It's not all bad news for the New England Patriots on the injury front.
While quarterback Drew Bledsoe's status is uncertain for Sunday's game against Buffalo, the Patriots will have several key players in the lineup that they were missing when they lost to the Bills two weeks ago.
Linebacker Chris Slade, receiver Terry Glenn, fullback Tony Carter and defensive tackle Chad Eaton all missed the last game but will play this week.
Star defensive end Willie McGinest, who was on the field for only three plays two weeks ago, is out with a groin injury.
Other significant players still out for the Pats are linebacker Todd Collins (groin) and receiver Troy Brown (ankle). Starting right tackle Zefross Moss (knee) and starting left guard Heath Irwin (ankle) are listed as questionable.
Besides John Holecek and Manny Martin, both of whom are out, the only Bill on the injury list is linebacker Joe Cummings. He has a sprained ankle and did not participate in much of Wednesday's padless workout.
"I'm moving on it pretty good, it's not a big deal," Cummings said.
Fullback Sam Gash on LB Slade, who usually poses problems for the Bills:
"Chris is very athletic and he's strong. He has a real muscular frame and he plays relentless every play. You have to hit him and get on him every play because he's so talented."
Wade Phillips on Thanksgiving:
"It's such a great family time. I encourage our players if they're not with their families to make sure they call home. It's something I never thought about before I became a parent . . . I'm thankful for my family first and for what we have in America . . . and for the Canadian quarterback we have."
Random thoughts from Doug Flutie:
On the Pats' win over Miami: "I was kind of hoping they'd get beat Monday night, even though it was in our favor that the Dolphins lost. Then maybe we'd get a few more fans on our side of the fence (among the Foxboro crowd). But obviously that's not going to happen. They're in the hunt."
On his popularity in New England: "I think the people there were more excited about me signing in Buffalo than the people in Buffalo were when I signed."
On whether he has any animosity toward the Patriots over giving up on him in '89: "That's long gone. If it were the same coaching staff, maybe I'd have a little of that feeling. But it's a different team now. It's different uniforms even. . . . Me moving out of New England has put more of a burden on my wife the last eight years than it has on me."
Patriots cornerback Ty Law leads the NFL in interceptions with seven. He matched up on Eric Moulds much of the time two weeks ago.
Under Marv Levy and Phillips, the Bills never have matched up a cornerback on a specific receiver. They keep Thomas Smith on the right side and Ken Irvin on the left.
Phillips explained why:
"I think a guy plays better on defense if he stays on one side. Bruce Smith isn't as good a rusher at left end because he hasn't played there. My philosophy is as long as your corners are fairly equal, keep 'em on one side."