The Buffalo Bills head out west to face the Kansas City Chiefs in a Week 14 clash that under the right circumstances could be a potential playoff matchup in January.
The Bills, 6-6 and losers of the last 3 of 4 come into Arrowhead coming off a bye and as healthy as they have been in several weeks. Add in the potential return of Dawson Knox, they could capitalize on the opportunity to get a key win.
The Chiefs, however, are coming off a disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers and need this win in order to stay in contention for the first seed in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Chiefs will be without four starters at key positions on both sides of the ball.
Both teams need the win but only one will walk away increasing their win total and improving their playoff chances.
Below are the full injury details for each team, projected inactives, and final observations.
Buffalo Bills Injury Report
TE Dawson Knox (Right Wrist)
Knox appears set to return following wrist surgery completed prior to Week 8 that sent him to injured reserve. The thought was that he had a partial scapholunate ligament tear and potential TFCC tear with resulting surgery. He returned within the timeframe that was given in the article linked here.
You can see in the clips below Knox catching the football and blocking indicating that he does not have many limitations. He should be activated to the roster with a corresponding veteran release.
CB Kaiir Elam (Ankle)
Elam opened his 21-day practice window after being placed on injured reserve prior to Week 9. He had been playing through an ankle injury that had dated back to the preseason, likely a bone bruise. His return may come down to who they can release and when. Despite his questionable status, the team was not anticipating that he would be activated.
QB Josh Allen (Right Shoulder)
Allen continues to require maintenance on his right throwing shoulder dating back to his right AC joint sprain in Week 6 against the New York Giants. He was on the injury report for six weeks back in 2020 due to his left AC joint sprain and now it has been eight weeks including the bye. He has aggravated it several times afterward and considering it is his throwing shoulder, this is not concerning for him to be on this long.
LB Leonard Floyd (Wrist)
Floyd was able to practice in full all week despite picking up a wrist injury against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s not clear what the exact injury is but he was able to practice in full this week suggesting it’s not a big issue.
CB Dane Jackson (Concussion)
Jackson is officially cleared following his concussion that forced him to leave the game in the first half against the New York Jets. He is on the injury report due to the fact that he did not clear the protocol before they bye. This shows transparency that he has been able to clear protocol.
TE Dalton Kincaid (Thumb)
Kincaid was the other new addition to the injury report with a thumb issue. It’s possible he injured the thumb blocking which could impact his ability to haul in passes. We may see a tape job on his side affected but he has no designation.
S Taylor Rapp (Neck)
Rapp is set to return after suffering stingers in back to back weeks before missing Week 12. The week off allowed for a reduction in symptoms and a full return to contact without pain. There may be underlying issues but they are unknown at this time until potentially after the season.
Kansas City Chiefs Injury Report
RB Isaiah Pacheco (Shoulder)
Pacheco is an interesting case in that reports only indicate a shoulder contusion that forced him to miss practice Wednesday and Thursday. Considering this is described as a contusion, the thought may have been to limit contact to the area to allow him a chance to play Sunday. However, the Chiefs are potentially playing the long game and giving him a rest considering they have McKinnon returning.
S Bryan Cook (Left Ankle)
As seen in the video below, Cook suffered a rather awkward looking injury to his ankle. Whether it was a high-ankle or medial ankle sprain, he was fortunate to avoid an outright fracture. He was unable to practice all week and was ruled out prior to Sunday.
Update: He has since been placed on injured reserve.
OT Donovan Smith (Neck Stinger)
Smith has been dealing with a neck injury that dates back to prior to Week 12 when he appeared on the injury report. He has been able to play through the injury up to this point but appeared to aggravate the neck injury last Sunday.
He suffered a stinger in the first half of the loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, attempting to tough it out. He eventually had to leave the game and was replaced by Wayna Morris. Smith was unable to practice this week as he worked through the symptom management of the injury. We saw how the stingers can be temporary in nature or lead to persistent symptoms that potentially show underlying issues. We saw this with Micah Hyde and Taylor Rapp recently.
LB Drue Tranquill (Concussion)
Tranquill was ruled out with a concussion following a knee to the head in the first quarter as seen below. He was unable to practice all week and was ruled out once the final injury report came out. While his loss will be massive, the fact that Nick Bolton will be returning helps soften the blow.
RB Jerick McKinnon (Groin)
McKinnon has been on the injury report dating back to Week 8 playing through a groin strain. Unfortunately, he appeared to aggravate the injury and was sidelined for the last two games. With Isaiah Pacheco not fully healthy and potentially sidelined, this could be the chance for McKinnon to get back into the swing of things.
WR Rashee Rice (Foot)
Rice has been on the injury report for the last two weeks now due to a foot injury. While this has not caused him to miss any time, this may be more of a maintenance issue. Rice battled a foot injury throughout his final season at SMU due to a broken toe, but these events may be unrelated.
LB Nick Bolton (Left Wrist)
Bolton suffered a dislocated wrist while trying to complete a tackle in the fourth quarter against the Chargers in Week 6. He was placed on injured reserve and underwent surgery and was expected to miss two months. He appeared to return slightly ahead of schedule this week and will play with a club or cast on the wrist and has difficulty wrapping up his tackles.
I do not expect him to be at full strength especially coming back to his first game which could be an opportunity for the Bills to exploit the second level.
Update: He has been activated to the roster.
LB Darius Harris (Wrist)
Harris was able to practice in full all week despite a wrist injury this week. He was added to the team earlier in the season when Nick Bolton went down with his own wrist injury.
QB Patrick Mahomes (Pectoral)
Mahomes is working through a pectoral injury that he appeared to pick up against the Packers. With throwing or kicking positions, usually the side is noted whether it is the side they use. Considering they did not note it, I am assuming this is his left side.
This injury to the left side would not affect him much, though it may be more of a pain issue. Should it be on his right side, he may require more effort throwing down the field and protecting the football when rushing. Mahomes wasn’t limited during the week but certainly something to watch if he’s having trouble getting deep balls down the field.
WR Skyy Moore (Knee)
Moore has been battling a knee injury the last two weeks that has not kept him out of any games but may be more of a nagging issue.
CB L’Jarius Sneed (Knee)
Sneed has been on the injury report all season other than an absence in Week 8. During the preseason, he missed extensive time at the beginning of camp due to the swelling within the knee. This may be more of a chronic load management issue, but he has not missed any games this season despite the knee issues.
WR Kadarius Toney (Hip)
Toney has been working through a hip injury that has had him on the injury report for the last two weeks. He missed Week 12 after experiencing discomfort in the hip on the Friday before the game. He was able to return in Week 13, seeing just twelve offensive snaps.
Buffalo Bills Projected Inactives
OT Alec Anderson
OL Germain Ifedi
DT Poona Ford
S Damar Hamlin
TE Quintin Morris
Activate from IR: TE Dawson Knox, cut LB AJ Klein
Kansas City Chiefs Projected Inactives
OT Donovan Smith
S Bryan Cook- placed on IR.
LB Drue Tranquill
RB Isaiah Pacheco
DE BJ Thompson
Activate from IR: LB Nick Bolton
Update: PS elevations RB Deneric Prince and S Deon Bush
The Buffalo Bills have to take advantage of four starters being ruled out of this game. While their backups are still very capable, the Bills can attack these weaknesses to exploit any mismatches.
They essentially need to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Any AFC win is a plus if there are any tiebreakers needed when it comes to making the playoffs. They just need to get a win and move onto next week.
Top Photo Credit: Buffalo Rumblings