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8 Laces: Get caught up on all things Bills heading into Week 11

There's an old saying that a team with two quarterbacks really doesn't have any.

In the Buffalo Bills' case, the question this week is, if a team has three right tackles ... does it really have any?

Starter Jordan Mills has taken all but one snap this season, but struggled in the team's most recent game, a Week Nine loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. Facing third and goal from the Seahawks' 8-yard line with less than a minute to go and a chance to possibly take the lead, Mills got beat by the Seahawks' Cliff Avril for a sack of Tyrod Taylor. That pushed the Bills back to the 15-yard line, and they were unable to score on fourth down, finishing off a damaging loss.

It was the type of play that sticks in the memory bank, and might be enough to drive Mills to the bench. Coach Rex Ryan has made it clear this week that there is an open competition taking place at positions on both sides of the ball, and Mills' grasp on his starting job is tenuous.

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn hinted that both Seantrel Henderson and Cyrus Kouandjio could see time there Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

But is that really in the Bills' best interests?

Offensive linemen always stress the need for continuity, so cycling three different players through one position would be the exact opposite of that for a line that will already have one new starter at center with Ryan Groy replacing the injured Eric Wood.

There's also the question of how many offensive linemen the team can keep active. Those three plus left tackle Cordy Glenn would be four at the position, and if the Bills want a reserve interior offensive lineman, that would be Patrick Lewis. It would be unusual for a team to keep eight offensive linemen active for a game, but perhaps the Bills feel like they don't have any other choice.

What to root for

The Bills enter Week 11 as the 11th seed in the AFC, tied with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis with a 4-5 record, but behind both of those teams because of their weak conference record (1-4).

Here is how the schedule can break favorably for the Bills in Week 11:

• Pittsburgh at Cleveland: The Browns to get their first win.
• Baltimore at Dallas: The Dak Express to keep the Cowboys rolling.
• Jacksonville at Detroit: The Lions, although the Jaguars are close to being out of the race.
• Tennessee at Indianapolis: The Colts to match Tennessee at 5-5 on the season.
• Tampa Bay at Kansas City: Rooting for Jameis Winston is gross, but Bills fans have to do it this week.
• Miami at L.A. Rams: The Bills need Jared Goff to give the Rams' offense a spark against the Dolphins, who are rolling.
• New England at San Francisco: The Bills aren't catching the Patriots, but it would still be funny if the 49ers beat Tom Brady and Co.
• Houston vs. Oakland: The Texans would move to 7-3 with a win, while the Raiders would drop to 7-3. That would be the best-case scenario, with Houston then being the favorite to win the AFC South.

Not a record to write home about

The Bills have scored at least 25 points in their last three games – and lost them all. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's tied with the Green Bay Packers of this season for the longest such losing streak in NFL history. Green Bay has also scored at least 25 points in the last three weeks, but lost.

Post-bye blues

For the second straight season, Bills coach Rex Ryan gave his team the entire week off for its bye. A skeptic might wonder about that strategy. Ryan has a 2-6 record as a coach coming off the bye week, although last year the Bills responded with a 33-17 victory over the Dolphins after the break in the schedule.

Buffalo's franchise record after the bye week is 16-11. The Bills have a definitive advantage in rest, as the Bengals played on Monday Night Football in Week 10.

Podcast talk

On this week's BN Blitz podcast, Vic Carucci and I talk about the serious problems facing the secondary, shuffling along the offensive line and what the Bills' record might have to be over the final seven games to get into the postseason.

As always, we also answered your Twitter questions, submitted to either @VicCarucci or @JaySkurski.

Listen online here or subscribe on iTunes.

 

The links

• Jerry Sullivan lays out the numbers that show the defense is still the problem in Buffalo.
• Offensive lineman Ryan Groy reflects on the tragic loss of his father as his first start with the Bills approaches.
• Once again, a veteran defender is questioning Ryan's defensive scheme.
• Wide receivers Kolby Listenbee and Marcus Easley are not expected to play this season.
• Wide receiver Percy Harvin is ready for more work -- he's expected to start against the Bengals.
• Would a 10-6 record get the Bills into the playoffs? Nick Veronica takes a look at recent history to find out.

 

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