ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Bills will be without two key players as they begin preparation for their AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Head coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday that wide receiver Gabriel Davis and defensive lineman Vernon Butler will not participate in the team’s first practice of the week.
Davis left the team’s Divisional Round matchup with an ankle injury and was deemed questionable to return by the team. He did make it back, however, he did not seem at full strength and was walking gingerly after plays.
Davis was held without a catch and only played 26 snaps, his fewest in a game this season since Week 2.
Vernon Butler suffered a quad injury against the Ravens as well and limped off the field at one point. He was able to return. He played 26 snaps and had one tackle.
Stefon Diggs was limited in practice with his oblique injury, but that should not be an issue for Sunday. Quinton Jefferson was also limited with an ankle injury.
As the Bills hit the practice field on Wednesday for the first time this week, they will start preparing for Sunday’s game if either Patrick Mahomes or Chad Henne will be the starting quarterback. Mahomes was a full participant in practice on Wednesday while in the concussion protocol.
No matter who is leading the Chiefs’ offense, it’s a group that has a lot of weapons for Kansas City to use.
“It keeps me up at night trying to figure out how to guard and slow down their offense,” said McDermott. “Tyreek Hill and [Travis] Kelce— they’re phenomenal players.”
Since these two teams met in Week 6, each has only lost once. The Bills lost to the Cardinals in Week 10 in the “Hail Murray” game and the Chiefs lost to the Chargers in Week 17 while resting their starters.
“I think it’s two good football teams. It’s kind of been trending that way for however long [the media] has narrated that over the course of the last six weeks, the last back-half of the season,” said McDermott. “We feel like we’re improving every week, I’m sure they feel the same. Our defense has continued to develop as well and you hope that’s the case with our entire football team.”
The Bills’ defense carried the team to their win against the Ravens, but the offense will need to put up more than 10 points if they hope to beat the Chiefs. After his lackluster outing in windy conditions, McDermott has all the faith in the world in his franchise quarterback.
“This is the next step for Josh. This is what you work for, this is what he’s worked for. He’ll be ready and we’re extremely confident in Josh,” said McDermott.
Kickoff for the AFC Championship Game is at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday, January 24th.