The Buffalo Bills are gearing up for their biggest game of the season as they are set to travel up to New England to face the Patriots on Sunday. As they continue to prepare for a game to keep their hopes of winning the AFC East alive, they'll do so without wide receiver Cole Beasley. On Tuesday, the team announced that they have placed the 32-year-old pass catchers on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network has since confirmed that Beasley's placement on the COVID-19 list was in fact due to a positive test. Because Beasley is unvaccinated, that means he'll now go into a mandatory 10-day quarantine that will force him to miss this upcoming matchup against the Patriots in Week 16. Beasley confirmed the news on social media and noted that he is "feeling fine with mild symptoms." The receiver also took aim at the league's COVID-19 protocols.
"Just to be clear Covid is not keeping me out of this game," Beasley wrote on Instagram. "The rules are. Vaxxed players are playing with Covid every week now because they don't test. One of my vaxxed teammates is in the hospital missing games. I'm sure he didn't get this same energy. Thank you for those who support. Everyone else, if you don't get what's happening then there is nothing anybody can do for you."
The NFL did recently update its COVID-19 protocols, which does make it easier for some players to test out of protocols and return to the team. However, that only factors in when it comes to vaccinated players, who are also asymptomatic. With Beasley being unvaccinated, those recent updates have no bearing on his current situation.
This is a big blow for Buffalo's passing attack as Beasley is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards to this point in the year. With him sidelined for this game, star receiver Stefon Diggs could take on an even heavier workload along with an uptick in targets for both tight end Dawson Knox and receiver Gabe Davis, who had two touchdown receptions last week against Carolina.
The Bills are currently a game behind the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. With New England already holding the head-to-head advantage thanks to their win just a few weeks ago up in Buffalo, it'll be imperative for Sean McDermott's team to get a win here to possibly claw back up atop the division with just three weeks remaining in the regular season.