When totally wholesome, the Buffalo Bills have one of many best security tandems within the NFL with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. However, as of Saturday, the Bills will probably be pressured to play with out considered one of them for your entire season.
Hyde was positioned on injured reserve and can seemingly miss the remainder of the season as a result of a neck damage he suffered in Monday’s win towards the Tennessee Titans. While it was by no means anticipated that Hyde would play this Sunday after being carted off the sphere within the fourth quarter of Monday’s recreation, to overlook the remainder of the season was sudden. The accidents simply preserve piling up for the Bills.
While the group’s offense is likely one of the finest within the league, Buffalo’s protection has been its largest energy early on. When you maintain the defending Super Bowl champs and reigning No. 1 seed within the AFC to 17 mixed factors, I don’t care how good your offense is, that protection is the group’s energy. However, Sunday may see a number of of the Bills’ brightest defensive stars restricted to the sideline. Ed Oliver, Jordan Phillips, Dane Jackson, and clearly Micah Hyde are out. Poyer was additionally listed as questionable. While it appears seemingly that he’ll play proper now, he’ll seemingly be taking part in damage.
So, to recap, two defensive tackles, a cornerback, and two of the very best safeties within the NFL will probably be out or taking part in hobbled for the Bills. They play the Dolphins tomorrow, who’ve two of the quickest receivers within the NFL. The Bills’ inside cross rush is shot to shit and so they gained’t have their finest choices excessive. If anybody had a chance to knock the Bills off their pedestal, it’s the Dolphins proper now.
Keep in thoughts, Hyde has solely missed two video games since taking on the Bills’ full-time security job in 2017. The Bills gained each these video games, however they have been towards Marcus Mariota and 2020 Cam Newton — not precisely the very best competitors. Tagovailoa has regarded higher to this point in 2022 than he ever has earlier than, and thus, this may very well be the Bills’ first actual check with out their All-Pro security since he joined the squad. Not to say, Hyde has among the best DB instincts within the recreation, with out him, Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel ought to have a a lot simpler time getting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle open deep. The second that Hyde’s substitute Jaquan Johnson takes a step in, Tua will probably be able to hit Hill on the deep publish.
I’m not saying the Bills are screwed. Poyer, even when injured, has unbelievable instincts as effectively and will have the ability to cowl his facet of the sphere very effectively, even when he’s a step slower than he usually could be. Also, regardless of the absence of each Oliver and Phillips, the Bills’ two finest cross rushers — Gregory Rousseau and Von Miller — are totally wholesome. While the 2 of them have performed effectively attending to the quarterback (4 mixed sacks), they solely have six pressures between the 2 of them, in line with Pro-Football-Reference.
The Dolphins’ offensive line ranks ninth in adjusted sack rate by means of two weeks. Without that very same pass-rushing prowess from Oliver (73.7 pass-rushing grade in 2021) and Phillips (82.5 pass-rushing grade up to now in 2022) on the within, it’s going to be even tougher for Miller, Rousseau, and maybe AJ Epenesa to get to Tua. That lack of strain may permit extra deep routes to develop, and giving any quarterback an excessive amount of time with Hill and Waddle is a spell for catastrophe.
The Bills’ offense is greater than able to carrying the group to victory, however this recreation may very well be extra of a shootout than we initially thought. That mentioned, the strain is on for Tua. How can he again up his six-TD recreation? If he struggles towards a weakened Bills’ secondary, the doubts will begin creeping into followers’ minds as soon as once more. This will probably be an amazing measuring follow see whether or not or not Tua can preserve his early season success up.