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Bills vs. Bengals: Final injury report produces questions for ‘SNF’

It’s going to be a long weekend while we wait for the answers

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Josh Allen is playing.

I could have stopped this here because that’s what Bills Mafia wants to know, but there are a few details about the other Buffalo Bills players on today’s list worth keeping an eye on.

First, as expected, linebackers Baylon Spector and A.J. Klein are out for Sunday night’s match up with the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Sean McDermott didn’t hesitate in making that call, announcing it before the Bills even conducted their final practice of the week. The issue here is that Klein was Buffalo’s insurance policy. The guy they keep bringing back to fill depth roles. The linebacker who knows the system and is ready when needed. They brought him back to the practice squad this year and then signed him to the active roster after Matt Milano was lost due to a leg injury that required surgery after Week 5. The hope would be that this is short term and more precautionary than necessary.

Down a linebacker, it’s likely that we will see more dime packages with safety Jordan Poyer moving up to play in a linebacker position. Does this mean that McDermott has safety Damar Hamlin suit up — we’ve only seen him once this season — and have him available “if needed” during the game?

The wrinkle in that theory is that now cornerback Christian Benford has appeared on the injury list for the first time this week. It would appear that the second-year cornerback has a hamstring injury of some degree. While he was only limited, and heads into the weekend with no game-day designation, will it slow him or limit him during the game? Does this mean that McDermott will need to call 35-year-old Josh Norman up from the practice squad as insurance (remember, Kaiir Elam earned a trip to the Injured Reserve list earlier this week)?

So many other questions exist too: Is Rasul Douglas ready to play a full game in Buffalo’s defensive scheme? If so, do they hope Dane Jackson is enough insurance and leave Norman on the PS this week? Is Linval Joseph football ready? If so who is inactive: Poona Ford? Kingsley Jonathan?

Also, it’s important to note that edge rusher Von Miller has not been on the injury list at all this week. Does that mean we could see him look faster, healthier, and have more of an impact?

As for the Bengals, they have questions of their own. After today’s injury report was published, they only have one player ruled out: defensive tackle Josh Tupou. However, they have three players listed as questionable: linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, running back Joe Mixon, and guard Max Scharping, who was just added to the injury list today with a knee injury.

So many questions. With inactives not having to be announced until 6:50 p.m. EST on Sunday, it’s going to be a long weekend while we wait for Sunday night.