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Bills vs Steelers: Midweek injury trends don’t favor Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills have more players trending down than up right now

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. If the latest injury report reveals more trend than anomaly, the team may have to dig deep into its roster once again come game time. Right now the Bills have more players trending down on the injury charts than they have trending up.

Bills players trending up

  • QB Josh Allen (neck)
  • S Damar Hamlin (shoulder)
  • S Micah Hyde (neck)

The good news is that the above list of players is practicing fully and are expected to play on Sunday. Even better is that the finger injury quarterback Josh Allen had last week is no longer something that the team’s listing as a concern. The same holds true for the ribs injury that edge rusher Leonard Floyd was working through the last few weeks of the regular season — he’s just listed with veteran rest this week.

Hyde and Hamlin also look to be in maintenance and monitoring type care as they make sure that they don’t reaggravate their respective injuries. Hyde has had all the snaps (100% of the defensive snaps) he’s wanted the past two weeks since returning from a stinger injury. Hamlin hasn’t been active on game days, but that has been the case all season as long as Hyde has been able to play. This week it’s likely that Hamlin will be active as things aren’t looking too good for safety Taylor Rapp (more on that below).

Bills players holding steady

  • OT Dion Dawkins (hand/illness)
  • TE Dawson Knox (illness)
  • RB Ty Johnson (concussion)

Dion Dawkins had a hand laceration that required stitches during the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s Week 18 win over the Miami Dolphins. He came back to play in that game and it’s very likely that he will play this week as well. Both Dawkins and Knox missed today’s practice due to an illness — but most of the time players who miss some midweek work are able to recover and get some fluids and are ready to go by game time.

Of the trio listed above, Johnson is the most questionable. The 26-year-old running back suffered a concussion as the second quarter came to an end Sunday night. He was limited for two days in a row, but limited means he’s at least moved through the first few steps in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Practicing in a red non-contact jersey means he hasn’t reached the final stage as of yet, but there’s still time before the Bills will have to make a decision about his availability for the game.

Bills players trending down

  • WR Gabe Davis (knee)
  • LB Tyrel Dodson (shoulder)
  • CB Rasul Douglas (knee)
  • S Taylor Rapp (calf)

All of these players were injured in Sunday’s season finale and played a significant part in the Bills clinching their fourth straight AFC East title. However, they paid a price that’s most likely keeping them out of this week’s playoff game. Yesterday there had been hope that maybe Dodson would be able to work through his shoulder injury as he was limited in practice on Wednesday. However Dodson was downgraded to not practicing at all on Thursday. In addition, on Thursday morning, Buffalo announced that they had signed veteran linebacker, and former Bill, A.J. Klein to the practice squad. It’s now looking as though Dodson will sit for at least a week.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs met with media after practice and made mention that the team needed to win this week for wide receiver Gabe Davis. That statement has led to speculation that the fourth-year wide receiver will miss at least one game with what has been said is a PCL sprain.

As for Douglas and Rapp, not much has been said about the injuries to the two defensive backs but not practicing yet this week doesn’t indicate that they’ll be getting much, if any, playing time this weekend.

The exact opposite is taking place in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have more players trending up than down — although that one down trend is a big piece of their defense.

Steelers players trending down

  • LB T.J. Watt (knee)

Watt has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Highmark Stadium due to an MCL injury he suffered in Pittsburgh’s win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. Watt left the game early due to the injury and head coach Mike Tomlin announced on Tuesday that Watt would not play this week.

Steelers players trending up

  • RB Najee Harris (knee)
  • S Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee)
  • LB Elandon Roberts (pectoral)
  • G Isaac Seumalo (shoulder)

While things looked questionable for Harris, Fitzpatrick, and Roberts for a little while, they were all back to being full participants in practice on Thursday. It would seem that unless there is a set back today, they should all be ready to go on Saturday.

We’ll likely know more about the status of both rosters later today after practice when coaches will announce any injury designations for Sunday.