The Buffalo Bills will open the 2019 NFL season in New Jersey, playing back-to-back games against the New York Jets and the New York Giants.
Besides playing both of their games in MetLife Stadium, the Bills’ first two opponents share something else in common: they are dealing with a rash of injuries and suspensions that could play to Buffalo’s advantage when the season begins.
The Jets are hobbled at the cornerback position, as starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson is week-to-week with a hamstring injury, while fellow cornerback Kyron Brown is also nursing a hamstring injury.
Johnson, the Jets’ top cornerback, possesses the most experience of the group. He underwent an MRI on his ailing hamstring, and his status for Week 1 is in jeopardy.
“I don’t think it will be months, but, I mean, we’ll see,” Jets coach Adam Gase said when asked about the status of Johnson.
Brown, an undrafted rookie free agent, was climbing the cornerback depth chart before favoring his left leg during a practice this week.
The injuries left the Jets with Darryl Roberts, who has played mostly as a backup during a relatively unproductive four-year career in the NFL, and veteran Brian Poole atop the cornerback depth chart.
Meanwhile, the Giants—Buffalo’s Week 2 opponent—are severely depleted at the wide receiver position. Odell Beckham Jr. departed for the Cleveland Browns via trade this offseason, but veteran Golden Tate was brought in as a high-priced (four-year, $37.5 million dollar contract with $23 million guaranteed).
Tate is going to miss the first four games of the season after violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Sterling Shepard, one of the capable veterans the Giants were banking on to replace the productivity of Beckham Jr., is sidelined with a fractured thumb suffered during the very first practice of training camp.
The injuries have continued to mount for the Giants, with former Bill Corey Coleman out for the year with a torn ACL, which he also suffered on the first practice of training camp. Rookie speedster Darius Slayton and undrafted rookie free agent Alex Wesley have battled leg injuries that cost them practice time this preseason, while former Syracuse University standout Amba Etta-Tawo also was lost for the year with a torn Achilles.