The Buffalo Bills were dealt a key loss with the season-ending injury to All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White during their Week 12 win against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
White suffered a torn ACL and will not return this season.
And while injuries certainly are not a rarity in the National Football League, those that could prove to be season-altering ailments are few and far between. We’ve seen it this season with the injury to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, and White is another non-quarterback who fits that bill.
To put it simply, the two-time Pro Bowler is the leader of the Buffalo defense and a key reason why the Bills currently rank second in passing yards allowed and first in touchdown passes allowed. He offers the Bills an element that not many teams are privileged to have.
White, specifically, has allowed a 50.8% completion percentage and 58.9 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, both of which are fourth best among defensive backs with 50-plus targets this season, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. He allowed 31 catches on 58 targets for 305 yards and did not allow a touchdown in 11 games, per Pro Football Focus.
The Bills, who don’t have the benefit of being overly deep in the cornerback group, are not as dangerous without him. And that could open the door for other AFC contenders, and specifically the New England Patriots.
The 7-4 Bills are neck and neck with the 7-4 Patriots for the AFC East crown. Buffalo did take its division lead back following Thursday’s win, but New England will jump back to the top of the board with a win Sunday against the injury-depleted Tennessee Titans.
The Patriots also get to face Buffalo without White twice within the next month. It should provide New England a more favorable matchup, although his one interception in eight games against New England don’t tell the full story. Additionally, the Patriots will now have played the Cleveland Browns without Nick Chubb, the Atlanta Falcons without Cordarelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts, the Titans without A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and Henry as well as the Bills without White in a four-game stretch. Health matters.
For what it’s worth, oddsmakers haven’t completely jumped ship or done anything drastic. The Bills remain +650 to win the Super Bowl, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, which is second behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while remaining the conference favorite (+300) and division favorite (-200).
But it does feel like Buffalo’s title aspirations took a hit without White.