William Shatner once said, “fate gives you the finger and you accept”. This upcoming matchup is quintessentially for the AFC East, and the irony is copious. Circling the wagons this week was the Coronavirus, as its timing to strike Beasley was satirical. If that didn’t put your tongue-in-cheek, COVID issues also may lead to Bobby Hart protecting Josh Allen’s blindside. Throw in the Buffalo Bills’ history with the Patriots, the previous matchup, and (for fuck-sake) Christmas, this ending will likely be extraordinary.
For the Patriots, they are having some health issues of their own. Though they likely won’t be missing any game changers, there is a lengthy list of ailments to note. RB Rhamondre Stevenson (illness), and WR Nelson Agholor (concussion) are expected to miss the game. The Patriots have listed several players as ‘Questionable’, but most will likely suit up.
BUFFALO BILLS COVID LIST
- LT Dion Dawkins placed on 12/17/21
- G Jon Feliciano placed on 12/20/21
- WR Cole Beasley placed on 12/21/21
- TE Quintin Morris (Practice Squad) placed on 12/22/21
- WR Gabriel Davis placed on 12/24/21
- G Cody Ford placed on 12/24/21
DT Star Lotulelei
The past two years for Star have been complicated. He opted out in 2020, but came back to the Buffalo Bills in 2021 unvaxxed. Then, Star was placed on the COVID list prior to the Week 10 matchup with the Jets and missed three straight games. He was able to return for the Patriots game for his usual 53% snap share, but then missed the following week with a ‘toe’ injury. He bounced back for Buffalo, returning for the Panthers game for 29% of the snaps. This week is odd though, as Star has missed the whole practice week for ‘personal’ reasons.
It should be fair to speculate that there might be something serious going on with Star. It may be family and/or medical, but it is important to note that the NFL opened a new opt-out clause again. High-risk players have an opportunity to opt-out of the remainder of the season by 12/27. You got to wonder if that is playing a factor here.
QB Josh Allen
Allen suffered a ‘foot’ sprain against the Buccaneers, but was able to return for the Panthers game. The injury diagnosis can be explained extensively here. Josh was able to practice in full this entire week, so look for The General’s full arsenal this Sunday.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
Sanders left the Buccaneers game just before the end of the first half. He appeared to sprain his knee on Josh Allen’s lone INT of the game. Last week, McDermott described him as week-to-week for a ‘knee’ injury, so we are likely looking at a mild sprain or an aggravation of his meniscus. He has a lengthy injury history that can be found here.
He practiced in full on Thursday, and will be active for the Bills.
DE Jerry Hughes
Jerry was listed last week with a ‘foot’ injury and played. This week, he is listed with a ‘neck’ injury and will play again. He was able to get his standard 53% snap count last week for Buffalo, so he is likely dealing with something very minor.
S Micah Hyde
Micah played in full last week, but was listed with a ‘back’ ailment this week. He is also likely dealing with something very minor, but needed some time this week to recover.
RB Taiwan Jones
Jones tweaked his ‘knee’ in the Buccaneers game, but was able to return for the past game. It is unknown the ailment, but likely in the mild sprain/contusion category. He has been limited in practice the past two weeks, but will suit up for this Sunday. It is important to note, he normally plays around 80% of the Bills ST snaps, but only averaged around 65% the last two weeks.
CB Siran Neal
Siran was a late addition to the injury report on Friday, with an ‘ankle’ injury. However, he was still a full participant and will be active. The injury is unknown at this time.
CB Cam Lewis
Cam missed Wednesday’s practice with an ‘illness’. This was a false alarm, as he returned on Friday and will be playing for the Bills.