Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati Bengals Divisional Round Injury Preview

Buffalo Bills vs Cincinnati Bengals Divisional Round Injury Preview

The stakes have never been higher for the Buffalo Bills or the Cincinnati Bengals as they get set to square off on Sunday in the divisional round in Orchard Park.

The Bills are attempting to get back to the AFC Championship game for the second time in three seasons as the Super Bowl favorite in the preseason. The Bengals are looking to defend their AFC Championship title from a year ago and avenge their Super Bowl loss. Both teams are hot coming into this game with extended winning streaks, playing their best football at the right time.

Buffalo is getting healthy at the right time after seeing numerous players on the injury report all season with several season-ending injuries. The Bengals have suffered several notable injuries of their own but have been hampered by a lack of offensive line continuity due to several major injuries over the last month.

Below are the injury reports for each team along with inactives and Banged Up Bills Best Bet.



DT DaQuan Jones (Calf)

This may be the biggest injury in terms of impact heading into the game. Jones played in 69 percent of the snaps which is not unusual for him this season, but it isn’t clear when he suffered the calf strain on Sunday. He played up until the very end and did not appear hobbled at any point during the film review.

Jones was limited all week and despite being questionable, I expect that he plays. He will likely have a compression sleeve or kinesiotape over the area to help provide extra support. I also expect that his snap count is reduced so as to not exacerbate the injury. Jones can still be effective in a limited role, but would not want to lose him for the AFC Championship, should the Bills win the game. 

DT Jordan Phillips (Right shoulder)

Phillips continues to work through his right shoulder injury originally sustained in Week 13 against the New England Patriots. By video, there was a strong worry for a labrum tear which has been further supported by his struggles over the last month. 

When he has played, he has struggled in maintaining his block on the right side and tackling. He has at times been seen leaving the field supporting his arm or leaving it dangling, suggesting that it was subluxing which means partially dislocating. This is an unpleasant feeling and gives the shoulder an immediate feeling of weakness. The torn labrum prevents the head of the humerus from staying in the socket which leads to shoulder instability. 

I would expect that he does try to play after a week off, especially after not being able to practice last week. This is an injury that Phillips will have to manage for a little longer and then get surgery in the offseason. 


CB Dane Jackson (Knee)

Jackson is officially active after suffering a knee injury with 2:20 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s game. Video is extremely limited as the camera pans away from his side of the field as he was injured on broadcast and All-22 view. 

It looked as though the training staff was looking at his right knee coming off the field. He was questionable to return and was healthy enough to do so, but Kaiir Elam was effective in relief, giving Jackson the rest of the afternoon off. Until we get more information on the injury or if he re-injures it, then it’s difficult to state how his performance will be affected. I expect Jackson to return to his starting role this week.

CB Cam Lewis (Right forearm)

Lewis remains on the injury report with his chronic bone infection in his forearm from a fracture in college. As players who are on the injury report require treatment, it still is not clear what type of treatment Lewis receives every week.

WR Isaiah McKenzie (Left hamstring)

McKenzie was able to practice in full this week after missing the wild card game against the Dolphins due to a hamstring strain suffered in practice on Wednesday. 

Looking at the video below, he has a compression sleeve and tape on the left thigh to maximize healing which tells us the side affected. There is a chance to reinjure the area, but the only way he doesn’t play is if he is a healthy scratch. 

S Jordan Poyer (Knee)

Poyer continues to manage his lateral meniscus tear, the latest injury in a long season for the Pro Bowl safety. It’s not clear which knee has the tear in it but he has still been able to play fairly well with no discernible drop-off in play. 

Despite the two elbow injuries, a foot sprain, pneumothorax, and the knee this season, Poyer continues to battle in his quest for not only another contract but a Super Bowl title. 

QB Josh Allen (Right elbow)

On the injury report since mid-November due to the UCL sprain, he suffered against the New York Jets, Allen has come out and stated how this is something he has to manage.

He is likely working on continued strengthening and any modalities that can maximize the tissue to heal properly along with managing any pain. There is always a concern that he could injure it with another hit or sudden stress to the elbow, but this is an injury that Allen has continued to play through even when it was at its worst and has still performed well.


S Micah Hyde (Neck)

It was already known that Hyde would not play this weekend, having been ruled out last week by Sean McDermott.

Micah Hyde sat down with The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia to further discuss the rehab and progress so far following his neck surgery. If you want to learn more about the procedure, click the link here for the original article linked inside and an update.

In Joe’s article, they discuss the hurdles and benchmarks needed to be cleared in order to play. It doesn’t exactly inspire hope, but it is also realistic in the overall approach towards how Micah, the doctor, and team are handling this. Go read the article for yourself.



OT Jonah Williams (Left knee)

Williams was unable to practice all week following his second patellar dislocation this season, this time to his left knee. He suffered the same injury in Week 5 in his right knee but was able to return to play the following week with a brace. 

Credit: Chrisbaileyorthopaedics.com

Unfortunately, there is either additional damage such as a ligament tear that stabilizes the kneecap during movement, or cartilage damage from the bones sliding over each other. He was ruled out Friday prior to practice and even if the Bengals do move onto the AFC Championship round, it would not be certain that he would be able to play.

In his place starting will be second year OL Jackson Carman.

G Alex Cappa (Left ankle)

Cappa has been ruled out for his second consecutive game following a left high-ankle sprain late in the third quarter in Week 18. He was seen on a scooter in the locker room following the game and even this week, appears to be using the scooter for long-distance mobility. 

He was deemed week-to-week and considering he can’t even walk normally, it wasn’t expected that he would be able to play Sunday. With Cappa out again and with the prior loss of OT La’el Collins due to an ACL tear, this continues to hurt not only the depth of the line but the continuity which could affect the timing of the offense.

Filling in for Cappa will be veteran OL Max Scharping.


CB Tre Flowers (Hamstring)

Flowers is officially doubtful for the game, only able to get a limited practice in on Friday after not practicing Wednesday or Thursday. While not a big contributor on defense, coming in only on third downs to guard tight ends, he is heavily used on special teams.

He only played in 3 percent of snaps on Sunday with the rest of his work on special teams which makes finding when the injury occurred very difficult. Doubtful players rarely play and if they do, are generally ineffective. If Flowers does suit up, I would expect he sees time only on special teams or as an emergency reserve option that could be exploited by the Bills’ offense.

CB Eli Apple (Neck)

Apple left the game late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, missing the final few plays of the half before returning after halftime. On film, he gets hit in the left shoulder, but other reports indicated that it was his right shoulder. 

However, he is on the injury report with a neck designation which strongly suggests that he was dealing with a stinger. This would fit the mechanism of injury seen on film and explain the change in designation. This is further supported by the fact that he was able to return so quickly. Stingers are normally brief in nature but with ones that linger could suggest underlying pathologies. But for now, it’s the playoffs and these guys will do whatever it takes to suit up and play.

DE Joseph Ossai (Left shoulder)

Ossai was injured at the beginning of the fourth quarter while trying to tackle Ravens QB Tyler Huntley. He fell in his pursuit onto the elbow/shoulder area on the left side. The broadcast did not reveal this, but reports indicated that he was walking off the field with his arm dangling. 

By video alone, it’s difficult to state what the injury is other than maybe a minor AC joint sprain. While he was on the injury report this week which indicates that he is receiving some type of treatment, it has not limited him in practice. He appears ready to go for Sunday.

S Michael Thomas (Hamstring)

Thomas required assistance to get off the field on kickoff early in the fourth quarter on Sunday. This came immediately after the Sam Hubbard fumble recovery TD that ended up sealing the win. 

Despite the assistance off the field, Thomas was able to practice in full this week, unusual for a hamstring strain. However, he is a core special teamer which means that even if he is not at 100 percent, the team can afford to put him out there knowing he is used infrequently which reduces the risk of injury. 


G Ike Boettger

LB Baylon Spector

TE Tommy Sweeney

S Jared Mayden

CB Christian Benford


OT Jonah Williams

CB Tre Flowers

G Alex Cappa

RB Chris Evans

DE Jeff Gunter

TE Devin Asiasi

Call ups: OT Isaiah Prince

Banged Up Bills Best Bet

Record: 8-5, +3.00 units

This game is going to come down to who has the ball last and who makes fewer mistakes. Despite both teams coming in with solid defensive units, this game will be all about the offense which could see this game be a shootout. The game could go in a million different directions which makes the winner all but certain. This makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Over at 49 (-110) at BetMGM.

Final Thoughts

This is the kind of matchup the NFL wants each and every week. Two young and insanely talented quarterbacks duking it out in front of millions for the right to move onto the AFC Championship game. It’s a shame that only one team can move on because each team could easily win the Super Bowl and be well-deserving of the honor.

If the Bills can take advantage of the Bengals offensive line being down three starters, this could stifle the timing of the offense and lead to turnovers. This would also lessen the threat of the rushing attack, though that hasn’t been a factor much this season.

As mentioned above, this will come down to who can make fewer mistakes and who can capitalize on them. Whoever has the ball last will likely be the victor, crushing the opponent’s fan’s dreams. This has the potential to be a fantastic game and hopefully another chapter in what is expected to be a rivalry for years to come.

Top Photo Credit: Marca.com