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Bears look to pick on bumbling Bills

Reuters | Updated: 01-11-2018 12:36 IST | Created: 01-11-2018 12:36 IST

The Chicago Bears could be without star defender Khalil Mack again on Sunday.

They might not need him against the Buffalo Bills' sputtering offense.

Mack missed practice Wednesday as he continues to recover from an ankle sprain that has lingered for more than two weeks. The All-Pro edge rusher was able to play in the Bears' 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Oct. 21 but sat out last week as Chicago beat the New York Jets 24-10.

"Hopefully he's getting better," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "I feel like he is."

Mack compiled five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown through the Bears' first four games, but he was ineffective playing hurt against the Miami Dolphins and the Patriots.

Chicago (4-3) could choose to rest Mack for the game in Orchard Park, N.Y., to ensure he's healthy for a stretch of three games against NFC North opponents coming after the Bears' first trip to Buffalo since 2002. Mack played college football for the University at Buffalo and visited the Bills last season as a member of the Oakland Raiders.

Bears right guard Kyle Long is unlikely to play this week due to a right foot injury.

"We don't know the complete extent to it yet," Nagy said.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson (groin) is on a similar rehabilitation schedule as Mack, Nagy said. He did not practice Wednesday but could see limited reps Friday with the hope he'll play Sunday.

The Bills (2-6) are dealing with injuries at quarterback that might force them to start Nathan Peterman, who has already been benched twice this season for poor performance.

Rookie Josh Allen has been ruled out for a third consecutive game due to a sprained right (throwing) elbow. Derek Anderson, who has started Buffalo's past two games, is in the concussion protocol.

Peterman, Buffalo's opening-day starter, has completed 13 of 32 passes for 108 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions in three appearances this season. The second-year quarterback has thrown nine interceptions in 81 career attempts and has an overall passer rating of 31.4.

"Mistakes are in the past," Peterman said. "I've learned from them. I've taken them to heart. I'll never forget them. But at the same time, I'll learn from them and move on."

With Peterman as the only healthy quarterback, the Bills signed Matt Barkley on Wednesday. Barkley started six games for the Bears in 2016 but has not appeared in a regular-season game since. He was with the Cincinnati Bengals in preseason this year but got released after the season opener.

The Bills also have added wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who started 10 games at quarterback earlier in his career, more than Peterman or Barkley.

Buffalo's issues on offense go beyond quarterback play. The Bills have scored 87 points this season (10.9 per game), which is on pace for the fewest in team history, and they have only two touchdowns over the past five games.

--Field Level Media



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