The Buffalo Bills’ trip across the pond did not go as planned, as they fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a narrow defeat. It was not the only loss they faced, because the starting defense took a massive blow to their front 6. OLB Matt Milano and DT DaQuan Jones both suffered unfortunate injuries that will sideline them indefinitely. There is no set timeline, and Head Coach Sean McDermott is holding out hope that they may return towards the end of the season. In his press conference, McDermott echoed the words that many Bills’ fans were hoping he would say:
“All I know is they’re going to be put on IR. They’re going through or have gone through surgery already. But that’s really where I’m at right now.”
“Yes, I don’t think that that door’s been shut totally. But again, more information is needed to really say that.”Sean McDermott on Milano and Jones’ going on IR (Buffalo Bills/Twitter)
Until then, the Buffalo Bills will have to turn to other players to step up in their absence. Thankfully, OLB Dorian Williams and DT Poona Ford are available to take their places. It’s up to McDermott to scheme the defense in a way that mitigates the losses of the two defensive anchors.
Despite the disappointing loss, the Bills will look to bounce back on Sunday Night Football as they take on the New York Giants at home. That’s right — Brian Daboll is coming back to our house. Josh Allen’s mentor, and one of his closest friends, will attempt to game plan against him. Highmark Stadium will be a tough environment for his team to play in, one that Daboll knows all too well. Both teams are desperate for a win, too. I will actually be at the game, so here are some matchups that I will be looking out for as I sit in the 300s!
Matchups to Watch Out For
Buffalo Bills Defense vs. New York Giants Offense
This matchup may sound generic, but the entire defensive philosophy has changed in the span of two weeks. The “next man up” mentality is as old as time. However, a backup is never simply a plug-and-play away from filling the giant hole left from the loss of a star player. That is the case with three defensive players on the Buffalo Bills. CB Tre’Davious White, OLB Matt Milano, and DT DaQuan Jones have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future. So CB Dane Jackson, OLB Dorian Williams, and DT Poona Ford to step up. The latter two will be my players to watch within the overall defense.
CB Christian Benford did not play against the Jaguars, but it is looking like he’ll suit up against the Giants. He was a full participant in the final day of practice, so he will surely boost up the cornerback room. However, Dane Jackson is questionable for Sunday after sustaining a foot injury in Week 5. After two straight “Did Not Practice” designations, he was limited on the final day of practice. The Thigh Doctor pointed out that Dane was wearing sneakers while stretching, in a video taken by Alaina Getzenberg. Believe it or not, the shoes that injured players wear during practice is an effective indicator of to their game-day status. It is very likely that Dane Jackson will not play in Week 6.
Stepping into the starting spot opposite Benford would be CB Kaiir Elam. Many Bills fans may won’t like this move. However, I am hesitant to give up on Elam. He did not play very well against the Jaguars, but we have to keep in mind that it was his first game action since preseason. It’s hard to believe that any player could succeed being thrown to the wolves after inactivity for weeks. It is also plausible that he was affected by the jet lag of flying to London. There is no harm in giving him another chance, especially against an opponent such as the Giants. Besides, the Bills don’t have much of a choice.
Fortunately, DEs Greg Rousseau and Shaq Lawson will return to the lineup this week.
Bills Tight End Room in Question
TEs Dawson Knox and Dalton Kincaid listed as questionable for Week 6. You have to wonder what the Bills offense will look like if one or both of them cannot suit up. 12-personnel has been popular for them this season, so without Knox and/or Kincaid there will be a significant shakeup in their new offensive philosophy. It is very possible that the Bills will have to rely on TE Quintin Morris more on Sunday.
Prediction: The Bills Defensive Line Will Have 10+ sacks
If you are a New York Giants fan, please do not look. It would be for your own good. In case you are wondering, the NFL record for the most sacks by one team in a game is 14, when the 1952 Eagles went up against — you guessed it — the Giants. There is a real possibility that the Bills defensive line will break that record, and I mean it. The Giants offensive line has given up 30 sacks in five games in 2023. Meanwhile, the Bills defense leads the league with 21 sacks! Not to mention, the New York Giants have ruled out starting LT Andrew Thomas and C John Michael Schmitz, and RT Evan Neal is questionable. It’s sad because there are so many Giants injuries to track I hadn’t even thought to mention that RB Saquon Barkley is questionable as well. Watch out for that one, too.
The Bills are ramping up star DE Von Miller, and have an array of defensive linemen to throw at the Giants. DE AJ Epenesa has been playing out of his mind, so it will be refreshing to see the waves of pass-rushers that the Bills will have in their arsenal once again this week.
The Buffalo Bills are no stranger to season ending injuries. After all, they lost S Micah Hyde and DE Von Miller in 2022, and CB Tre’Davious White in 2021. However, the impact Matt Milano, DaQuan Jones, and Tre White had on this defense this season cannot be overstated. It will take more than a few plug-and-play guys to replace the skill-set they provide to the Bills. However, not all hope is lost.
There is a reason that the Bills invested their cap space into finding depth players for the team. Thankfully, they had drafted linebackers in back-to-back years, and they have cornerback depth on their roster that we never thought they would use. The offense will certainly have to pick up the slack as they find their footing. For the next several weeks the defense will have time to figure things out due to their relatively soft schedule. That all starts as they take on the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football! (Cue the Carrie Underwood theme song!)
Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Jenna’s Outlook, as I will be previewing the Buffalo Bills’ away matchup against the New England Patriots!
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