Thanksgiving weekend is in the books for the AFC East, with three of the four teams coming away with a victory.
The Buffalo Bills (8-3) won a 28-25 thriller against the Detroit Lions, while it was the opposite for the Miami Dolphins (8-3), who blew the Houston Texans out, 30-15. For the New York Jets (7-4), it appears the Mike White mania is back after the quarterback got the offense back on track in their 31-10 win over the Chicago Bears. The New England Patriots (6-5) were the only losers of the week, dropping a 33-26 decision to the Minnesota Vikings in the Thanksgiving nightcap.
With the teams reaching a crucial part of the season, injuries always seem to play a factor. Let’s look at some key injuries that each team is currently dealing with.
Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, Dion Dawkins
The big blow on Thursday was the loss of Von Miller, who suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of the win over Detroit. The star edge rusher was able to avoid an ACL tear, but there is damage to his knee that requires further attention once the swelling goes down. The question will be whether Miller can fight through the injury with a brace on, or if he will need season-ending surgery.
On the opposite side of the football, left tackle Dion Dawkins left Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, making his status unclear for this week against the Patriots. This is not something the team needed when they are about to face edge rusher Matt Judon, who is leading the league in sacks.
New England Patriots: David Andrews, Damien Harris
Speaking of the Patriots, the status of starting center David Andrews is uncertain after a thigh injury two weeks ago against the Jets. Andrews missed the Thanksgiving game, and there has been no status on his availability going into a big showdown with Buffalo. This should worry Patriot fans, considering the tear that defensive tackle Ed Oliver has been on for the Bills recently.
Another key injury is running back Damien Harris, who is also dealing with a thigh issue. Harris was a thorn in Buffalo’s side last season, rushing for over 100 yards in both regular season matchups with four total touchdowns. He did not practice for the team Sunday, leaving his questionable going into the week.
New York Jets: Michael Carter, Sheldon Rankins
With the Jets relying on the running game a lot to get the offense going, an injury at running back was the last thing the team wanted to see. However, Michael Carter left Sunday’s game with what Robert Saleh is calling a sprained ankle. Ankle injuries are always uncertain, since some players heal differently.
New York has been playing the past couple of weeks without defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who is still recovering from a dislocated elbow. Rankins is a force on the interior for the Jets, being able to force penetration in the backfield. He may have a chance to return against the Bills in two weeks, but it depends on how his elbow is healing.
Miami Dolphins: Terron Armstead, Tyreek Hill
Miami may have cruised against the Texans, but it came at a price: starting right tackle Terron Armstead suffered a strained pectoral that has no timetable for a recovery. This is especially important considering that Tua Tagovailoa is a left-handed quarterback which means that Armstead is responsible for blocking the blind side.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill left the game in the second half with what the team is calling cramping, but it is still something to monitor as the week progresses.