The NFL regular season is quickly approaching the end with several teams already out of it, many teams are still fighting for a playoff spot, and only a few already secured to extend their season past Week 18. Despite those scenarios present in the AFC East alone, the injury reports still march on as there are still games to play and player development to still happen for next year.
We have the Buffalo Bills facing the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, the New York Jets hosting the Washington Commanders, the New England Patriots facing the Denver Broncos, and finally, the Miami Dolphins hosting the Dallas Cowboys.
Get the latest injury information for each AFC team as the playoff seeds begin to get claimed this weekend and beyond.
OL Robert Hunt (Hamstring)
Hunt continues to work back from his hamstring injury originally suffered in Week 8, missing the next two games. He was able to return to play in Week 12, playing only in one special teams snap. He returned back to what was a full workload in Week 13 but suffered an aggravation of the same hamstring, leading him to miss the last two games and he will miss another one.
DB Elijah Campbell (Knee)
Campbell popped up on the injury report on Friday with a limited designation after possibly suffering an injury in practice.
WR Tyreek Hill (Left High-Ankle Sprain)
Hill wisely sat out last week’s game against the New York Jets due to his high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 14. While he remains in pursuit of his 2,000 yard receiving season, he may not get there if he can’t use the elite speed for yards after the catch.
He will continue to have trouble pivoting off the left side and cutting towards the left, leaving him a relative shell of himself for the time being. After not practicing Wednesday, he was limited Thursday and Friday. He would benefit from another week off but may play due to his pursuit of the record and the opponent.
S Jevon Holland (Knees)
Holland has missed the last three games as he deals with MCL sprains to both knees back in Week 12. Considering he doesn’t have the ability to pivot or push off either knee, he can’t even attempt to play until he is healthy enough. This continues to be a wait and see injury as he slowly works back, limited all week.
OT Austin Jackson (Oblique)
Despite being limited all week due to an oblique injury suffered against the Titans, Jackson ended up playing in only 48 percent of snaps, possibly splitting playing time so as to not aggravate the injury. Despite the questionable designation, Jackson stayed on Friday that he would play.
DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Hamstring)
Ogbah left Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury late with the Dolphins up 27-0 midway through the third quarter. Considering he was limited all week, this may be more of a maintenance issue, but ill-timed.
CB Xavien Howard (Hip)
Howard missed last week with a hip designation that I don’t have a lot of information on. He has played through plenty of injuries but this one appeared to be too much to play on Sunday. Fortunately, he was not needed and looks to potentially return to play against a much more formidable opponent in the Cowboys.
CB Cam Smith (Hamstring)
Smith left the game in the second half of Sunday’s win with a hamstring injury and has seen most of his work this season on special teams. Considering how infrequent special teams is, Smith may have a shot at playing.
RB De’Von Achane (Toe)
Achane suffered a toe injury against the Tennessee Titans last Monday and was limited all last week but played on Sunday. He had a relatively quiet day with 32 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving and should continue to see a consistent workload as Miami looks to secure the division title.
OT Terron Armstead (Left Knee/Right Ankle)
Still dealing with the left knee injury dating back to Week 4 that sent him to IR, Armstead is also working through the right ankle injury from Week 13 from a leg whip against the Washington Commanders. He was a surprise inactive in Week 14 before returning to play in 87 percent of offensive snaps in Week 15.
OL Liam Eichenberg (Calf)
Eichenberg managed to play through his calf injury and appear in just about every offensive snap on Sunday after filling in for the injured Connor Williams who is out with an ACL. His re-injury risk remains high due to the positional demands and how finicky calf injuries can be.
CB Kader Kohou (Hip)
Kohou appeared on the injury report this week due to a hip designation with no other information at this time.
TE Durham Smythe (Ankle)
Smythe is back on the injury report with an ankle injury after suffering the injury back in Week 8. He was questionable at times and even missed Week 11 due to the issue, though it’s not clear if this is the same issue.
OL Lester Cotton (Hip)
Cotton appeared on the injury report with a hip injury on Thursday but has no designation heading into the game. He previously dealt with a hip injury earlier this season heading into Week 12 and played.
S DeShon Elliott (Concussion)
Elliott missed last week’s contest due to a concussion suffered in Week 14. While he was not out of the concussion protocol in time for Wednesday’s practice, he was spotted in a red non-contact jersey, indicating progression through the protocol to potentially Stage 4. He was able to get full practices in Thursday and Friday, cleared to play.
RB Raheem Mostert (Knee/Ankle)
Mostert continues to require what appears to be a veteran rest day during the week due to his knee injury dating back to Week 9. His ankle injury is back after dealing with it earlier this season dating back to Week 7. He has been one of the best offensive players on the team despite the injuries and there should be no change in his production come Sunday.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel (Oblique/Nose)
Van Ginkel played through his oblique injury that left him questionable heading into last week’s game. He did play and was still effective but suffered a broken nose. I expect him to continue to play but there remains an elevated chance for him to exit if he aggravates the oblique injury.
New England Patriots
S Jabrill Peppers (Hamstring)
Peppers is working through a hamstring injury suffered on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. It isn’t clear when he suffered the injury as he played in 91 percent of defensive snaps and 13 percent of special teams snaps. He was unable to practice all week and has been ruled out.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson (Right High-Ankle Sprain)
Stevenson has missed the last two games since suffering a right high-ankle sprain against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. He still was unable to practice this week, ruling him out for a third straight game. This is not a surprise and in a lost season, Stevenson should not be rushing back until he can be effective.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Ankle)
Smith-Schuster picked up an ankle injury in Week 13 and was playing through the injury until missing last week’s game. He has been ruled out.
DL Christian Barmore (Shoulder)
Barmore has been working through a shoulder injury the past few weeks dating back to Week 14 and has continued to play through the issue.
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (Knee)
Bentley appeared on the injury report in practice prior to Week 15 and was questionable heading into the game. Despite the late injury, he suited up and played in his normal amount of snaps.
OT Trent Brown (Right Ankle/Hand)
Brown continues to work back from his right high-ankle that has hampered him most of the season dating back to Week 7. He missed last week due to illness but should return to the lineup.
CB Jonathan Jones (Knee)
Jones has been on and off the injury report this year due to a knee injury but despite the questionable designation, should play Sunday.
WR Matthew Slater (Hamstring)
Slater has been battling several nagging injuries including an ankle and groin injury but has suited up every week as a consistent member on special teams.
TE Hunter Henry (Left Knee)
Henry suffered a left knee contusion in the second half while securing a pass on a route out to the right side of the field. He was hit low at the knee by the Kansas City defender and was questionable to return. Henry was unable to practice Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a limited practice Friday and is questionable heading into the game. He has come off some of his best performances the past two weeks but I would expect a regression in production due to the injury.
OT Conor McDermott (Concussion)
McDermott left the game Sunday with a head injury that was later diagnosed as a concussion and was unable to practice all week, but is questionable . Typically you do not see players who are unable to practice and play, which likely rules him out for Sunday.
LB Afernee Jennings (Illness)
Jennings was unable to practice Thursday and limited Friday with an illness.
LB Jahlani Tavai (Ankle)
Tavai appeared on the injury report with an ankle designation following the Week 15 contest, limited all week.
CB Cody Davis (Illness)
Davis was unable to practice Wednesday before returning for the rest of the week.
OL Tyrone Wheatley (Knee)
Wheatley was able to practice in full on Thursday and Friday. He has no designation as he continues to manage a knee injury that sent him to injured reserve earlier this season. He originally suffered the injury in Week 6.
G Cole Strange (Left Knee)
Strange left Sunday’s contest due to a left knee injury and in the video below, you can see how the knee just gives way as he is pushed back. This is concerning for potentially a quad tendon or patellar tear. He was quickly ruled out and placed on injured reserve, ending his season.
New York Jets
QB Aaron Rodgers (Left Achilles)
Despite stating that he is not 100 percent and would not play this year coming off his Achilles repair, Rodgers was still activated to the roster this week. This was allegedly so that he could remain around the team and continue his rehab. However, this eliminates a job and positional depth elsewhere. You have a young quarterback in Zach Wilson who can’t even practice due to his concussion and likely won’t be in the mix next year. Sure, you have Trevor Siemian that he can help, but this should be the opportunity to evaluate young talent for next season. It’s a shame that Aaron Rodgers has hijacked the Jets locker room for his own ego boost. As far as I’m concerned, he did not return from his Achilles repair yet despite being activated.
QB Zach Wilson (Concussion)
Wilson had a curious exit from his week 15 start against the Miami Dolphins, exiting with a head injury. The team PR department noted that he left due to a hydration issue and then did not come out due to a head injury that wasn’t termed a concussion. Later, he was evaluated for a concussion and eventually ruled out. After a superb performance last week that saw him earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week, Wilson takes a step back in what could have been his final performance as a Jet. While Aaron Rodgers was slated to potentially come back if the Jets were in playoff contention, that doesn’t seem to be the case which means Trevor Siemian is up next.
DE John Franklin-Myers (Hip)
On the injury report last week for an ankle injury, this week it is a hip that limited him to 23 percent of snaps on Sunday. He was unable to practice all week before getting in a limited practice Friday which doesn’t inspire hope that he suits up on Sunday.
RB Israel Abanikanda (Ankle)
Abanikanda was limited all week with an ankle injury picked up against the Dolphins on Sunday. He was limited all week and questionable. Without additional information, it’s difficult to determine if he plays.
OT Duane Brown (Back)
Brown did not practice Friday due to a back injury and is officially questionable heading into the game.
DB Jordan Whitehead (Knee)
Whitehead is working through a knee issue suffered in Sunday’s loss. He is questionable for this coming Sunday.
OT Mekhi Becton (Left Knee/Shoulder)
Becton has been dealing with a shoulder injury off and on recently but this has not forced him to miss any games. The knee injury has forced him to be on the injury report all year limiting his reps.
WR Jason Brownlee (Left Ankle)
Brownlee has missed the last two games due to a left ankle injury in Week 13 when he had his legs taken out from under him.
DL Jayln Holmes (Elbow)
Yet another injury coming out of the Dolphins game, Holmes was limited Wednesday before practicing in full on Thursday and Friday but has no designation heading into the game.
DL Solomon Thomas (Knee)
Thomas was on the injury report last week with a knee designation but suited up anyway. At this point in the season, it may be more of a maintenance issue.
OL Max Mitchell (Neck)
Mitchell continues to work through a stinger suffered in Week 14 that forced him to miss last week. Considering he missed last week, there may be more of an underlying issue or he could not initiate contact without a recurrence of symptoms.
OL Joe Tippmann (Shoulder)
Tippmann has been working through a shoulder injury the last two weeks but played in 100 percent of snaps on Sunday.
OL Carter Warren (Hip)
Warren suffered a hip injury in the Friday practice prior to Week 13 and has missed the last two games.
LB Quincy Williams (Knee)
Williams continues to work through a knee injury that dates back to Week 9.
S Micah Hyde (Neck Stinger)
After missing last week’s game due to his third stinger in six weeks, Hyde is still not ready to play, having already been ruled out on Thursday. At this point in the season, it is all about self-preservation and making sure he does not suffer yet another aggravation to the area so that he can be ready for Week 18, the playoffs, whenever he is called upon.
The nerve in the shoulder area is likely still inflamed and can easily be jarred again with the wrong hit. He is likely safe to play, but these stingers continue to make it difficult to play through pain. This is the smart move to get through the remainder of the season.
DE AJ Epenesa (Left Ribs)
Epenesa missed last week due to a rib injury suffered early in the Kansas City Chiefs game when he secured a Patrick Mahomes interception and then got flattened by an offensive lineman. He did attempt to return before exiting again and was later deemed week-to-week. This strongly suggested that he has a rib cartilage injury which is slower to heal. Despite the questionable designation, I do not anticipate that Epenesa will play again this week.
On Thursday, Sean McDermott announced that he was unlikely to play which is the smart move looking long-term for the playoffs. Despite the questionable designation, I do not expect him to play.
Make sure to check out the video from Jon Scott of Spectrum News where Epenesa discusses the injury.
RB Ty Johnson (Right Shoulder)
Johnson is working through what appeared to be a right AC joint sprain but did return quickly to the game Sunday to continue to play. If this is indeed an AC joint sprain, he can brace or tape up the area and inject it to manage the pain as he continues to be a valuable asset to the running game. He was limited all week and it may come down to how he feels. I expect that he at least tries to give it a go.
QB Josh Allen (Right Shoulder)
Dating back to Week 6, Allen suffered an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder and has been on the injury report though has not been limited lately.
LS Reid Ferguson (Right Thumb)
Ferguson is always a surprise addition to the injury report every time he’s on, which is not often. He was on the report earlier this season for a wrist injury but played and this right thumb injury appears to have the same outcome. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury, but he did have several times where the thumb could have been hit or kicked early in the game. The snaps did not appear to suffer and Ferguson will suit up on Saturday.
DE Leonard Floyd (Wrist/Left Ribs)
Floyd has been working through a wrist injury originally suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12. He added a rib contusion to his injury list after getting blasted from the side early in the second quarter of Sunday’s win. He had to briefly leave the game but was able to return. An injection and flank jacket should help him continue his dominant season in Week 16.
TE Dalton Kincaid (Right Shoulder)
Kincaid is still working through his right AC joint sprain suffered in the waning moments of the win over Kansas City but has not missed any time due to the injury. He has been seen in a red non-contact jersey which is standard for guys who want to avoid aggravating their injuries. An injection and tape on the area get him ready for each game.
TE Dawson Knox (Right Wrist)
Knox continues his rehab from his right wrist surgery that caused him to miss five games. He continues to practice in full and has no designation heading into the game.
P Sam Martin (Right Knee)
Martin was on the injury report this week due to a right knee injury (kicking leg) as a result of a collision late in the first quarter on Sunday. This resulted in a roughing of the punter penalty that kept the Bills offense moving along while Martin limped off. He was cleared to return and continued punting and holding duties. Fortunately, he does not have a game-day designation heading into the game.
DT Jordan Phillips (Right Wrist)
On Sunday, Phillips suffered a right wrist injury sacking Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott late in the third quarter. On Monday, it was announced that he underwent surgery on his right wrist, and on Tuesday, it was revealed that he suffered a wrist dislocation and was originally week-to-week.
On Thursday, Sean McDermott stated that Phillips would be placed on injured reserve. He will be required to miss the next four games which means the earliest he can return is the divisional playoff game should they make it that far.
His placement on injured reserve is more of a roster management issue than the severity of the injury. They need any healthy player possible to make their final playoff push and if they have an able-bodied player over one that won’t play for a few weeks, it’s a no-brainer. Sean McDermott did note that he didn’t know whether Phillips would be able to return this season.
Despite the IR designation, I detailed the injury and a possible return timeline in the article linked below.
DT DaQuan Jones (Right Pectoral)
On Monday, the team announced that Jones would open up his 21-day window to begin practicing after his Week 5 pectoral tear that required surgery.
On Wednesday, he began getting some live reps in and looked decent, though hitting a blocking sled and going through several drills doesn’t tell us much. The medical staff has shown the ability to rehab guys back from this injury and play well upon return as we saw with Jon Feliciano in 2020. Feliciano returned at the 12-week mark and I expect Jones to do the same which will place him in line to play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 18.
Despite him being listed as questionable, don’t read too much into that designation as they have done that for all the players in their practice windows this season. They have had some type of designation but he hasn’t had enough time to get back up to speed to play on Saturday. He needs more time to practice.
CB Kaiir Elam (Right Ankle)
Elam continues to ramp back up to playing following his right ankle deltoid ligament tear suffered back against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason. He has been practicing in full and waits for the opportunity to get activated back to the roster should there be an injury or roster move. His window opened on December 6 and the team needs to decide by early next week or he reverts to injured reserve. He could get activated with Jordan Phillips to IR which plays a part in why he is questionable.
WR Justin Shorter (Hamstring)
Shorter opened up his 21-day practice window last week as he began practicing following his hamstring injury suffered in the preseason. This has been more of a redshirt year for Shorter and he will only be activated to the roster if there is a need for his services. Otherwise, he will revert to injured reserve. He has been ruled out for Saturday.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com