2020 AFC Championship Bills Injury Preview- Chiefs

Will Butler and Davis suit up Sunday? What Chiefs will be effective?

We are on the precipice of a truly historical moment for the Buffalo Bills! One more win and the Buffalo Bills will be crowned AFC Champions and return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years! Not only has it been a long time since the Bills have been this far in the playoffs, but it has also felt like a long week as injury updates come out daily on not only the Bills but the status of Patrick Mahomes and whether he would be cleared from the concussion protocol in time. 

Thankfully, at the time of publication, it is one day away from the Bills and Chiefs squaring off for the right to represent the American Football Conference in the Super Bowl. Below are all the injury updates for both the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

QUESTIONABLE

WR Gabriel Davis (Right ankle)

It was obvious that Davis injured his ankle missing that touchdown pass early in the 2nd quarter that limited him the remainder of the game. Two DNP’s with a limited practice isn’t ideal either, but it is promising. It looks like a low inversion ankle sprain on video, but it could be more based on examination and video angles available. 

It may come down to how much he can run and jump around the field. While he is insanely talented, trying to toe-tap catches and run his routes crisply may make things difficult. Could Kenny Stills play in Davis’s place? Quite possible but he’s only been here a few weeks. Does he have a rapport with Josh Allen? It’s possible the Chiefs could have game-planned for the possibility of Stills knowing that Davis may not play. 

I want to lean towards Davis playing, but as an injured rookie, do they put him out there or let a veteran wide receiver that is healthy play? That’s the one thing we don’t know. 

DT Vernon Butler (Quadricep)

I had originally thought Butler was dealing with a foot injury in the game, but he appeared later on the injury report with a quadriceps injury. He left the game late in the 3rd quarter, right before Taron Johnson delivered the game-sealing pick-six. It’s not clear when he injured the quadriceps but having two DNP’s and a limited practice isn’t a ringing endorsement that he will play. 

A strain can be played through, but the concern is whether he re-injures the quadricep and they do not have a healthy body in his place. Most of the time, a quadricep would require a player to sit out at least one game, but there may not be any next week. 

ACTIVE 

WR Cole Beasley (Left knee)

Beasley re-appears on the injury report Thursday with a knee injury that is likely the same injury he’s been dealing with since Week 16. He was highly productive against the Colts in the Wild Card round but didn’t have much of an impact last week against the Ravens. Considering he was limited Thursday indicates that either he tweaked his knee Wednesday and had to take it easy Thursday, or he tweaked it or took time off at some point during Thursday’s practice. Taking all but one rep or only taking one rep is all the same under the limited designation.

Whatever Beasley is dealing with, he will get it addressed following the season. I had thought if he had sat out against the Colts, he could have been fresher in the next round, but hindsight is 20/20. Ideally, he gets more targets due to taking another week to get healthy.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (Hamstring)

Details are still scarce regarding Edmunds hamstring. He played in all the defensive snaps Saturday despite his hamstring designation last week. He practiced in full all week and while is likely not 100%, he’s good enough to continue to go out and perform for another week.

DT Quinton Jefferson (Ankle)

Like Edmunds, Jefferson’s ankle injury was not noticeable on film, playing in 46% of snaps which isn’t too far off his usual production from the season. He has no game designation and I would expect his production to not be affected greatly, though his snap could probably increase if Vernon Butler does not play.

DE Darryl Johnson (knee)

After missing last week with a knee injury, Johnson returns to practice with full participation this week. I still have not been unable to find the specifics of the knee injury from the Colts game and the week off appeared to help him greatly. His availability will make Trent Murphy expendable for this game and having Johnson back on special teams may be a difference-maker come Sunday. 

WR Stefon Diggs (Oblique)

The severity of the oblique injury is probably more severe than Diggs and the team has let on, but he continues to produce. I have not observed anything on film that suggests that the oblique is significantly affecting him. Listing the injury may be more of a formality at this point and hopefully the week off in between if the Bills win and make their way down to Tampa.

K Tyler Bass (Right hand)

Bass continues to practice in full dealing with a right-hand injury and wearing at least a brace on the hand. It’s not clear what he is dealing with, but this will not affect his kicking abilities for Sunday.

CHIEFS INJURY REPORT:

OUT

LB Willie Gay (Ankle)

Gay is reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 17 and is already ruled out. High ankle sprains take some time to come back from and it’s clear that the Chiefs don’t believe he is ready which bodes well for the Bills Sunday. 

QUESTIONABLE

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (left high ankle/hip)

Edwards-Helaire is coming off a left high ankle sprain and hip strain sustained in Week 15. He has been out for an entire month, though only missing 2 games due to the bye week for the number one seed.

While he will not be 100%, having the month off should allow him to come back and be effective enough from the ankle standpoint. Considering that he suffered the hip strain, that should be fully healed by now, but it’s possible that he could be dealing with something greater currently unreported that he will play though. After having as much time off as he did, I fully expect him to play. 

WR Sammy Watkins (Calf)

Watkins has missed the last 2 games with a calf injury sustained in the win over Atlanta. At the time, the calf injury was not perceived as being serious and the thought was that he would be back in time for the divisional game. 

It stands to reason that he could return to play in this game as the stakes are higher. Calf injuries linger due to the demands of the muscle when pushing the foot down to sprint and jump. It could be quite possible that he re-injures the area during the game too, but I don’t foresee the team holding him out again. We all know when Sammy Watkins is healthy, he’s electric. But when he’s not, his production really suffers. I’d expect he plays as well.

CB Bashaud Breeland (Concussion/shoulder)

The concussion is the more worrisome injury than the shoulder as it has not been clarified that he has passed the protocol. He appeared trending in the right direction with limited practices all week but it may not be known that he passes the protocol until game time. He may be one that misses due to not being cleared.

Update: he has since cleared concussion protocol.

CB Rashad Fenton (Foot)

There aren’t any reports to clarify the status of the foot injury. He was also limited in practice this week and considering Breeland is a true question mark, I would suspect Fenton to play through whatever he is dealing with. 

RB Le’veon Bell (Knee)

Bell is reportedly dealing with swelling in his knee that limited him Thursday/Friday and it’s unknown whether he plays. Considering Edwards-Helaire is likely to play which could keep Bell on the inactive list especially the knee injury appeared to get aggravated later in the week. I anticipate he sits this one out considering the Chiefs have Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for depth. 

QB Patrick Mahomes (Concussion/left toe)

I think every single person on social media has had an opinion on the status of Patrick Mahomes this week. It has been mind boggling. I laid out the facts of Mahomes time in the concussion protocol at The Game Day, the previous article at Banged Up Bills, and even detailed at Locked On Bills. I had said on Locked On Bills that it didn’t matter why Patrick Mahomes was in the concussion protocol, he was in there and as a result, he has to successfully navigate the protocol. 

He did and we can move past that. His left toe injury will be the biggest concern heading into Sunday’s contest. The injury is detailed above in all of the links. In addition, check out this thread from Erik Turner from Cover 1 using the video to detail how Mahomes was limited with the toe after the injury and how the Bills can game plan against him. Certainly worth the time to read and understand. 

Bills Inactives:

QB Jake Fromm

WR Gabriel Davis*

LB Tyrel Dodson

DE Trent Murphy

OL Jordan Devey

TE Tyler Kroft

Practice Squad player

*Kenny Stills to be called up in place of Davis, other call up would be inactive as the team has done in recent weeks.

The Bills can win this one. They really can. I had predicted on Locked on Bills that the Bills would win 28-24. That would cover the spread and take the under according to Pointsbet. The Bills could win this simply because of all the talent missing from the last game. Dawson Knox, Matt Milano, and Harrison Phillips did not play last time. John Brown was injured early in the game and a non-factor. Tre’Davious White was coming off a back injury that forced him to miss the Titans game. Josh Allen was still working through his left shoulder injury sustained in Week 4 against the Raiders. 

The Bills are a hot team right now and fairly healthy as detailed above. The Buffalo Bills may very well be the 2020 AFC Champions and could play in Super Bowl 55. This could really happen. Now all we have to do is sit back, wait for kickoff at 6:40 pm on January 24th, 2021, and enjoy the game. Go Bills!

Top Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski