With just three weeks left in the regular season, playoff lives are on the line all across the NFL. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers know all too well how important this weekend is in terms of making a major step toward punching a playoff ticket, but they’re not the only team hoping to polish off a late-season turnaround.
After being essentially written off in an insanely competitive AFC, the Buffalo Bills are clawing their way back into the playoff picture.
Buffalo is 7-7, just like Tampa Bay, but remain on the outside looking in entering the weekend. A win on Saturday over the Los Angeles Chargers could vault them into position to grab a Wild Card spot at the last moment. Teams like the Colts, Texans, and Bengals all have an equal — if not better — shot at securing the ticket Buffalo seeks, but the Bills have roared back to life in ways not many thought possible.
As they continue to pull things in the right direction, a familiar face to Buccaneers fans will be joining the fight.
Ex-Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette to make season-debut for Bills
Fournette signed with the Bills almost two months ago, but has been toiling away on the team’s practice squad ever since. James Cook’s emergence as a true RB1 has held Lenny back, as has the production of Latavius Murray as a depth piece behind him.
That all changes this weekend.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bills are elevating Fournette for Saturday’s game against hte Chargers. He’s not starting, but he’s expected to make his debut with the team after almost a year after he last played a down.
Fournette is set to be Cook’s backup against the Chargers with Murray expected to be used in emergency duties only. Given how bad Los Angeles has been as of late, it’s likely that Lenny not only sees action but might turn in a highlight or two in the process.
Whatever he does, Bucs fans will be watching closely. Fournette was a fan favorite during the Super Bowl run back in 2020, with Playoff Lenny quickly graduating to Lombardi Lenny in the process. He struggled over the next two seasons, though, with steep delclines in production being attributed to his involvement in one of the league’s worst rushing attacks.
If Fournette comes out of the gate hot, it’ll be hard to not look at the still ongoing situation in Tampa Bay with the struggling run game. Things are starting to slowly get figured out, but Fournette showing a night-and-day difference in a new system will no doubt sting a bit.
Either way, seeing him on the field again will be a sight for sore eyes. As the Bills try to surge back into the AFC Playoff picture, it’s possible that Playoff Lenny ends up making a triumphant return.