The Buffalo Bills have ended their playoff drought, but it may be a short run if LeSean McCoy is unable to play.
With a win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, and some help from the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. But running back LeSean McCoy left last Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle, leaving his status for Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is up in the air.
X-rays came back negative, and on Monday Bills head coach Sean McDermott said there’s a “chance” McCoy will play on Sunday. Game day is still five days away, but more coach-speak and vague updates are sure to come over the rest of the week.
McCoy finished fourth in the league with 1,138 rushing yards this year, and he was second in the league in carries with 287. Add in his team-leading 59 receptions during the regular season, and there’s clearly not a more important player for the Bills on Sunday.
Not surprisingly, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, McCoy appears headed for a full-blown game-time decision on Sunday.
Jacksonville has the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense this year (169.9 yards per game). So the best way to move the ball on them will be against their 21st-ranked run defense (116.3 yards per game), and McCoy’s typically big workload seems sure to be limited if he is even able to play.
If McCoy misses Sunday’s game, the Bills will have to turn to Mike Tolbert and Marcus Murphy as their top two running backs. Tolbert had 66 carries for 247 yards during the regular season, and Murphy had seven carries for 41 yards in his first action for the Bills against the Dolphins in Week 17.
If it happens, it’ll be a stretch to call a Bills’ win over the Jaguars on Sunday an upset. But their chances will tilt either way based on McCoy’s status when inactives come out.