Bills set to re-shuffle O-Line against Texans

Bills set to re-shuffle O-Line against Texans

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) It's two steps forward and potentially one step back when it comes to the health of the Buffalo Bills starting offensive line coming out of the bye.

The good news is that starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and starting right guard Kraig Urbik are expected to return on Sunday, when Buffalo (3-4) travels to play the AFC-leading Houston Texans (6-1). Both missed three games with sprained right ankles.

On the downside, Erik Pears' status is uncertain after the starting right tackle missed practice Thursday.

Coach Chan Gailey said Pears was visiting a specialist to have a nagging hip-groin injury examined. Gailey said the injury is related to the one Pears had surgically repaired this offseason. And he didn't rule out the possibility of Pears requiring surgery again.

Gailey said he'll know more regarding Pears on Friday.

Pears has been inconsistent in starting all seven games this season. If he can't play, reserve tackle Chris Hairston is expected to take over after starting the past three games on the left side for Glenn.

Urbik's return is well-timed, too, because he'll reclaim his job at right guard after backup Chad Rinehart sustained what's feared to be a season-ending injury to his left ankle in a 35-34 loss to Tennessee two weeks ago.

Despite the constant shuffling, the Bills offensive line has been steady. Buffalo is tied for second in the NFL in having allowed just eight sacks this season. And the Bills have the league's fourth-best running attack.

``The last few weeks, we've done a good job, and it's kind of been patchwork just putting guys in there and trying to move guys around,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ``But getting some depth there and getting our starters back will be big for us.''

The Bills could use whatever edge they can get in facing Houston's sack-happy defense. J.J. Watt leads the NFL with 9 1/2 sacks, to go with 56 tackles (16 of them for a loss), 16 quarterback hits and 10 passes defensed. And he's part of a defense that's allowed the third-fewest yards.

``Yeah, it's going to definitely be a challenge, but there's a challenge every week,'' Urbik said. ``You can't be hesitant at all. You have to trust your technique, especially going up against a guy like J.J. You need to be on your game every single play or he's going to expose you.''

Urbik has 19 starts in two-plus seasons in Buffalo. Glenn is Buffalo's rookie second-round draft pick out of Georgia.

Rinehart's injury could open the door for cornerback Ron Brooks to be activated this week. The rookie fourth-round pick has been out since breaking his right foot in the final week of the preseason.

He began practicing two weeks ago, and is eligible to return after opening the season on the IR/Designated for Return list.

``I'm ready right now,'' Brooks said. ``I'm just happy to have at least half of my season back.''


NOTES: LG Andy Levitre is once again growing his Fu Manchu moustache to support the Berkley Fire Department annual fundraiser to assist young burn victims. Levitre can be sponsored on the charities website ( ... DE Mark Anderson (left knee) will miss his third straight game after being ruled out by Gailey. ... The Bills have a 16-8 record in games following their bye week, and are 5-2 over the past seven seasons.


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Redskins to play on Thanksgiving for third consecutive season

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Redskins to play on Thanksgiving for third consecutive season

The Washington Redskins are playing on Thanksgiving ... again.

With the 2018 NFL regular-season schedule set for an official release on Thursday night, news has begun to leak on the different dates.

The Redskins will travel to Dallas yet again to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay reports on Thursday afternoon.

The Week 12 showdown will take place on Thursday, Nov. 22 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. 

Last season, the Redskins beat the Giants at home 20-10 to increase their all-time Thanksgiving Day record to a whopping 3-7. That game marked the first time since the 1973 and 1974 seasons that the Redskins' played on Thanksgiving back-to-back years.

The 2018 season marks unchartered territory for the Redskins.

Against non-Cowboys opponents, the Redskins are actually undefeated on Turkey Day. But this showdown will be against their dreaded division rivals who hosted them two seasons ago on Thanksgiving.

The Cowboys won that matchup 31-26 with two rushing TDs from Ezekiel Elliot while Jordan Reed caught two TD passes from Kirk Cousins.

The Redskins and Cowboys will meet under the bright lights of AT&T Stadium on November 22. Game time to be determined.




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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

DETROIT - Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and the Detroit Tigers beat Baltimore 13-8 Thursday to extend the Orioles' losing streak to six.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two home runs to Manny Machado and one to Chris Davis. Zimmermann was pitching for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a line drove off the bat of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis on April 11.

Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a $57 million, four-year contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Machado had four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the first, but Davis put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the second, his sixth hit and fourth homer in 10 career at-bats against Zimmermann.

Detroit went ahead for good with four runs in the bottom half after third baseman Tim Beckham's throwing error allowed James McCann to reach base leading off. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run triple, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single and Nick Castellanos a run-scoring groundout.

Machado's homer in the third cut Baltimore's deficit to 5-2, but Candelario's two-run homer extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom half. Martin homered off Mike Wright Jr. in a five-run fifth.