When the Buffalo Bills return to action after their bye, they will be hosting the Green Bay Packers for a Sunday Night Football primetime game—and while the home team looks like they’re finally getting healthy, their opponents got some tough news on Sunday.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter of the Week 6 game between the Packers and the New York Jets. According to ESPN’s Robb Demowsky, several players rolled into both of Cobb’s legs, and it was unclear which of the receiver’s ankles was actually injured.
While the injury could have been worse—Cobb could have broken an ankle and been out for the remainder of the season—Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said that the wide receiver will be out for several weeks.
“It’s not going to be like a one-week deal or anything like that; I think he’s going to miss some time,” LaFleur said Monday. “But he definitely avoided a serious injury.”
More than one week would mean that Cobb won’t be available for Week 8 when the Packers travel to Orchard Park to meet the 5-1 Bills, who will be coming off a much-needed bye week.
The Packers, who are currently 3-3 but have one more game to play before they travel to Buffalo, have had their struggles on offense the last two weeks, suffering a 27-22 loss to the New York Giants in London followed by the 27-10 loss to the Jets this past weekend.
“I just think that based on how we’ve played the last two weeks, I think it’s going to be in our best interests to simplify things for everybody—for the line, for the backs, for the receivers, especially with Cobby’s injury,” Aaron Rodgers said after Sunday’s loss, which marked the first time the Packers have suffered back-to-back losses since LaFleur took over the helm in 2019. “Just simplify some things, and maybe that’ll help us get back on track.”
Before Cobb left Sunday’s game, he had only one reception for eight yards, but the week before he had been the team’s leading receiver. In London, Cobb had seven catches for 99 yards, including a 35-yard reception.
Cobb isn’t the only Green Bay receiver to be struggling physically, which could have something to do with the Packers’ offensive struggles and Rodgers’s comment about needing to keep things simple.
The Packers were also missing rookie receiver Christian Watson (7 catches for 52 yards this season), who has a hamstring injury, on Sunday. Green Bay has kept Watson on their 53-man roster rather than placing him on IR, which would indicate they think he could be back in fewer than four weeks.
However, former Bill Sammy Watkins has spent the past four weeks on the injured reserve list after he suffered a hamstring injury in the Packers’ Week 2 win over the Chicago Bears. Watkins had three catches for 18 yards in Week 1 and another three receptions for 93 yards in Week 2 before he was injured.
With Watkins having been on the IR for four weeks already, he is eligible to return, but LaFleur said that they will need to evaluate his status in practice before they decide if he is ready for the Packers’ Week 7 game against the Washington Commanders.
“We’ll see how he’s feeling on Wednesday, and we’re hopeful that maybe he can [practice] and we can open that window,” LaFleur said, indicating that the timeline for Watkins’ return has not been set.
It will be interesting to watch what Green Bay does with their receiver room this week and how they play against the Commanders while the Bills are resting their defensive backs this week.
It will be even more interesting to see if Watkins takes the field against his former team, and if he does, if he’ll end up being the first receiver that cornerback Tre’Davious White covers in his return from last year’s season-ending ACL tear.
Whoever is catching passes from Rodgers in Week 8—and we can be pretty confident that group will not include Cobb—will be facing the healthiest defense the Bills have fielded since Week 2.