On Tuesday, the Bills added Beasley to their reserve/COVID-19 list.
Beasley is among six active Bills players on the list as of Saturday afternoon.
Because Beasley is unvaccinated, he will be out for 10 days.
We’ve placed WR Cole Beasley on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 21, 2021
Beasley has 76 receptions on 101 targets for 640 yards and one touchdown this year.
In August, the Bills put Beasley on the COVID list due to close contract tracing.
Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday against the Patriots.
Sanders was considered week-to-week with a knee sprain, which prevented him from playing in the Week 15 game against the Carolina Panthers.
Plus, receiver Gabriel Davis (illness) is also expected to miss Sunday’s game.
Here are two Bills receivers who must step up with Beasley and Davis out:
2. Isaiah McKenzie
Isaiah McKenzie is expected to see more opportunities in the slot against the Patriots.
In 12 games this season, McKenzie has seven receptions on 11 targets for 38 yards.
Last season, McKenzie had 30 receptions on 34 targets for 282 yards and five touchdowns.
On Friday, a media member asked Patriots coach Bill Belichick about McKenzie’s abilities.
“He’s an explosive player,” Belichick said. “Very explosive. (He’s a) home run guy in the return game and, offensively, he gets the ball in space. He’s very quick, elusive, and if he gets a crease, he can make a big play, go all the way.”
Belichick also called McKenzie a “versatile player.”
“(He) catches the ball. They use him in the backfield. They use him on some handoff plays, speed sweeps, reverses, and things like that, throw it to him, quick screens, over-the-middle plays, deep balls and then, of course, in the kicking game, he’s a dynamic returner.”
Belichick also said he anticipates McKenzie will play more with Beasley out.
“We’ll just have to be ready for whoever they put in there, but he’s a guy who can break the game open with one play.”
1. Stefon Diggs
It marks Diggs’ second Pro Bowl selection.
Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.
A key matchup for Sunday’s contest will be how Diggs performs against Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson.
It marks Jackson’s first Pro Bowl selection after he came to the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
The Bills need Diggs to make plays Sunday if they want to tie up the Patriots in the AFC East standings.
During the two teams’ first game on December 6, the Patriots beat the Bills, 14-10.
In the Week 13 game, Diggs had four receptions on seven targets for 51 yards despite 40 mph wind gusts and wind chills in the mid-20s.
On the 2021 season, Diggs has 82 receptions on 128 targets for 1,007 yards for eight touchdowns.