Almost halfway through the season, the AFC East appears to be one of the better divisions in not only the AFC, but the entire NFL! The Buffalo Bills lead the division at 5-1, a place familiar to them since 2020, but the surging New York Jets are following closely behind at 4-2.
The New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins are both rounding out the bottom of the division at 3-3, but have had different paths to their record. While the Patriots have been limited by talent, they have been able to put together back-to-back wins to even their record. Unfortunately, after a 3-0 start, the Dolphins have hit the skids, losing their last three games as they have an injury list that numbers into the double digits. Injuries continue to shape and alter postseason expectations each and every week.
Below are the detailed injury reports for each AFC East team heading into Week 7.
Note: With the AFC East injury reports, not every injury on the report will have a detailed analysis. While I do want to highlight every injury, some don’t have any context. For those that do have context, there will be as much medical analysis as I can provide.
CB Keion Crossen (Knee)
Crossen appears on the injury report again after being on the report in Week 5 with a glute and shoulder designation. The glute injury originally occured in practice and sounded like a proximal hamstring injury. There wasn’t any specifics on the shoulder injury but now dealing with a knee issue suggests that Crossen is significantly banged up right now.
Crossen did leave the game with a knee injury sometime in the early second half of the game. Looking at the game film, it is not clear when he suffered the injury.
He only appeared in 12 defensive snaps and 11 special teams snaps according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. With the depth issues at cornerback, potentially losing Crossen after not practicing earlier in the week would not bode well for a team trying to break a three-game losing streak.
CB Xavien Howard (Groin)
Howard is still working through his groin issue dating back to suffering the injury prior to Week 3. At times, the injury report has clarified it as ‘Groins’ stating that he had both sides injured. Earlier in the season, he did have an ice pack to his right leg, giving away the side affected. This is an injury that will not likely go away until after the bye week.
He will continue to be limited with lateral movements, flipping his hips to stay with his
assignment and jumping. Being forced to play in the majority of snaps either may be a necessity, potentially further exposing him to injury.
Despite his questionable status, he will ultimately have to play due to the depth issues around the roster. Teammate Byron Jones still hasn’t even begun practicing as he recovers from his March surgery that originally had a two month timeline.
OT Terron Armstead (Toe)
Armstead returned to practice for the first time since Week 2, specifically September 23, as he continues to work through a toe issue that has plagued him over the same time frame. At this point, it is either a significant turf toe issue or this has become a plantar plate issue. Based on my past observations, this may be his right toe. He missed last week after re-injuring it against the Jets, then seeing a specialist in NYC for further assessment.
Despite the injury, Armstead still appears to be the better option at tackle. He has played in at least 97 percent of snaps since Week 1 with the exception of Week 5, playing in 12 percent due to injury. I don’t forsee this injury going away anytime soon and with the goal to manage the issue until after the season. I expect him to suit up again this week.
DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Back)
Ogbah suffered a back injury at some point during the late first half based on the timing of the tweets below.
Without a timestamp of when the injury happened in the game, it is difficult to identify what he exactly did. His snap counts are all in line with what he has performed with in prior games suggesting he did return to the game. However, two DNP’s Wednesday and Thursday doesn’t bode well for Ogbah to play Sunday. This may have also been an injury that flared up more after the game suggesting a possible strain to the area.
DT Christian Wilkins (Hand)
Wilkins pops up on the report with a hand injury, not practicing on Wednesday followed by a limited practice Thursday and Friday. Details of the injury are unavailable, but other than maintaining his block on the affected side, Wilkins could still put a club on the hand and still be effective providing pressure up the middle. This does not appear to be an injury that will largely limit Wilkins.
CB Kader Kahou (Oblique)
Kahou missed last week’s contest against the Vikings due to an oblique injury after initially being listed as doubtful. While limited this week, Kohou has a chance to play though still will not be 100 percent.
TE Durham Smythe (Hamstring)
Smythe missed last week’s contest against the Vikings after suffering a hamstring strain in the second half against the Jets in Week 5. With limited practices all week, Smythe has a chance to play but may still not be at full health. Looking at the research, hamstring strains suffer a re-injury of about 30 percent and the highest timeframe to suffer the re-injury is within two weeks of the first injury.
An extra week off would help his cause, but due to depth issues and the urgency for wins, Smythe may get out there.
QB Skylar Thompson (Right Thumb)
Thompson had to leave the game in the second quarter after hitting his right thumb on the helmet of Vikings defender Patrick Jones. Based on the tweet below and the mechanism of injury, this suggests that this was a sprain or that he simply hit the thumb, causing pain and swelling.
Not having the ability to grip the football made it difficult for him to return to the game. He was limited in practice all week as he likely worked through strengthening the area to improve his grip, attempting to throw without pain. Considering he has been relegated to third-string due to Tua Tagovailoa’s return and Teddy Bridgewater as the backup, this should allow him to get fully healthy.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Left shoulder)
Waddle briefly left the game with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter following a 49-yard completion to open the drive. Falling out of bounds, Waddle hits the ground with his elbow first, jamming the head of the humerus in the shoulder socket.
Based on the analysis of friend Dr. David Chao, Pro Football Doc, he suggests that this is a shoulder subluxation. This is essentially a partial dislocation of the joint that doesn’t fully pop out of the socket. These sometimes can cause a labrum tear, leading to further issues.
There is a chance that he suffered an AC joint sprain, but he comes down pretty hard on the elbow directly, rather than at an angle for a possible sprain. Waddle did return to the game and regardless of the injury, could play with a harness to provide stability to the area. This may limit his reach and catch radius and blocking due to weakness in the area, but he can realistically play through the issue.
He was out at practice in a red non-contact jersey to allow the shoulder to heal, getting in limited practices all week. There likely will not be a decline in his play other than if he has to reach to high-pointe the ball or reach out to the side, stressing the full available range of motion in the shoulder. Do not be alarmed if he stays on the injury report for the next few weeks as he rehabs the shoulder.
OT Greg Little (Achilles)
Little has been on the injury report for a variety of injuries this year including the Achilles, hip, and finger. These injuries have not been serious enough to have him miss any games, but has occasionally forced him to miss several plays. The Achilles may be more of a general strain in the area, but this does not appear to impact him in terms of his game play. He practiced in full on Wednesday and then had limited practices Thursday and Friday suggesting that he aggravated the issue at some point during the week.
In addition to the Achilles, according to Alf Arteaga of 3 Yards Per Carry, Little broke his fingers against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 and has not been effective since. This was discussed on The Rockpile Report AFC East Roundup Week 6.
LB Jerome Baker (Hip)
Baker appears on the injury report with a hip designation, though there was not any in-game designation for him according to media reports. He played in 100 percent of snaps last week and despite limited practices Wednesday and Thursday, this suggests it may be more of a maintenance issue.
RB Raheem Mostert (Knee)
Mostert continues to work through a knee designation, practicing in full Thursday and Friday after being limited on Wednesday. I had mentioned last week that he was coming off his knee procedure of autologous chondrocyte implantation that helped the cartilage damage heal. This may be more of a maintenance issue as he works through the season.
DL Zach Sieler (Hand)
Seiler has been on the injury report since Week 4 with the same designation and not missing a game. He played in 73 percent of snaps last week and has been a heavy contributor all season.
DB Elijah Campbell (Foot)
Despite being questionable last week and requiring several limited practices, Campbell was able to suit up and play exclusively special teams. The injury does not appear to be fully resolved, but he was able to get in full practices this week. With his role on special teams, there is a lesser concern that he re-injures the area due to the infrequent nature of special teams as compared to defense.
TE Tanner Connor (Knee)
On the injury report since the preseason, Connor continues to work through his knee issue, though the specifics of the injury were never revealed. He continues to practice in full.
LB Sam Eguavoen (Illness)
He missed practice on Thursday due to illness, returning to a full designation on Friday, not requiring a gameday designation.
CB Nik Needham (Right Achilles surgery)
Needham suffered a right Achilles tear while diving to tackle Vikings WR Adam Thielan with 6:05 left in the second quarter. Needham was trying to stay with Thielan over the middle and began to lose his balance. He began to lose his balance, causing his weight to shift forward, placing his foot into dorsiflexion as he was trying to push through the foot to stay up. This sudden lengthening under tension while the muscle is trying to contract overloaded the tendon, causing the injury.
He is done for the season and while he may be ready for training camp next year, he may not regain his prior level of play for at least another year. Certainly a blow to an already struggling secondary.
DE Trey Flowers (Foot)
Flowers suffered a foot injury sometime in the first half of the game, though its not clear how he injured it as there is not an in-game injury designation.
More information may be discovered in the coming days, but Flowers will miss at least the next four games as he recovers.
NEW YORK JETS
DE Jermaine Johnson (Ankle)
Johnson will miss his second consecutive game following an ankle injury suffered in the Week 5 win over the Miami Dolphins. At the time, the injury was termed ‘day-to-day’, but declined to identify whether this was a low or high-ankle sprain.
Based on the fact that he has not practiced since the injury strongly suggests that he is dealing with a high-ankle sprain. Based on the timeline we saw for teammate Quincy Williams, he did not practice for two weeks before returning in a limited fashion, then practicing in full. Depending on the severity, Johnson could miss one more week, but I do expect him to at least begin practicing next week.
WR Elijah Moore (Personal)
Moore will be out as the team works to trade him to another team.
S Ashtyn Davis (Hamstring)
Davis showed up on the injury report with a hamstring designation, limited all week with the exception of Friday. While a full practice would indicate that he would play. It make come down to how he feels in pre-game warmups.
The Jets finally have some depth that can allow them rest their key contributors as needed. With all the backpedaling and sudden acceleration necessary, Davis may further injure the area. This is the first week that he is showing up on the injury report with this designation which leads me to believe that he may miss the game.
OT Duane Brown (Left shoulder)
Brown continues to work through his left rotator cuff tear suffered at the beginning of the season. This put him on injured reserve for the first four weeks of the season. He has played in every offensive snap since he returned and has been a steadying force on the offensive line.
While he is still susceptible to getting beat on the left side, his veteran savvy should allow him to keep his assignment squared up in front of him. This will prevent the left arm from getting overextended and caught out of position.
WR Braxton Berrios (Back)
Berrios appeared on the injury report with a back designation and was limited Wednesday and Thursday before practicing in full Friday. He did not have an in-game designation, making whatever he is dealing with hard to locate.
LB Quincy Williams (Left ankle)
Williams has been working through a left high-ankle sprain suffered back in Week 3. As he is on the injury report, he is not fully healthy yet, but he was able to play in 81 percent of snaps last week after missing the last two games. Expect his play to continue to improve in the coming weeks.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
WR Nelson Agholor (Hamstring)
After injuring his hamstring in the Week 5 win over the Lions, Agholor missed the following week due to injury. He did not practice on Thursday but was limited on Friday and Saturday. While we have seen fellow teammates be fast healers, Agholor may benefit from another week off.
DL Christian Barmore (Right knee)
Barmore continues to work through a knee injury suffered late in practice prior to Week 6. He had a season-low 29 percent of snaps on defense with his normal ranges somewhere in the mid-fifties percentage. However, according to reports, he further injured his right knee against Cleveland on Sunday.
He played through the injury this past week and practiced in a limited fashion, making him questionable for the game. Based on last week, it looks as though he will suit up again.
WR Kendrick Bourne (Turf toe)
Bourne is working through a case of turf toe according to the reports below. This limited him to four offensive snaps last week and this is not an injury that goes away quickly. As a receiver, he must be on the balls of his feet often when sprinting and cutting.
Having to push off an injured big toe only makes things more difficult to change direction suddenly or land after jumping. I do expect him to play but not get heavily involved in the offense.
G Mike Onwenu (Ankle)
Onwenu was limited all this week with an ankle designation. Regrettably, there is not any additional info on the mechanism of injury or reports indicating how long he will be out.
CB Shaun Wade (Illness)
Wade missed Friday and Saturday’s practices with an illness. If Jennings or Jones cannot suit up, Wade may be forced to step in to take some snaps. However, he has been inactive frequently and I don’t expect that to change.
CB Jalen Mills (Illness)
Mills was limited Friday and Saturday with an illness that he described as a cough. He said he was a full participant despite the injury report stating otherwise. He appears on track to play Monday night with the extra rest.
CB Anfernee Jennings (Calf)
Jennings appeared on the injury report Saturday with a calf designation, officially limited in practice. This suggests that he suffered the injury in practice and if that is the case, I do not see how he can try and suit up on an injury at his position. If he does try to play through the injury, he will be a step slower on the affected side and lack any purposeful burst. I
DL Lawrence Guy (Shoulder)
Guy continues to be limited following a shoulder injury in Week 3 against Baltimore. He has missed the last three games with the injury but was limited in practice all week. The video was not available as to what he is dealing with as the broadcast view cut away as he was injured. After three weeks off, I would expect that he may be healthy enough to play.
CB Jonathan Jones (Ankle)
Jones missed last week’s contest against the Browns with an ankle injury originally sustained in the win over the Lions. The specifics of the injury were not available and could not be easily found on tape. Despite being limited in practice all week, I expect that he returns to play.
QB Mac Jones (Left high-ankle sprain)
Despite being questionable, Jones is moving exceptionally well on the practice field after missing the last three games due to a left high-ankle sprain as seen in the video below.
By this point, he looks to be able to scramble and evade pressure in the pocket along with stepping into his throw. This timeline to miss three games is common and while the ankle is not fully healed yet, he can perform at a level of consistency in order to run the offense.
I know there is gamesmanship at play with the designation, but it would be incredibly surprising to not play Jones considering the experience and talent. Bailey Zappe has performed incredibly well in the backup role, securing two wins, but that is the role of the backup, to keep everything on track. Could Zappe command the offense and be better than Jones? Possibly.
But I think teams would figure the rookie out quickly, forcing Jones back under center. Jones appears to be the long-term answer for success in New England, but Zappe could keep things on track in the event that Jones is out again for any reason.
TE Jonnu Smith (Right low ankle sprain)
Another quick healer, Smith missed only one game in Week 5 with his right low ankle sprain. This injury was also termed ‘week-to-week’, suggesting that he would miss more time, but not enough to be placed on injured reserve.
He played in 43 percent of snaps last week, collecting two receptions for 61 yards in the win over the Browns. I do expect his snap count to increase to prior injury levels.
LB Josh Uche (Hamstring)
Uche injured his hamstring late in practice last week and was eventually ruled out prior to Week 6. He was limited all week which makes identifying whether he suits up difficult, but he does have a role on both defense and special teams, making his absence felt more than others. Considering he is only a week and change out from the original injury, the team may err on the side of caution, keeping him out one more week.
T Isaiah Wynn (Shoulder)
Wynn was limited all week with a shoulder injury, officially questionable for the game against the Bears. Since training camp, he has been in the discussion of trade talks as he appears to be unhappy with the team.
Whether the injury is a way to limit his exposure to injury or if this is truly legit, we do not know. We also do not have an idea of how or when he injured the area, making it difficult to identify whether he plays.
RB Damien Harris (Hamstring)
Harris is a surprise activation for Week 7 after injuring his hamstring in Week 5, reported being a multi-week injury. Based on the mechanism of injury and reports, I was expecting that he would at least miss this week and possibly be questionable for next week.
However, he appears to have avoided a more severe injury, though his re-injury risk remains higher. The chance to re-injure his hamstring is highest in the two weeks following the original injury and Harris did battle through a hamstring injury on the injury report for the next month.
Ideally, he works in a rotation and doesn’t take the lion’s share of carries, further stressing the already healing hamstring.
The Buffalo Bills are on bye this week. If you are looking for the latest injury information from the win over the Kansas City Chiefs including information on Jordan Poyer and Spencer Brown, please click here.
Top Photo Credit: The Phinsider