5 Bills Ahead Thanksgiving Thoughts Vs. Lions: Could Micah Hyde return this season?

When one thinks of all the twists and turns of the Bills’ last seven days, the term “vortex” comes to mind. By the time they finish their next game with the Lions, they’ll have an uprooted home game, six feet of snow in one day, four flights in six days, two games in Detroit, and not even a day to rest.

But after successfully taking down the Browns on Sunday, they’ll be looking to do the same — in the same building — on Thanksgiving afternoon against the Lions. It’s the Bills’ final setup before a pivotal three-game stretch against opponents in the AFC East.

Heading into the game, here are five Bills’ thoughts ranging from the big picture possibilities to what could happen on Thanksgiving against the Lions.

1. Micah Hyde leaves the door open to return this season

When Bills star safety Micah Hyde injured his neck in the first month of the season, the initial thought was that his season was over. Hyde and his teammates used the hashtag #23in23, alluding to the safety number and his return for the 2023 season. Hyde underwent a successful neck procedure which helped resolve the pain he was having been doing for a long time and returned to Orchard Park nearly a month ago to be with the franchise. It’s long been a foregone conclusion that his year was over, but some recent activity has been, at the very least, interesting.


How will Micah Hyde’s injury impact Buffalo? The security of the former Bill weigh

Before the Bills’ game against the Browns on Sunday, Hyde was seen working with other inactive players under the guidance of the strength and conditioning staff. Then again on Tuesday, the Bills’ only workout of the week, Hyde was again doing some running drills with injured members of the 53-man roster. after training, The Athletic has reached Hyde following recent developments.

Hyde revealed he’s just been allowed to run “a little bit,” and said he’ll take it one day at a time. But when asked if there was any possible hope of returning this season, Hyde left the door open to the idea – a slight departure from him when he was initially placed on injured reserve.

“I would love to. I would love to. We will see,” Hyde said The Athletic Tuesday. “It’s not really up to me. It depends on the doctors. Historically no, but I don’t deal with… those are other people, other situations. So, we’ll see what happens.”

The fact that Hyde didn’t immediately dismiss the idea meant that a potential return this season is possible, even if it’s only a small possibility. Hyde’s reference to those “other people” and “other situations” is also quite impactful. It’s also worth pointing out that players will always veer on the optimistic side, and there’s no doubt Hyde would love to be a part of the season he and the organization have built over the previous five seasons. But if the Bills get Hyde back, it would be an incredible boost for a defense capable of great results without him. But there is still a long way to go and a lot of things need to go right before the idea becomes a reality.

2. Bates says, “I’ll be center” if Morse doesn’t play

On the Browns’ first play of the game, starting center Mitch Morse suffered an ankle injury that had to play the rest of the way. Morse didn’t miss a shot and made an excellent exit. But after the game, several reporters saw Morse in a walking boot. He did not participate in Monday’s walkthrough or Tuesday’s full workout, which cast doubt on his status for Thursday due to the short week. When Morse missed time earlier this season, the Bills replaced him with backup Greg Van Roten, which led to some quarterback-center swap difficulties with Van Roten and quarterback Josh Allen. Even if Morse doesn’t play, it probably won’t be Van Roten who starts in center.

“I’ll be center,” starting right guard Ryan Bates said Tuesday, only if Morse couldn’t play. That would likely mean either Van Roten or Bobby Hart would be the starting right guard, with Van Roten likely having the edge due to how much he likes to use Hart as a sixth offensive lineman in some snaps to help the running game. Bates has been playing incredibly well of late and has more experience in center than Van Roten, both overall and with Allen at quarterback. Morse has been their top offensive lineman this season, so it’s going to be a big loss against an improved Lions defensive line. But saving Morse a full week and a half of his ankle injury, ahead of a big three-game stretch against the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins could be big.

3. Could we see AJ Klein as holder just one week after being claimed?

The Bills released veteran linebacker AJ Klein from his contract with the team in the offseason in a cap-saving move, but Klein has since moved on. He started with the Ravens, before being traded to the Bears, and once the Bears waived him last week, the Bills successfully reclaimed the veteran waiver on a much more team-friendly contract. Klein has been a longtime favorite of head coach Sean McDermott, both in his two seasons in Buffalo and throughout their time together in Carolina. Klein has been on the Bills roster this season since Thursday, with only one practice with the team on Tuesday in his name.

We also know that usual starter Tremaine Edmunds is unlikely to play on Thursday, and last game against the Browns, his replacement Tyrel Dodson struggled in coverage for the second straight week. But given all of Klein’s experience with McDermott and serving as a starter should Edmunds or Matt Milano miss the game, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bills turned to Klein even with so little time left. After all, they know they can trust him inside their defense and nearly everything — scheme, head coach, and defensive coordinator — is the same as it was last season.

4. A chance to blow up the passing offense

After a more than shaky start Sunday against the Browns, quarterback Josh Allen and the passing attack turned the tables and were excellent the rest of the way. He completed 14 of his last 17 passes for 170 yards and most importantly displayed the confidence, quickness and accuracy that was sometimes lacking against the Jets and Vikings. He also showed poise in the pocket, patience to let his paths unfold, and took what the defense gave with two stares rather than forcing the ball into coverage. Now with that hit and two complete games since suffering the elbow injury, Allen and wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis have all the potential to serve up a reminder this week of what their offense is capable of in a single game. .

The Lions enter this game with the third-worst EPA defensive pass per dropback in the NFL, according to TruMedia. Jeff Okudah, their top border cornerback, also missed both days of practice this week and it seems unlikely he will play against the Bills. He would leave Diggs and Davis to work against two Mike Hughes, Amani Oruwariye and Jerry Jacobs. Oruwariye and Hughes have been two of the worst cornerbacks in the league this season, and Jacobs still hasn’t had a ton of snaps to his name this year. As long as the offensive line can keep Allen clean, Diggs, Davis or both could leave with big days on Thursday.

5. A great opportunity to continue playing on the ground

Last week, the Bills went up against the worst defense in the league by a sizeable margin and put up their best collective running day of the season. Because of the opponent, that doesn’t mean the Bills have all their hasty woes resolved. But the good news for them is that they have another excellent opportunity to move forward this week against an equally bad defense. While the Browns were the worst in rushing defense Points Added Expected this season and the fifth worst since the 2000 season, according to Tru Media, the Lions are second worst in 2022. Similarly to the Browns, the Lions’ defensive tackle group has demonstrated to be a liability in the defense of the race. The quartet of Alim McNeill, Isaiah Buggs, Michael Brockers and Benito Jones have all had their struggles this season. If the Bills can move forward with the inside offensive line, Devin Singletary and James Cook, Allen and the passing attack will be much more dynamic and potentially explosive.

Inactive expected bills vs. Lions: C Mitch Morse, DE Greg Rousseau, DE AJ Epenesa, LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB Baylon Spector, CB Tre’Davious White, CB/S Cam Lewis

Bill’s expected practice squad calls: WR Tanner Gentry, DE Mike Love

Prediction: Bills 40, Lions 13

Though the Lions have won their last three games, this looks like a potential blowout point for the Bills after putting their feet under them against the Browns on Sunday. Though they scored 31 points against the Browns, they failed to capitalize on a handful of drives by setting field goals. With all the Lions defensive struggles against passing and running, this is a great opportunity for Allen and the offense to get back on track ahead of their AFC East slog. The Lions could have some success with plenty of goals and catches for receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in center field, but I expect the Bills to be able to limit quarterback Jared Goff and force him to make mistakes when they need to a play on third down. Overall, this is a game the Bills can control hard, and despite some injuries to starters, too many things indicate that the Bills will walk away with their eighth win of the season.

(Photo: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)


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