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Thad Lewis to start for Buffalo Bills, EJ Manuel doubtful

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone said last week that he was 110 percent confident that quarterback EJ Manuel would return from his PCL sprain for the season finale against the New England Patriots

That confidence waned throughout practice this week, and it finally turned into zero percent Friday. Manuel was listed as doubtful on the Week 17 injury report. Marrone announced that Thad Lewis will start.

Lewis starting is not necessarily bad news for the Bills' chances of pulling off an upset in Foxborough. Lewis' accuracy has been erratic in four starts, but he's a solid backup. The Bills are 2-2 in Lewis' starts. (They are 1-19 in their last 20 games against New England.)

The Bills also will be without wide receiver Stevie Johnson (personal) and safety Aaron Williams (ribs). Buffalo's defense still figures to pose problems for the Patriots' banged-up offensive line. New England needs to win this game in order to ensure a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

Manuel's disappointing season ends with three separate injuries and just ten games started. Manuel will not require offseason surgery. Don't be surprised if the Bills bring in another experienced backup for him to learn from this offseason.

The latest "Around the League Podcast" broke down the playoff picture and filled out our Pro Bowl ballots.

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