Two Important Things to Watch For in Friday’s Buffalo Bills Game
The preseason will finally wrap up on Friday night for the Buffalo Bills, when they visit the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
The game will feel like a preseason game for Bills fans, as head coach Sean McDermott said on Wednesday that Josh Allen and "most" of the starters will not play.
As for the Carolina Panthers, fans can expect to see some of their starters play, including newly named starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
While there will be no starters to watch in the game for Buffalo, this game will be crucial for several players and whether or not they make the final 53-man roster.
General manager Brandon Beane said this week that they have the final roster decisions in the 50's, but a few spots were still undecided on, which means those unnamed players will be playing for a spot on Friday night.
The two most intriguing positions to watch for are tight end and wide receiver.
For tight end, we know Dawson Knox is the starter. After that, there is no 100 percent guarantee for a roster spot.
Free agent signing O.J. Howard was signed to be the backup but has not had many moments to shine, other than a touchdown pass from Case Keenum. He had an Achilles tendon injury two years ago and will likely not be the receiving mismatch anymore, but gives the Bills a good blocker and does provide an asset with his size at receiver.
Tommy Sweeney and Quintin Morris are also battling for spots. We should see plenty of both on Friday.
The Bills have such a good roster and depth needs at positions like offensive line and cornerback, that it's conceivable to think they only keep two tight ends, and perhaps Sweeney is the odd man out.
As for wide receiver, the Bills have what feel like five locks to make the team.
- Stefon Diggs
- Gabriel Davis
- Isaiah McKenzie
- Jamison Crowder
- Khalil Shakir
Crowder might have a longshot chance to be released, but his veteran experience and past success give him good enough value.
If the Bills keep six receivers, then it will likely come down to Jake Kumerow or Isaiah Hodgins. If they keep seven, then my guess is both are on the team, but most teams keep five or six, so it could be two of them battling for a spot.
Kumerow has an edge over Hodgins, since he's a better special teams player, but Hodgins has been impressive at outside wide receiver in both preseason games, so that will be interesting to watch.
I think Tanner Gentry will be on the practice squad and the same could go for Neil Pau'u.
Two other positions to watch are offensive line and cornerback.
OL Bobby Hart and Greg Van Roten are two veteran guards on the bubble, while cornerback will be fun to watch Cam Lewis and Nick McCloud make a case to make the team. It may depend on whether or not Tre'Davious White goes on reserve/PUP, which means Lewis or McCloud likely make the team.
Kickoff for Bills/Panthers is 7 pm.