One week from tonight, the 5-4 Buffalo Bills will try to pull off an upset road win over the 9-0 New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Both teams head into that contest sporting key injuries, though the Patriots have some bigger concerns on that front.
The biggest news, of course, is that New England's top wide receiver, Julian Edelman, left yesterday's win in New Jersey with what is being reported as a broken foot. Not only will he miss the Bills game, but he may miss the rest of the season - though it's possible that he'll return in time for the playoffs.
New England is already dealing with the loss of shifty running back Dion Lewis, who was placed on Injured Reserve last week after tearing his ACL in Week 9. In the Patriots' 40-32, Week 2 win over the Bills in Orchard Park, Edelman and Lewis combined for 247 yards of offense and three touchdowns on 25 total touches; needless to say, they were instrumental to the Patriots' success that day.
LeGarrette Blount - who has had some huge days against Buffalo with the Patriots - now sees the bulk of the work in the Patriots' backfield, and Danny Amendola will fill Edelman's role in the offense. Amendola had a clutch 29-yard reception in Week 2 against Buffalo, and calmly contributed 10 receptions for 79 yards after Edelman left yesterday's game. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are still healthy, too. Losing Lewis and Edelman in consecutive weeks is certainly a blow, but it's safe to say that the Patriots will find a way to persevere.
New England is also dealing with a slew of injuries to their offensive line. Three linemen were ruled out due to injury in Week 10, including both starting tackles, Sebastian Vollmer (concussion) and Marcus Cannon (toe). The Patriots started second-year pro Cameron Fleming at left tackle yesterday, and kicked center Bryan Stork out to right tackle, with undrafted rookie David Andrews filling in for Stork in the pivot. Brady was sacked three times on Sunday, fumbling twice and losing one in the process, so the Pats are naturally hoping that one or both of their tackles will return sooner rather than later.
Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams has not played since Week 6 against Cincinnati, and last week head coach Rex Ryan told reporters that the veteran defender was unlikely to play against New England. If he does not end up healthy enough to play this week, Corbin Bryant will once again see extended playing time.
Buffalo will also keep a close eye on Mario Williams, who played only eight snaps in Thursday's win in New Jersey. That was due to illness, so Williams is expected to be fine, but it's something to monitor early this week. The Patriots have a similar situation with star linebacker Jamie Collins, who missed their win in New Jersey on Sunday due to illness, as well.
Due to the game taking place on Monday, both the Bills' and the Patriots' injury and practice-level designations will be delayed by a day this week. We should therefore know more about all of these injury situations on Thursday.