As the Buffalo Bills prepare to head back to Ford Field to face off against the host Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media—informing who would and wouldn’t be available tomorrow.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and defensive end Greg Rousseau will definitely not be in uniform tomorrow. Neither of these announcements were unexpected. Edmunds has been dealing with a groin injury for two weeks, and wasn’t active last week when the team played the Cleveland Browns in Detroit, MI. Similarly, Rousseau is only in his third week of rehabbing an ankle injury—and with it being a short third week, is likely to need at least one more week to improve enough to once again be a part of Buffalo’s pass rush.
Defensive end A.J. Epenesa is doubtful to play tomorrow, as well, as he hasn’t practiced all week with an ankle injury he sustained in the game the Bills just played on Ford Field three days ago.
While Buffalo’s offensive line is undoubtedly at its best when center Mitch Morse plays, McDermott said that as of now, he is questionable for tomorrow’s game. It’s important to note that Ryan Bates was seen working at the center position in yesterday’s practice.
Ryan Bates said on Tuesday that he’ll be at center if Mitch Morse can’t play vs. Lions. He added that he has no doubt he’ll be back on game day if he’s able.
Morse’s injury happened on first play vs Browns.
Bates: “Mitch is a tough mother fu****.” #BillsMafia
— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) November 23, 2022
Should the Bills make that move, will it be David Quessenberry, who also has an ankle injury, or a combination of Bobby Hart, Greg Van Roten, and Justin Murray that might fill in for Bates at right guard? When Morse was out in Week 3, Hart was serving a one-game suspension for an altercation with a member of the Tennessee Titans’ organization at the end of Week 2. That changed the dynamics of who the Bills could play where, and Van Roten at center didn’t work out well.
No one else on the short week’s injury list has a game-time designation. That includes quarterback Josh Allen and safety Jordan Poyer, expectedly, but also rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury. It looks like Elam might do the quick return and be back in the game this week.
As for the Bills’ other cornerback—and the name that is on the top of everyone’s list of questions—Tre’Davious White has no game-time designation as of yet, and McDermott said that they are continuing to take his situation “one day at a time.” Which means, functionally, that White will be a game-time decision. We will all have to wait until tomorrow morning to see if White is returning exactly one year from the game in which he tore the ACL in his left knee against the New Orleans Saints, or if it will be 52 weeks-plus before we see him back in a Bills uniform.
On the home side of Ford Field tomorrow, things look grim for the Lions, who have declared five players out, four of whom are starters.
On the offensive line, guards Evan Brown (ankle) and Jonah Jackson (concussion) will not play. Detroit got a break when center Frank Ragnow (foot) was able to move through the week and end up as a full participant in today’s practice. It looks as if Ragnow will start tomorrow as Detroit didn’t assign him any designation at the end of practice—a good thing for the Lions as their backup center is usually Evan Brown.
Detroit’s defense will be missing both cornerback Jeff Okudah (concussion) and defensive end Joshua Paschal (knee). Additionally, defensive end Charles Harris (groin) won’t be available tomorrow, and while he’s not first on the Lions’ depth chart he does have seven tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble to his credit this season.
The Lions have also listed wide receiver Josh Reynolds (back) as questionable for the game. Reynolds has struggled to be on the field this season, only putting up 357 yards and two touchdowns on 26 catches.
While Detroit enters the game on a three-game win streak and the Bills have dropped two of the last three, It won’t be an easy feat for the Lions to extend that streak if they can’t get pressure on Josh Allen while also keeping Stefon Diggs from running any route he choses. And it will be even harder if they can’t stop a Bills pass rush led by edge rusher Von Miller and defensive tackle Ed Oliver that has put up 23 sacks so far this season.