New England Patriots: Bills rule out WR Kelvin Benjamin for Sunday

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Kelvin Benjamin
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Kelvin Benjamin /

The New England Patriots will have one less player to deal with on Sunday as the Buffalo Bills have ruled out wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

The New England Patriots are set to meet the Buffalo Bills for the first time this season on Sunday, but it would have been the second time seeing receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

The wideout faced the Patriots as a member of the Carolina Panthers earlier this year, but he was then traded to the Bills. Unfortunately for the Bills and Benjamin, he’s been ruled out for Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots.

Benjamin has been dealing with a torn meniscus in his knee, and he had been listed as day-to-day. ESPN‘s Mike Rodak broke the news on Friday that the wide receiver is now officially OUT.

Benjamin injured his knee on November 19th against the Chargers, and he has not practiced since.  Against the Patriots earlier this year, Benjamin had 4 receptions for 104 yards in Carolina’s 33-30 win.

The Patriots will be up against an incredibly athletic quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, but his stable of weapons is now depleted. LeSean McCoy will be a factor out of the backfield, but the only real receiving options now are Zay Jones, Jordan Matthews, and Charles Clay. McCoy, Clay, and Matthews are also dealing with nagging knee injuries. Right now, it looks like McCoy will play against New England, but it’s not known if the injuries will hold out Matthews or Clay.

In 2 games for Buffalo, Benjamin has 62 yards, but his injury came very early in the game against Los Angeles. The Patriots will likely aim to shut down the Bills’ top weapon, which is now LeSean McCoy. He’s second on the team with 295 receiving yards to go along with his 758 rushing yards.

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The Bills offense is a lot different from the Patriots. Buffalo’s best receiver this year has been Charles Clay and he only has 358 yards and 2 touchdowns. New England has 5 players with more receiving yards (White, Hogan, Amendola, Gronkowski, Cooks), and the leader, Brandin Cooks, has 869. He also has 5 touchdowns, while Gronk has 7.

New England’s surging defense should have no problems containing Buffalo. The Patriots have allowed 17 or fewer points in each of their last 7 games. They allowed 8 to the Raiders two weeks ago, and just 10 defensively to the Dolphins this past Sunday. The defense has also forced 11 turnovers in those 7 games. The Bills will provide an opportunity for the Patriots D to take control, and this game won’t even be close if they do.

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Buffalo has the 26th ranked offense in terms of yards, and 22nd in terms of scoring, so these injuries are really going to hamper their chances. At 6-5 though, they’re still somehow in the running for an AFC Wild Card spot. They are on the outside right now as the 7th seed, but they have the exact same record as the 6th seed Baltimore Ravens. The Bills are still right in the middle of things, but two games against New England could be the dagger.

Sunday’s game in Orchard Park, NY will kickoff at 1 PM as the New England Patriots look to maintain their course and improve to 10-2.