The Buffalo Bills haven’t had their full complement on offense since their Week 1 opener vs. the New England Patriots. Rookie WR Marquise Goodwin was injured in the first game and missed a month. E.J. Manuel was hurt in Week 5 and missed a month of his own. Along the way Stevie Johnson, C.J. Spiller and Robert Woods have all missed time with various injuries. All of these players will be on the field together for the 1st time since the Bills opened the season.
Manuel had a strong game two weeks ago against the New York Jets without Woods and Johnson. I’d expect the Bills to try and open up the playbook in what they hope is a new-found confidence in throwing the deep ball from Manuel. They’ll continue to use Goodwin and fellow speedster T.J. Graham. Johnson, Woods and Scott Chandler will also make an impact. Coming off of Manuel’s performance two weeks ago, he may be settling in as the Bills QB. The more weapons that he has at his disposal the better.
At running back, Spiller has pushed through his high ankle sprain but he’s been far from 100 percent. His ability to cut has been severely diminished and he’s had issues running the ball multiple times in a row which has failed to get him settled into games. The two weeks off may do Spiller’s ankle some real good. At 31 years old, Fred Jackson could always use some extra rest. A late bye might be the best thing for him.
Having a late bye was very advantageous to the Bills this season. Playoffs or no playoffs, they should be playing the rest of the year at full strength to try and build some momentum going into the second year of the Doug Marrone/Manuel era. We’ll see if they’re ready for some late season success this Sunday with a healthy Bills teams back in action.