The Buffalo Bills vs the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday Night Football, it doesn’t get any better than this! These are the types of games that fans want, the best of the best facing off with everything on the line. This game is more like the first round of the playoffs than a regular season game, but whoever comes out victorious will help determine their playoff fate.
Injuries have been a focal point for both teams this season, hitting the teams at different times and with different results. Despite the severity, both teams are championship caliber and have managed to march on to double-digit wins.
Below are the full injury reports for both teams heading into the game along with projected inactives and Banged Up Bills Best Bet.
BUFFALO BILLS INJURY REPORT
S Jordan Poyer (Right knee)
The only questionable player heading into this week, Poyer has been working through a right knee injury originally sustained in the Dolphins game below.
The assumption is that it is a bad contusion that was aggravated playing on the cold, hard ground last week. He was unable to practice this week other than a limited practice Friday. This is likely the team’s way to keep him fresh for gameday and prevent any flare-ups.
The Bills are undefeated with Poyer in the lineup and with a game this important, I don’t see how he doesn’t play.
QB Josh Allen (Right elbow)
Allen continues to practice in full and receive treatment for his elbow injury originally sustained in Week 9 against the New York Jets. He has begun to put more zip back on his throws and looked like the Josh of old, but he will still continue to manage this elbow sprain until the offseason.
DE Boogie Basham (Calf)
Basham will return this week following missing last week’s contest against the Chicago Bears with a calf injury. It wasn’t clear what side or when he suffered the injury against the Miami Dolphins, but Basham coming off the edge will be welcomed with the recent loss of Bengals OT La’el Collins due to an ACL/MCL tear last week.
He is still at risk to re-injure the calf, but the team will likely manage his snaps through the defensive line rotation to keep him and everyone fresh.
WR Stefon Diggs (Illness)
Diggs missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness before returning to practice in full the rest of the week. He had his usual veteran rest day on Friday.
RB Taiwan Jones (Hamstring)
Jones was a surprise addition to the injury report this week, working through a hamstring strain. It’s not known when he suffered the injury, but he does not have a designation and he has played through multiple injuries before. Considering his role on special teams, he can risk getting out there for brief periods of time to get the job done.
TE Dawson Knox (Right hip)
Knox worked through a right hip pointer injury from Saturday when he fell to the ground early in the first quarter. He was able to return to the game and finished but wore a non-contact jersey this week to prevent any aggravation to the area.
CB Cam Lewis (Right forearm)
Lewis continues to be a full participant on the injury report due to a chronic bone infection in his right forearm dating back to an injury from college. What that exact treatment is that receives is unknown at this time.
LB Matt Milano (Left knee)
Milano continues to limit his workload during the week as he works though his knee injury originally sustained against the Patriots in Week 13. At this point, there is an unknown variable that is presenting itself as to why his knee injury is lingering. This will be an injury that we hear about after the season that will only add to what should be an All-Pro season.
C Mitch Morse (Concussion)
It was announced on Thursday that Morse had cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice in full. He has successfully recovered from his sixth publicly documented concussion in just over one week’s time as he did the previous one in 2020.
As with every injury, there is an obvious concern for future injury, but the team and Morse have taken steps to mitigate the risks. This includes practicing with a Guardian Cap this week, not rushing his timeline for recovery, and discussing his health with the best doctors in the country.
DT Jordan Phillips (Right shoulder)
Despite missing portions of the game last week due to aggravating the right shoulder injury that cost him the past two games. It is suspected that he is working through a labrum tear in his shoulder, leading to frequent instability.
I would expect that his snaps are limited to specific packages or obvious passing downs. Playing the run may only aggravate the shoulder as he tackles in close quarters, but he will still have to use the shoulder blocking in either situation.
CB Christian Benford (Oblique)
Benford was activated this week following his four-game stint for his oblique injury suffered against the Detroit Lions in Week 12. The expectation is that he can be activated to the roster with a corresponding roster move, but the team has the window activated now in case of injury or if he is a better option than anyone else on the roster currently.
CINCINNATI BENGALS INJURY REPORT
DE Sam Hubbard (Left calf)
The only player questionable for the Bengals, he is currently dealing with a left calf injury. He originally injured it against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, playing in just 36 percent of snaps.
The expectation was that he was to be out four weeks, returning for the playoffs as seen below.
He was able to practice all week but was limited each day. Whether this meant that he only did a little or a lot is unknown, but to return in two weeks after projecting four would be really aggressive. The Bengals do have DE Trey Hendrickson playing through a broken right wrist so to lose Hubbard again due to re-injury wouldn’t be ideal. I suspect that he sits one more week, waiting for the Ravens in Week 18.
CB Jalen Davis (Thumb)
Davis returns after missing the last two games due to a thumb injury. Most of his snaps are seen on special teams which means his impact on defense is minimal.
TE Hayden Hurst (Calf)
Hurst returns to the starting lineup after missing the last three games due to a right calf injury. The injury was originally sustained while playing the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this season.
He does not have a game day designation, able to practice in full this week.
WR Trent Taylor (Hamstring)
OT La’el Collins (Left ACL, MCL)
Taylor has been playing through a hamstring strain originally suffered against the Cleveland Browns back in Week 14. He sees most of his playing time on special teams.
Collins tore his left ACL and MCL on the play below, ending his season. His loss means that the Bengals will have to replace their right tackle and lose some of the continuity that they have had all season.
BUFFALO BILLS PROJECTED
TE Tommy Sweeney
OL Justin Murray
S Dean Marlowe
LB Baylon Spector
CB Xavier Rhodes
CINCINNATI BENGALS PROJECTED INACTIVES
DE Sam Hubbard
G Jackson Carman
OT D’Ante Smith
RB Chris Evans
DT Jay Tufele
Banged Up Bills Best Bet
Record: 6-5 +1.00 unit
While the Moneyline seems like the best bet as you win if the Bills win, the odds at -115 pay out slightly less than if you bet the Bills to cover at -1 (-110). This makes my betting pick one unit on the Bills to cover -1 (-110) at BetMGM.
This game has the potential to be everything it is billed as currently. Two your electric quarterbacks on teams that have historically been bad, now at the top of the conference. Both are legitimate Super Bowl contenders and the outcome of this game will most certainly influence the path in the playoffs to the big game.
Despite the injury report showing minimal issues, both teams have worked through multiple season ending injuries. This has only demonstrated the resolve of each team in their quest for the ultimate prize. A big game in front of the nation on Monday night, it almost feels like this is a warmup for what could be a rematch next month.
Top Photo Credit: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images