The Miami Dolphins head out west to face the defending Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night. Beat up on defense, the Dolphins face a less than stellar but still potent Chiefs offense but could keep the game close with their offensive firepower.
Miami is expected to get back both Raheem Mostert and Jaylen Waddle which should help them keep pace and look for the upset. Despite the expected frigid temperatures, the Dolphins could bounce the Chiefs from the playoffs for their earliest exit since 2017.
Below are the injury reports for both teams plus projected inactives and final observations.
Miami Dolphins Injury Report
CB Xavien Howard (Left Foot)
Howard injured his left foot against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 early in the first quarter. He attempted to turn upfield and took an awkward step on his left foot before falling. The team stated that he would not require surgery but that it was a week-to-week injury at the time. This injury is at least a notable midfoot sprain or even potentially a fracture. He missed Week 18 and was unable to practice all week, missing his second consecutive game.
According to Hard Knocks, his left foot is in a cast which doesn’t bode well for even next week.
S DeShon Elliott (Calf)
Elliott is the only new addition to the injury report this week with a calf designation. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury in the game but he was unable to practice on Tuesday. He was unable to practice all week yet still received a questionable designation. Considering the cold temperatures expected, that would not help with muscle strains and increase the risk of worsening it. If he does play, I would expect him to miss or only suit up as an emergency option.
S Jevon Holland (Knees)
Holland has played the last two weeks on his bilateral MCL sprains and appears to struggle at times. He was downgraded to questionable heading into Week 18 before ultimately suiting up. He originally suffered the injuries in Week 12 and missed four games. He was able to play in 96 percent of snaps in Week 17 but was reduced to 35 percent in Week 18.
If Elliott does not go, then Holland for sure would play but I expect him to play regardless as he suited up last week despite not practicing all week.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Left Ankle)
Waddle has missed the last two games due to a left high-ankle sprain suffered against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. While teammate Tyreek Hill was able to only miss one game with his same injury, Waddle’s may either be more severe or the team was playing the long game and saving him for the playoffs.
Even when he does return, he will still not be 100 percent, limited to routes to his right and staying in more short to intermediate routes. His YAC will also be reduced with the difficulty of taking that first explosive step.
RB Raheem Mostert (Knee/Ankle)
Mostert has missed the last two weeks with knee and ankle injuries that date back to Week 9 and 7, respectively. The team had said Sunday that he was close to playing but held them out for the playoffs. Mostert himself has said that he feels good but it isn’t up to him whether he plays.
OT Terron Armstead (Left Knee/Right Ankle/Back)
Armstead has had his name etched on the injury report pretty much all season. He suffered a left knee injury against Buffalo in Week 4, a right ankle injury against Washington, and added back injury before Week 16. He has played through most of the injuries which has been his normal routine throughout the season.
RB De’Von Achane (Right Toe/Ribs)
Achane has been dealing with a right turf toe injury dating back to Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans. His rib injury came in Week 17 but he has played through both injuries, posting 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He is not 100 percent but still effective enough to play on Sunday.
OL Liam Eichenberg (Calf/Ankle)
Eichenberg has been playing through a calf and ankle injury dating back to Week 14 and 16, respectively. He has been filling in admirably for the injured Connor Williams.
WR Tyreek Hill (Left Ankle/Quad)
Hill has been playing through a left high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 14 that cost him the following game and a shot at 2000 receiving yards this season. Despite the injury, he has still been effective in cutting off the ankle and jumping for contested catches.
He added in a quad injury from Sunday but whether this is a contusion or strain, I do expect him to play and still be a dangerous threat.
WR Jalen Ramsey (Knee)
Ramsey has been on the injury report for the last two weeks with a knee designation that appeared the Friday before Week 17. This may be related to the knee surgery he had earlier in the year to repair his meniscus. Fortunately, he was able to practice in full this week and has no designation.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel (Foot)
Van Ginkel suffered a foot injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills and has since been placed on injured reserve. It was a left foot injury but it’s unclear if this will require surgery at this time. I would expect additional details will be provided in the coming weeks.
LB Jerome Baker (Right Wrist Dislocation)
Baker suffered a right dislocated wrist in the final drive of the game and stayed in another few plays before exiting. The following day, he underwent surgery and was placed on injured reserve.
LB Cameron Goode (Right Patellar Tendon Tear)
Goode suffered a right patellar tendon tear on the Deonte Harry punt return touchdown. This occurred as the result of running into fellow teammate Alec Ingold. His season is done and he has likely already undergone surgery and has a long rehab ahead of him.
EDGE Jaelan Phillips (Right Achilles)
A positive update on social media showed Jaelan Phillips walking around the facility just six weeks after his Achilles repair. This progress indicates that he underwent the Speedbridge procedure to repair the Achilles.
Kansas City Chiefs Injury Report
OT Wayna Morris (Concussion)
Morris suffered a concussion in the Week 18 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. He was unable to practice all week after not passing through the league concussion protocol and will miss the wild card game.
WR Justyn Ross (Hamstring)
Ross suffered a hamstring strain late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game which forced him to leave the game. He was unable to practice on Tuesday before getting in a limited practice Wednesday. Considering his depth role on the offense and contributions to special teams along with his injury history, he would be best served to miss this game to be ready for the divisional round.
WR Kadarius Toney (Hip/Ankle)
Toney has been working through the hip injury dating back to Week 12 and added an ankle injury possibly suffered in practice before Week 18. He missed last week but was able to get in limited practice all week.
OT Donovan Smith (Neck)
Smith has missed the last five games due to a neck injury suffered against the Green Bay Packers back in Week 13. He originally suffered a neck stinger according to reports at the time. As he has missed every game since, it’s more likely he is working through a cervical disc herniation or even foraminal stenosis causing pain and weakness down the arm. He was limited all week until Friday and will be pressed back into service with backup Wayna Morris out with a concussion.
CB La’Jarius Sneed (Calf)
Sneed suffered a calf injury in the Week 16 contest against the Las Vegas Raiders that saw him play through the injury the following week. However, he appeared to suffer a setback in Week 17 which forced him to miss the regular season finale against the Chargers. He was limited Tuesday before returning in full Wednesday and Thursday without a game designation.
LB Nick Bolton (Left Wrist)
Bolton is still rehabbing from his Week 6 left wrist dislocation that required surgery and a stint on injured reserve, missing five games. He was questionable last week and missed the game, but this appeared to be more of a veteran rest for the playoffs. He had been playing with a club when he returned but has still been very effective.
S Deon Bush (Elbow)
Bush was able to practice in full all week despite suffering an elbow injury in Week 18 against the Chargers. He has seen most of his playing time on special teams this year but got extended work in the defense last week.
DB Chamarri Conner (Shoulder)
Connor is working through a shoulder injury suffered last week but played nearly every defensive snap and continued his role on special teams. He should return to a primarily special teams role and be able to practice all week.
TE Noah Gray (Elbow)
Gray dealt with an elbow injury last week but was not limited throughout the week and will play Sunday.
RB Isaiah Pacheco (Shoulder)
Pacheco underwent shoulder surgery for a cleanup procedure ahead of Week 15 and missed Week 15 and 16 before returning to play. He suffered a concussion in Week 16, was able to pass through the protocol, and then suffered a quadriceps injury in Week 17 and missed last week. His shoulder is still recovering from the cleanup but he has been able to practice in full but is still not likely 100 percent.
WR Rashee Rice (Hamstring)
Rice suffered a hamstring strain in Week 17, forcing him out of the regular season finale. He was able to return to practice this week with full practice and has no injury designation.
OT Jawann Taylor (Knee)
Taylor was able to practice in full all week despite a knee designation and will assume starting duties once again at right tackle.
WR Marquez Valding-Scantling (Oblique)
MVS appeared to suffer an oblique injury against the Chargers in Week 18 but was able to practice in full this week and will play.
WR Jaylen Watson (Calf)
Watson appeared on the injury report this week with a calf designation but was able to practice in full and will play.
Miami Dolphins Projected Inactives
CB Xavien Howard
S DeShon Elliott
QB Skylar Thompson
TE Tyler Kroft
OT Kion Smith
Kansas City Chiefs Projected Inactives
OT Wayne Morris
DE Malik Herring
DT Neil Farrell
CB BJ Jones
WR Justyn Ross
This is an uphill battle for the Dolphins to steal a win from the Chiefs, but it’s not impossible. They played them close in Germany with a score of 21-14 which means they can keep up with them.
If the offense can start fast and turn long drives into points to keep Mahomes and company off the field, then the Dolphins could win their first playoff game since 2000. With a Dolphins win, it would shake up the AFC playoff bracket and help live up to the season’s expectations.
I expect a competitive game come Saturday and with strategy and maybe luck, the Dolphins could hang around another week.