The Buffalo Bills are coming off of a tough 48-28 loss against the New York Jets, but the loss of David Nelson for the entire season is even tougher than a 20-point loss to a division rival.
As the Bills feared, their solid slot receiver is out for the season with a torn ACL, per Adam Schefter. The 25-year-old Florida product is the team’s second most important receiver behind Stevie Johnson, and his injury means that rookie T.J. Graham will be starting on the outside with Donald Jones shifting inside to man the slot.
Last season, Nelson caught 61 passes for 658 yards and five touchdowns and is one of the most solid slot receivers in the NFL. Ryan Fitzpatrick has lost a guy who can help the team successfully move the chains, and Nelson is a player who can bail out Fitzpatrick on a short pass or help convert a short to medium third down.
While tight end Scott Chandler has received a larger role with the team and Nelson is no longer as heavily targeted as he was last year, losing him for the entire season is still a big deal for the Bills. After all, he did catch 60 passes last season.
The news comes at a time when Bills fans are also biting their finger nails over the results of Fred Jackson’s injury. An even bigger part of the Bills offense, losing Jackson would mean losing a large chunk of this team’s production. C.J. Spiller was terrific against the Jets, but Jackson is just such a great player that losing him hurts their depth.
Jackson sprained his right knee, but the timetable of the injury is not known even after an MRI. That’s a situation to keep watching closely, and the Bills will hope to have him back as soon as possible. This is all terrible news for our AFC East rivals, who certainly exhibited a high amount of confidence before the season (they aren’t afraid of us either) but the loss against the Jets, the loss of Nelson, and the injury to Jackson will likely cut that confidence meter down a size.
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