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Buffalo Bills could soon face television blackouts

The Buffalo Bills needed to sell hope to get on TV in 2013. The injury to EJ Manuel won't help their cause.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills and every other team in the NFL have avoided television blackouts thus far during the 2013 season. The Bills were selling hope and the newness of their squad and have ridden a fast start to good ticket sales through four weeks, but EJ Manuel's injury in Week 5 could put the brakes on those sales.

Citing team president Russ Brandon, The Buffalo News says 7,500 tickets remain for the next two home games against the Cincinnati Bengals one week from today, and for the Kansas City Chiefs on November 3. More than 10,000 remain for the final divisional match-ps at the Ralph against the New York Jets November 17 and Miami Dolphins on December 22.

"It will be a challenge, but we are encouraged by the pace of ticket sales," Brandon said before the Cleveland game Thursday. "We will continue in earnest to try to sell these games out."

He may be less optimistic than he's letting on. A week before the Carolina Panthers game, the Bills had 2,500 tickets left and barely made the deadline to lift the television blackout. Now they must move three times that amount while looking for a starting quarterback. That's not a good recipe for success.

In April, we told you the game against the Chiefs was the most likely to be blacked out. Now it looks like the best chance to see a game played in Orchard Park the rest of the way. If the game against the Bengals is blacked out, it will be the first in the NFL this season.