The Buffalo Bills got some good news when they learned that linebacker Von Miller does not have a torn ACL after he went down with a right knee injury in a victory against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
Miller suffered the injury late in the second quarter when he got rolled up on during a play. He headed directly to the medical tent for an evaluation, and then exited the field. He never returned to action in the second half. Without Miller, the Lions seized the lead in the third quarter, but the Bills rallied back and held on to win 28-25.
On Friday, an MRI revealed a partially torn MCL. Miller will miss the next game in Week 13, and the team’s doctors will re-evaluate him in seven to ten days. Miller’s future status depends on how he responds to treatments over the next week.
Miller tore the ACL in the same knee in 2013. There’s a chance Miller can play with a brace, but with a significant amount of pain. If Miller opts for surgery, then he’s most likely done for the season.
The Bills have aspirations to win the Super Bowl, and they know that they’ll need a healthy veteran like Miller to help guide them in the playoffs. Miller is a two-time Super Bowl champion, including last season with the Los Angeles Rams and with the 2015 Denver Broncos. Miller earned MVP honors while leading the Broncos to a victory in Super Bowl 50.
Von Miller Anchors the Bills’ Pass Rush
The Buffalo Bills have one of the strongest defenses in the AFC this season thanks to the addition of Von Miller. He was their top pass rusher with eight sacks and 21 tackles, including 10 for a loss. He also forced a fumble and knocked down two passes.
If Von misses a couple games, or if he’s playing next week, I just hope he’s still around,” said defensive tackle Ed Oliver. “I hope he’s still leading us from the sidelines. It don’t matter whether he playing, watching or coaching, it don’t matter. Having a guy like that around is infectious with his presence, having his positive energy, the way he carry himself, like the messages that he portray to us.”
The Bills have the fifth-best scoring defense in the NFL allowing only 18.1 points per game. Using advanced metrics, the Bills are ranked #3 in overall defensive DVOA. They are ranked #4 in Pass rushing DVOA, and ranked #7 in passing DVOA.
With Miller out, the Bills lost another crucial defensive line starter to an injury. Defensive ends Greg Rousseau and AJ Epenesa are both out with ankle injuries.
Shaq Lawson and Boogie Basham are the only healthy defensive ends on the roster, so the Bills promoted Mike Love off the practice squad.
“Von Miller is a future Hall of Famer for a reason,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “That said, we’ve got to move forward this week. And the person or the people responsible to step in and step up have got to do the job, and that’s the way it goes.”
Super Bowl Still the Goal for Banged-Up Bills
The Bills were one of the top teams in the NFL in the first half of the season with a 6-1 record, but they struggled in the second half of the season, especially after quarterback Josh Allen suffered an UCL elbow injury on this throwing arm. The Bills won two games in a row after ending a two-game losing streak, but they only squeezed out narrow one-score victories against the Cleveland Browns in Week 11, and against the Lions in Week 12 on Thanksgiving.
With an 8-3 record, the Bills hold down first place in a strong AFC East, where all four teams are fighting for a playoff spot. Only the Kansas City Chiefs have a better record than the Bills in the AFC.
The Bills and Chiefs are co-favorites to win Super Bowl LVII, according to a recent update by DraftKings. In AFC championship futures, the Bills and Chiefs are dead even at +215 odds. The Bills are the consensus betting favorite to win the AFC East at -240 odds, with the Miami Dolphins their closest competition at +240 odds.
The Bills are only 0-2 in divisional play, but they have three AFC East opponents on the slate in the next three games in December. They play at the New England Patriots in Week 13, before hosting the New York Jets in Week 14, and the Miami Dolphins in Week 15. The Bills host the Patriots in the final game of the season in Week 18, which could have playoff seeding implications for the Bills, and could determine the final AFC Wild Card spot for the Patriots.
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