Well, we’re finally here, the playoffs are upon us! We are moments away from the Bills playing in Houston on Wild Card Weekend for the first NFL game of 2020! The Bills are beat up but still in a better spot than the Texans. While I could detail out every injury for Houston & compare it to how the Bills could take advantage, I may be better off writing the sequel to War & Peace. But if you want to get some detailed analysis of the Texans injuries, check out my latest appearance on Locked On Bills with Joe Marino. I have nuggets on JJ Watt, Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, & Will Fuller V. Make sure to check out the pod below!
If you want to know why Houston DE JJ Watt is able to come back so quickly from his pectoral tendon tear, check out my latest article at Buffalo Rumblings!
As this blog is a Bills based site, the Bills injuries are below & my impressions of them.
DE Shaq Lawson (left hamstring strain)
Lawson continues to recover from his hamstring strain suffered late in the Patriots loss but appears on the right track. He has been limited the past week, but with controlled activities, he has looked great on film.
Putting the work in. Not going full blast as expected but got to slowly load that hamstring up & make sure it go through the motions before increasing the speed. Would really benefit to have him Saturday. #Bills https://t.co/YNTq1qwv9a
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 31, 2019
I’ve stated all season that the hamstrings are vital for running & blocking, important responsibilities for a defensive end. It’s not a muscle group that can be babied or managed with certain bracing or necessarily protected. Even with the best rehab & rest, injuries can still occur and Lawson may be a casualty of that.
He missed the Jets game & would probably benefit from another week off, but considering each game now is single elimination, Lawson should not miss. I have a strong suspicion that he plays.
WR Andre Roberts (foot)
Little is still known about Roberts’s foot other than it cost him another game against the Jets. Matt Parrino of NYUp.com noted that he was taking punt & kick returns in practice, accelerating up the field without issue. Any foot injury would limit sudden acceleration as the toes & foot act as a lever to push off the ground to move forward.
Andre Roberts looks like he’s ready to go. Just ran back a kick in ST drills and accelerated with no issue. Likely means Duke is going to have tough time getting on active roster of the formula stays the same. #Bills
— Matt Parrino (@MattParrino) January 1, 2020
If he had something such as turf toe, a foot sprain, fracture; there would be difficulty getting up to speed & slowing down. As long as Roberts is able to play Saturday, then it won’t really matter what’s wrong as long as he can add another dimension to the team.
OT Ty Nsekhe (right ankle contusion)
Nsekhe continues to work back from his right ankle that cost him 5 games this season. He was rolled up on again Sunday & but appears to be working through the injury just fine. This appears to be more of a contusion which was supported by the fact that he’s practicing all week & only has a brace on, the same one that he appeared to be wearing on Sunday.
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) December 31, 2019
I feel strongly that Nsekhe will suit up Sunday & will be in a rotation with OT Cody Ford with Ford taking a bulk of the snaps.
CB Levi Wallace (right medial ankle sprain)
Wallace is the big iffy for Saturday. At the end of the day, he is still dealing with an ankle sprain that requires rest. The part of the ankle he injured was the medial side which is the inside portion of the ankle. The deltoid ligament is the strong inside portion of the ankle that provides stability between the tibia, talus, calcaneus, & navicular. This is the reason why it is so difficult for the inside portion of the ankle to suffer a sprain. If the outside portion of the ankle had the same type of structure, I would imagine we would all run very differently. You can see the makeup of the deltoid ligament below.
The next picture below is a great example of how the injury occurred with Wallace with regards to the motion & the area injured. To note, the ligament does not likely tear that severely for Wallace or a fracture sustained as dictated in the picture.
If this was a regular-season game, Wallace would surely miss Saturday. Considering it’s the playoffs, I imagine that he will try to suit up with a heavy tape job similar to the one seen below. His major limitations will be pivoting, attempting to stay with his assignments. He will be able to run straight & cut off the left ankle, but forcing Wallace to jump, cut to the right, and backpedal will limit his effectiveness. I expect that CB Kevin Johnson gets the start & majority of snaps with Wallace as a backup or used in certain packages.
Ankle is wrapped up tight to prevent any medial/lateral mvt, certainly limiting PF/DF with how he’s walking. Should be able to run straight with the tape loosening as he goes, but this is to help manage swelling during activity. Id expect him to still be limited today. #Bills https://t.co/bvTET7TdIS
— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) January 1, 2020
TE Tommy Sweeney
DT Vincent Taylor
S Kurt Coleman
S Dean Marlowe
OG Ike Boettger
RB TJ Yeldon
OG Ryan Bates
The Bills are in a great position to win their first playoff game since 1995 & move to the divisional round against a likely rematch with the Ravens. I could see this Bills team make a run like the Jaguars did a few years ago; anything can happen in the playoffs.
On top of that, the injuries listed today won’t be real factors outside of Wallace heading into next week. There is always the possibility of new injuries, but thankfully the injuries we do have are at positions of depth at OT & CB.
Regardless of the outcome, you will be hearing from me next week. However, I highly anticipate that I will be coming to you with an injury review & preview heading into the divisional round. GO BILLS!
Top Photo Credit: