It’s incredible the rivalry that has been produced when the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs play every year. It has become must-see TV led by two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
Both teams have had meteoric rises once each team drafted their respective quarterback, once again showing the difference between the haves and have not’s in the NFL. This game has the potential to be an exciting one, though hopefully not a repeat of last year’s playoff game that will be talked about for years to come.
Each team comes into the game with lengthy injury reports but minimal injury designations. Read below for the full injury breakdowns for each team including inactives and Banged Up Bills Best Bet.
BUFFALO BILLS INJURY REPORT
WR Jake Kumerow (Left ankle)
Kumerow will miss his third consecutive game following a left high-ankle sprain in Week 3. We saw how conservative the team was with Ed Oliver with what appeared to be a less severe injury. It’s no surprise that Kumerow, who relies on his speed and agility, will be out one more week plus the bye before he can face his former teammates in Week 8.
DT Jordan Phillips (Left hamstring)
Phillips aggravated his left hamstring injury late in the second quarter, questionable to return with the original injury sustained in Week 2. He was questionable heading into Week 5, playing a total of 21 snaps, 19 before suffering the injury.
He attempted to re-enter the game in the second half, appearing in two plays before motioning to come off and being wholly ineffective. While he could and probably wants to play Sunday, he would be best to do so on a limited snap count. I do not believe that he will suit up after being limited all week.
CB Christian Benford (Right-hand fracture)
Benford returned to practice after missing the last two games due to a broken metacarpal bone in his right hand.
He was at practice with the club around the hand portion but his fingers were free to move as though they were testing to see whether he would be effective with the club. He does not have a designation meaning he will play, but his playing time may be limited to special teams in order to minimize the Chiefs from exploiting his injury. I do expect to see him with some padding on the area to protect the healing bone.
LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)
After being questionable last week despite not practicing Edmunds missed the Week 5 matchup against the Steelers. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a full designation Friday indicating that he would play.
Missing about a week due to a hamstring strain continues to be on par with how the team has managed these injuries in the past. If he does re-injure, he has the bye week to get the much-deserved rest he already needs.
CB Kaiir Elam (Foot)
Elam showed up on the injury report with a foot designation after playing in 100 percent of snaps. He was limited in practice Wednesday before practicing in full on Thursday and Friday. While this is not readily apparent on film, this appears to be more of a minor injury based on the information we have at this time.
DT DaQuan Jones (Hip)
Jones was limited on Wednesday before practicing in full Thursday and Friday with a hip designation. He did play in a season-low 49 percent of snaps but did not come out of the game due to injury.
While not knowing what the injury is on film, a strong guess maybe a hip pointer injury which is a bruising of the iliac crest of the hip. This is where the bony portion on the side of your hips that you can palpate. This is more pain-limiting than anything, but this should not affect his production especially since the defensive line rotates so frequently.
RB Taiwan Jones (Left knee)
Jones appears on the injury report for the first time this season with a knee designation. It’s not known when he suffered the injury, but he has had numerous injuries throughout his career that he had played through.
While he did miss practice Wednesday and Thursday, he did get limited practice on Friday. Considering his role on special teams with rather infrequent play, he was expected to play. He has done this before, not needing much practice to play. Jones is also the exception to the rule with practice participation designations, something I have noticed over the years. He is a veteran, he knows his body, and his role.
Looking at the tweet below provides additional insight into the injury including confirmation of the side.
TE Dawson Knox (Right foot/hamstring)
Battling early season injuries to his right foot suffered in Week 2, back and hip injuries suffered in Week 3, and followed by a hamstring injury in Week 4, Knox got the week off last week. He will very likely not be 100 percent heading into this contest limited more by the foot and hamstring issues.
He may see work in certain packages or limit his snap count, but he appears to be ready when called upon.
CB Cam Lewis (Right forearm)
Lewis continues to be on the injury report practicing in full with a forearm issue dating back to college from a chronic bone infection. He currently wears a pad on the area to protect the prior fracture site.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (Concussion)
McKenzie officially passed the concussion protocol prior to Wednesday’s practice after missing last week due to a hit over the middle in Week 4.
C Mitch Morse (Right Elbow)
Morse continues on the injury report with his elbow injury originally suffered against the Titans in Week 2. This may appear to be a chronic issue at this point but has not affected his play from the looks of it.
DT Ed Oliver (Right ankle)
Oliver continues to work back from a right high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 1 against the Rams. He missed the last three games and while he played in only 33 percent of snaps, he is still not fully healthy. I do expect him to see an increase in snap count this week though as his health improves.
S Jordan Poyer (Ribs)
Poyer missed last week with a rib injury sustained on the game-changing interception in Week 4 against the Ravens. He was limited all week in a red non-contact jersey to avoid aggravation to the area. Fortunately, he had a full practice on Friday without a gameday designation.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS INJURY REPORT
CB Rashad Fenton (Hamstring)
Felton has already been ruled out after not practicing all week due to a hamstring strain late in the win over the Raiders.
To suffer a hamstring strain, not practice, and try to play on a short week would have been a tall order for an already thin secondary.
S Bryan Cook (Concussion)
Cook suffered a concussion in the win over the Raiders Monday night and has not practiced all week, ruling him out for Sunday.
DT Tershawn Wharton (Torn ACL)
Still on the active roster but ruled out, Wharton tore his ACL on Monday night. He has not been placed on injured reserve yet, waiting to complete a corresponding roster move to fill his roster spot.
G Trey Smith (Pectoral)
Smith missed last week dealing with a pectoral injury sustained in Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Considering he practiced in full all week suggests that this was a minor pectoral strain. This could be aggravated if his block gets outside of him and he has to extend the arm of the affected side, overloading the area.
WR Juju Smith-Schuster (Quad/Hamstring)
Smith-Schuster has been working through a quad/hamstring injury since last week but had several full practices this week. He played in 86 percent of snaps last week suggesting that the injury designation is minor.
CB Chris Lammons (Hip)
Lammons appeared to suffer a hip injury on Monday night against the Raiders sometime in the fourth quarter according to the timestamp below.
He did not practice on Wednesday but returned to full practice on Thursday suggesting that this may be more of a pain-limiting issue. He will need to be as close to healthy as possible with Fenton out and the return of McDuffie.
WR Skyy Moore (Ankle)
Moore has been dealing with an ankle injury the last two weeks and will suit up Sunday, practicing in full all week.
LB Nick Bolton (Quad)
Bolton appeared on the injury report following the Week 5 Raiders game with a quad designation. He practiced in full this week indicating this was a minor issue to address on a short week.
WR Mecole Hardman (Heel)
Hardman has been battling a heel injury since appearing on the injury report in Week 3 but not missing any games. He practiced in full all week and has no designation.
K Harrison Butker (Left ankle sprain)
Butler has been out since suffering a low ankle sprain on a kickoff in Week 1. He missed the following four games as he worked through planting his foot to kick off, dealing with pain and swelling.
He appears ready to go Sunday and should have no limitations.
DE Mike Danna (Calf)
Danna has been working through a calf injury since suffering the injury in Week 2. He has missed the past three games but with two full practices, this week appears to be on track to play. Even though he is cleared to play, the calf is still likely not fully healthy and he could re-injure the muscle on Sunday.
He is not the force off the edge as compared to some of his teammates, but if he goes down, this could hurt the depth of the position. With Frank Clark coming off an illness
DE Frank Clark (Illness)
Clark was limited Wednesday and Thursday with an illness this week. He will have to make sure he is hydrated and well-rested to ensure that he does not wear down during the game, rotating in and out frequently to keep him fresh.
TE Travis Kelce (Hip/Back)
Kelce has a hip/back designation following Monday’s contest but practiced in full all week. He did put the team on his back, scoring four touchdowns against the Raiders as he continues to be one of the best tight ends in the game. Even if he was questionable heading into this game, I would expect it would take a more significant injury to keep Kelce out of this contest.
CB Trent McDuffie (Hamstring)
McDuffie is slated to return following his Week 1 hamstring injury that occurred in the 3rd quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. The injury was significant enough to suggest that this was more of a severe Grade 1 strain or even possibly a Grade 2 strain, meaning there was moderate tearing of the muscle tissue.
He was able to practice all week while in his 21-day window on IR before they officially activated him. According to head coach Andy Reid, they may wait one more week to activate him.
If activated, there is a chance to re-injure the area, but with time and rehab, I believe that he will be able to get through the game without a problem.
BUFFALO BILLS PROJECTED INACTIVES
WR Jake Kumerow
TE Tommy Sweeney
OT Justin Murray
DT Jordan Phillips
CB Cam Lewis
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS PROJECTED INACTIVES
S Bryan Cook
CB Rashad Fenton
DT Tershawn Wharton
QB Shane Buechele
RB Ronald Jones
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
I’m picking the Bills to cover the spread at -2.5 (-115) at BetMGM.
Let’s keep it simple this week. Last week, I got cute and tried to find value in winning a close game. The Bills should be able to win by more than a field goal, especially with the Chiefs secondary as beat up as it is.
These are the two best teams in the AFC this season, it’s a shame it’s not on primetime. However, this game will come down to turnovers and whoever has the ball last. Injuries could play a part in this, especially the Chiefs’ secondary. The Bills are still working through a ton of injuries despite the minimal designations on the injury report.
While I do not believe that this will be a shootout of the playoff game last season, the Bills are on a mission this season to vanquish the team that has ended their Super Bowl hopes the last two seasons. The Chiefs will look to show that they still have what it takes to compete for AFC supremacy and with Patrick Mahomes under center, they can do just that.
Whoever wins this game will put themselves in the driver’s seat for the number one seed come playoff time. Here’s to enjoying an exciting game with minimal injuries and a win heading into the bye week for the Buffalo Bills.
Top Photo Credit: Jamie Squire | Credit: Getty Images