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MORSE: Week 18 Patriots Preview – Looking at the Bills Depth Chart

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
January 7, 2023 at 6:00 am ET

MORSE: Week 18 Patriots Preview – Looking at the Bills Depth Chart(PHOTO: JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE / USA TODAY NETWORK)

🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

Here is an abbreviated Bills preview.  This is a must-win for the Patriots if they want their season to continue with a playoff game.  Nobody knows how the Bills are going to come out and play after the near-death experience with Damar Hamlin.  I expect that the Bills will be giving it their all with the #2 seed in play and two playoff home games, but for Damar Hamlin as well.

OFFENSE

3 WR 1 TE

STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
QB Josh Allen Case Keenum
RB Devin Singletary James Cook Nyheim Hines Taiwan Jones
WR Stefon Diggs Khalil Shakir
WR Gabe Davis Jake Kumerow IR
WR Isaiah McKenzie Jamison Crowder IR    
TE Dawson Knox Quintin Morris Tommy Sweeney
FB Reggie Gilliam      
LT Dion Dawkins Tommy Doyle IR
LG Rodger Saffold Ike Boettger Bobby Hart
C Mitch Morse Ryan Bates Greg Van Roten
RG Ryan Bates Greg Van Roten Ike Boettger Justin Murray
RT Spencer Brown David Quessenberry  

Josh Allen is the real deal.  He can do it all.  He can take your QB pressure and turn it into a big gain with his legs.  He has a strong and accurate arm.  The weather in Buffalo will not make a difference to him.  They have great receivers in Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.  Diggs has 130 yards receiving on 101 catches. The diminutive Isaiah McKenzie is a little water bug that can make you look silly with his multiple moves.  The running backs are good.  Devin Singletary is on pace to equal last season’s output despite missing one game.  They traded longtime 3rd down back Zach Moss to Indianapolis for Nyheim Hines.  I think Buffalo won out on that deal.

At TE they have the dependable Dawson Knox and former BC ace Tommy Sweeney.  The Offensive line is very consistent with Dion Dawkins at LT, Roger Saffold at LG, Mitch Morse at C, Ryan Bates at RG, and Spencer Brown at RT.

DEFENSE

3-4 Base

LDE Greg Rousseau Boogie Basham
LDT Ed Oliver Jordan Phillips
RDT DaQuan Jones Tim Settle
RDE Shaq Lawson AJ Epenesa O Von Miller IR  
WLB Terrel Bernard Tyler Matakevich Baylon Spector
MLB Tremaine Edmunds A.J. Klein    
SLB Matt Milano Tyrel Dodson
LCB Tre’Davious White Taron Johnson Christian Benford Siran Neal
SS Jordan Poyer Cam Lewis Dean Marlowe  
FS Jaquan Johnson Jared Mayden Damar Hamlin IR Micah Hyde IR
RCB Dane Jackson Kaiir Elam  

Buffalo has a few injuries on Defense but they are still a formidable group.  Epenesa, Hamlin, and Hyde are out and several other players are not 100%.  I think their Injury Report is a joke and the league should look into this.  How does somebody like Taron Johnson come back from a concussion so fast?

The Bills D line is a stone wall.  Anchored by Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips, add in DaQuan Jones and Shaq Lawson to finish out the line.  Add Tim Settle’s contribution as a backup and they are a good and deep group.  Matt Milano is having another great season.   Tremaine Edmunds plays all over the field.  Even with Micah Hyde and Jamar Hamlin out, Tre’Davious White and Jordan Poyer are excellent cover players and ball hawks.  I love their two rookies Christian Beneford and Kaiir Elam.  Jaquan Johnson will be asked to fill in for Hamlin (in for Hyde).  He may be the weak link.  Dane Jackson is filling in at RCB.

Special Teams
STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
PK Tyler Bass
P Sam Martin
H Sam Martin      
PR Nyheim Hines Khalil Shakir Jamison Crowder  IR
KR Isaiah McKenzie James Cook    
LS Reid Ferguson

Tyler Bass is normally a consistent player, but he has had his misses this season too. He ranks 6th in the league with Nick Folk as 7th.   Sam Martin is the Punter and Holder and ranks 13th.  Nyhein Hines is 9th in Punt Returns.  Patriots Marcus Jones is 1st in the AFC, 2nd overall.  The Bills are not registering in KO returns.  Marcus Jones is second.  Due to the Patriots’ woeful Punting game, I would say that the Bills have a slight edge.  But the Patriots have Marcus Jones and he is a threat any time he gets his hands on the ball.  Bailey will not be back this season.  Bill Belichick announced that Jake Bailey had reached the end of his activation period and will be put on season-ending IR.   Marcus Jones came off the Injury Report and was a Full Participant in practice.

Injury Report

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Position Injury Wed Thu Fri Game Status
Marcus Jones CB Concussion DNP LP FP (-)
Jonnu Smith TE Concussion DNP LP LP Questionable
Jonathan Jones CB Chest LP LP LP Questionable
Jakobi Meyers WR Shoulder LP LP LP Questionable
Jalen Mills CB Groin LP LP LP Questionable
DeVante Parker WR Concussion LP LP FP (-)
Davon Godchaux NT Illness   DNP FP (-)
Myles Bryant CB Shoulder   LP FP (-)
Brenden Schooler DB Hip   LP LP Questionable

 

BUFFALO BILLS

 

Player
Position Injury Wed Thu Fri Game Status
Josh Allen
QB Ankle/Right Elbow FP LP FP (-)
Tyrel Dodson MLB Knee FP LP FP (-)
Taron Johnson CB Concussion LP LP FP (-)
Dawson Knox TE Hip FP LP FP (-)
Cam Lewis
CB Forearm FP FP FP (-)
Matt Milano OLB Knee FP LP FP (-)
Jordan Phillips NT Shoulder FP LP FP (-)
Jordan Poyer FS Knee/Vet Rest FP DNP FP (-)
Rodger Saffold G Vet Rest   DNP FP (-)
Stefon Diggs WR Vet Rest     DNP (-)

The Bills have suddenly become healthy?  I think their Injury Report is not truthful.  Let’s see on Sunday how many of these players are really healthy.

Glad to see Marcus Jones and Myles Bryant are returning.  Would like to see Jonathan Jones on Sunday. I hope Parker doesn’t take playing time away from someone like Kendrick Bourne.

Bottom Line

I think the Bills rebound from their shock and despair over the Damar Hamlin near-death incident.  They are the more talented team, especially on offense.  I think the Bills’ defense will stop the Pats from running and forcing them to pass.  Not sure the Patriots have the horses to beat the Bills’ secondary.  I also believe the Bills’ pass rush will present problems for Mac Jones.  The Patriots’ Defense will not be as bad as it was for the last two meetings last season, they are much improved.  Can they keep the Pats in the game?  Final Bills 30 Patriots 17

READ NEXT:
Patriots News 01-08, Will The Patriots Play On After Today?

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.


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