Due to circumstances beyond our control, We Want Marangi officially retracts our rather mealy-mouthed prediction that the Kansas City Chiefs will cease to be the NFL’s last unbeaten team Sunday in Orchard Park.
The news that Thad Lewis was unable to throw in practice Wednesday, due to having his ribs all but crushed last week in New Orleans, broke about an hour after we made that wildly optimistic call.
When Lewis still could not throw on Friday, that Bills downgraded Lewis’ status to doubtful, which in NFL parlance means there is a 25 percent chance he plays Sunday.
Lewis returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis. He participated in drop backs with his fellow quarterbacks during the portion of practice open to the media but did not throw any passes.
“It’s a point of the soreness of the ribs, really just being able to turn and throw and that’s the one thing that’s holding him back,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said. “If he can get by that, then he’ll be able to play.”
That leaves a 75 percent likelihood that rookie free agent Jeff Tuel, last seen in Cleveland, looking thoroughly lost, makes his first professional regular-season start against the Chiefs, who happen to lead the league in sacks, one of the main reasons they have allowed the fewest points through eight weeks.
A schedule that has included Jacksonville, Oakland, the New York Giants and Tennessee (Ryan Fitzpatrick Edition) has not hurt either, but it is tough to argue the Bills will be any more dangerous with Tuel or the frequently released Matt Flynn flinging the ball around.
To be fair, there are a couple of things working in Tuel’s favor.
With Lewis out, Tuel took the majority of snaps in practice this week, meaning he should be much better prepared, or at least appear less terrified, than when he was forced into action against the Browns after E.J. Manuel went down with the knee injury that has kept him out since.
And, although the Weather.com forecast suggests the predicted early-morning snow and wind will subside by kickoff, the accuracy of meteorological prognostication ranks somewhere below Tuel’s completion percentage. So there’s an outside shot at an impromptu mini-blizzard disrupting all passing by anyone, leaving the outcome thoroughly to chance.
Then there’s the slimming possibility that Lewis’ rib muscles heal enough and/or he is legally provided with enough painkillers to keep Tuel and Flynn sidelined.
With a 3-5 record at the halfway point, that’s what this Bills season has come to — hoping a guy with his fourth NFL team who was on the practice squad a month ago can play if he takes the needle, or an unexpected snowstorm on Nov. 3.
David Staba has written about the Buffalo Bills, among other topics, since 1990 for a variety of outlets, including We Want Marangi since way back in 2012.