The first half of Buffalo's first season under new head coach Rex Ryan could not have had any more unexpected twists and turns as we've seen through the first seven weeks. If there's one unfortunate theme that has been consistent it is injuries.
From the rash of players going down in training camp where all five running backs were sidelined simultaneously to playing last Sunday's game without seven starters, the Bills have never been at full strength in the regular season.
"I don't know if I've ever been on a team that needed a bye worse than we do," said head coach Rex Ryan.
Last Sunday Buffalo played without a pair of starting offensive linemen, their top two wide receivers, a Pro Bowl defensive tackle and their starting safety. In fact the Bills' inactive list against the Jaguars had already been determined on Friday with seven players out injured or unavailable for the game.
"You know what, when we get this team back to full strength, with having Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin, Tyrod Taylor, the right side of our line, that would be a heck of a start," said Ryan. "Then on defense hopefully we'll get the Williams' back, both of them (Aaron and Kyle) and that'll help us."
Even Buffalo's veteran players can't recall an injury outbreak as bad as the one that sidelined some of the best talent on the roster and left them laid up for multiple weeks at a time.
"I know injuries are part of the game, but there are so many on this team," said LeSean McCoy, who missed two of the first seven games. "We've got to get some guys back and play a game with full weapons. You come into this league and you pick the players you want. You go into the game with a game plan, but you don't have your guys. We'd like to have everybody back and get a full, realistic look."
Tyrod Taylor has missed the last two games
Percy Harvin has missed the past two games.
Sammy Watkins has missed three of the last four.
Karlos Williams has missed the last three
Aaron Williams won't be back until mid-December if at all
Marquise Goodwin missed all but two games and is now on injured reserve.
Seantrel Henderson and Kyle Williams are the two newest additions, and Leodis McKelvin is still waiting to come off the Reserve/NFI list.
The players don't deny they have to play more consistent football, but they also believe the NFL game is largely about matchups. Some of Buffalo's most intimidating matchup problems for opponents have been spectators instead of playmakers.
"That's not just average football players, those are pretty darn good ones (who have been out)," said Ryan. "And we've got to get them back and we've got to get healthy and have a heck of a go at it for nine games."
"We've got a bye week coming up-we can get healthy," said Chris Hogan. "That's the biggest thing for us. We've got a lot of guys banged up right now. That will be important. We'll take this week and get guys back. And then we'll come back and have a rejuvenated team, so to speak and go into the second half of the season ready to roll."