below are the injury reports for each team, projected inactives, Banged Up Bills Best Bet, and final observations.
Buffalo Bills Injury Report
CB Christian Benford (Right Hamstring)
Benford missed practice this week after tweaking his hamstring late in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss. This came after he originally suffered the injury in the Friday practice before the game. He was unable to practice all week and will miss Week 10. Considering the position that he plays, it’s highly likely that he will miss next week as well to ensure that he is healthier for the final stretch of the season.
S Micah Hyde (Left Stinger/Neck)
Hyde suffered two injuries on Sunday, the first instance was when he fell onto his upper back/lower neck area which required a brief assessment from the training staff. He was able to return and play effectively until he was the victim of a blindside block that led to him landing on his left shoulder.
He was unable to return and was observed working out his left hand in discomfort. Hyde was unable to practice all week and was ruled out once the injury report came out Saturday.
This may be more precautionary considering his age and history. He very well could still be dealing with several symptoms such as pain or limitation with head range of motion, but anything that isn’t 100 percent, caution should be taken. The stinger may have also originated from his shoulder but still had persistent pain or tingling.
If anything was structurally unsound, Hyde would have been likely shut down already. Individual stingers don’t tend to linger but a prior one can cause them to recur with new hits or aggravation and become more problematic down the line.
Based on the information we have right now, I don’t believe this is cause for long-term concern — this may be the team being proactive rather than reactive and losing him for more meaningful games.
LB Terrel Bernard (Concussion)
Bernard suffered a concussion with what appeared to be a delayed onset of symptoms when he was taken out of the game. Fortunately, with the extra day to recover due to the Monday game, Bernard was in a red non-contact jersey on Thursday, signifying being in Stage 3-4 before maintaining his participation level throughout the week.
Considering he has the extra day to get through the concussion protocol, there’s a chance that he can play. We now have seen both instances where players are limited to finish the week and play following a concussion with Zack Moss in 2021 and limited all week and ruled out as in the case with Dalton Kincaid in Week 6. Without any additional clues, it’s a guess whether he plays. Given the extra day, I’ll lean towards him playing.
S Jordan Poyer (Shin)
Despite playing in 100 percent of snaps in Sunday’s loss, Poyer was unable to practice on Thursday due to a shin injury. He returned to practice on Friday and Saturday in full and will play on Monday.
According to Jordan’s brother, the play below is when Jordan suffered his shin injury. This makes it all the more impressive that he played the entire game with the issue.
DE Leonard Floyd (Illness)
Floyd missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness but was able to practice in full Friday and Saturday.
LB Baylon Spector (Right Hamstring)
Spector continues to work back from his hamstring aggravation suffered against the New England Patriots in Week 7. He was able to get a full practice in on Friday and Saturday, making his return to the lineup.
LB AJ Klein (Back)
After tweaking his back on Wednesday last week, Klein was unable to play in Sunday’s game. He increased his practice participation throughout this week and will play Monday.
QB Josh Allen (Right Shoulder)
Allen originally suffered his right AC joint sprain against the New York Giants and has been playing through the injury since then. His accuracy at times has suffered and there have been several instances where he has landed on the shoulder directly, aggravating the area.
The injury has not stopped him from playing as most injuries have not stopped him in the past. Last time he suffered an AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder, he was on the injury report for six weeks as he recovered.
WR Stefon Diggs (Back)
Diggs was added to the injury report on Friday with a back designation, a minor concern as Diggs is a rare participant on the injury report. Due to the injury, he was limited Friday and Saturday.
There weren’t many details available until Saturday after practice when Diggs revealed that the back injury lingered from Sunday. This possibly came from the collision with the security guard on the two-point conversion late in the game.
The team was being proactive rather than reactive when managing the injury which is great to hear. Diggs has also regularly had a veteran rest day during the week so to see him need a day off or limit his reps isn’t all that concerning.
Denver Broncos Injury Report
LB Baron Browning (Wrist)
Browning has been working through a wrist injury dating back to Week 7. He appeared to pick up the wrist injury while practicing prior to his season debut coming off his meniscus repair surgery after suffering a partial tear in June.
G Ben Powers (Ankle)
Powers practiced in full all week with an ankle injury. Prior to the bye, he was not on the injury report and did not have any gameday designations in Week 8.
Buffalo Bills Projected Inactives
CB Christian Benford
S Micah Hyde
OL Germain Ifedi
OT Alec Anderson
DT Poona Ford
Call up: CB Ja’Marcus Ingram
Denver Broncos Projected Inactives
S JL Skinner
LB Thomas Incoom
C Alex Forsyth
DT Keondre Coburn
DL Elijah Garcia
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
This is the opportunity for the Bills to secure a get-right game and re-establish dominance in the AFC playoff race. Looking to capitalize and get back in the win column, I’m going big and placing 3 units on the Bills moneyline (-345) at Caesars.
Record 4-5: -2.5 units
The Bills need to find a way to win. Their back is up against the wall and if they expect to play in late January, then they need to start playing like the team that they are capable of being. It would be awful to lose Matt Milano and Daquan Jones with a chance for them to return later but to waste the opportunity. All they have to do is make the playoffs and good things can happen.
Stack wins one at a time and take it from there. I know I sound like an old coach, but that’s my background in sports and rehab. This team is too talented to sit on the sidelines during the playoffs.
Top Photo Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports