The Buffalo Bills will go into their Week 11 matchup against the New York Jets without either of their starting wide receivers. Both Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods have been ruled out by coach Doug Marrone. That leaves four active receivers on the roster — T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin, Marcus Easley and Chris Hogan. It’s hardly an ideal situation for QB E.J. Manuel, who is trying to settle back into the lineup after missing a month with a knee injury.
Graham is the old veteran of the group. The second-year player has a whooping 16 receptions for 198 yards in 25 games played. He’s the only one of the four active WRS with starting experience, having started 14 games over the past two seasons. Goodwin has only played in six games in his short career and has recorded 10 catches for 180 yards. His two TDs are the only ones that have been recorded by a Bills WR who will be active on Sunday.
Easley is in his third year, but he’s only been active for 13 games in that time with 10 of those coming this season. He recorded the first two receptions of his career for 13 yards last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hogan didn’t see action on an active game day roster until this year when he’s been active for the first 10 games. He has four catches for 34 yards for the season.
Suffice it to say, Manuel has his work cut out for him. It’s bad enough that he’ll have to go into battle with this complement of receivers to throw to, but to have to do it against a Jets’ defense that he’s already struggled against this season will make it even tougher. He was 19-of-42 for 243 yards in their Week 3 matchup, and that was with both Johnson and Woods in the lineup.
Manuel would be wise to rely heavily on his RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller not only in the running game, but the passing game as well. Expect to also see a lot of TE Scott Chandler as he has succeeded against the Jets in the past. Even with contributions from the veterans, it looks like it could be a long day for Manuel and company. These are the type of games where Rex Ryan thrives. Look for him to try and put his foot on the throat of the Bills early and often in this one.