Bills coach Sean McDermott said on @WGR550 that S Taylor Rapp (calf), WR Gabe Davis (knee) CB Christian Benford (knee) and LB Baylon Spector (back) are all OUT vs. the Chiefs.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 19, 2024
While safety Taylor Rapp and wide receiver Gabe Davis missed the Super Wild Card Weekend game this past Monday due to injuries that occurred during the Bills’ Week 18 win in Miami, cornerback Christian Benford and linebacker Baylon Spector are missing their first game of this postseason. Benford injured his knee and Spector his back as they both attempted to recover a fumble by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday evening.
While it isn’t great to play the biggest playoff game of the season without four key players (yes, Spector is technically a depth player but given the condition of the Bills’ linebacker room every single linebacker on the Bills roster should be considered a key player at this point) isn’t ideal, there was some good news hidden in there too — the players who are not on that list.
The fact that McDermott didn’t rule out linebacker Tyrel Dodson or cornerback Rasul Douglas is good news for a Bills defense that will be tasked with stopping Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Dodson and Douglas were injured in Week 18 along with Davis and Rapp, however, they have been able to work through their injuries this week and, as of yesterday’s practice, seemed to be getting ready to play this week.
Also not on the ruled-out list is nickel cornerback Taron Johnson who has been in concussion protocol since taking a hit to the head on Monday. If Johnson clears concussion protocol and can play Sunday, it will be the second time this season that he’s been able to do so within a week.
Punter Sam Martin who pulled a hamstring chasing down the football after a blocked field goal has also not been ruled out as of yet. Buffalo brought veteran Matt Haack to One Bills Drive earlier this week and signed him to the practice squad, but if Martin can play it would allow the Bills to use their two practice squad elevations for other positions where depth is becoming an issue — such as wide receiver and linebacker.
McDermott also didn’t rule out Terrel Bernard who left last week’s playoff game on a cart. Earlier in the week, the Buffalo coach said that the second-year linebacker’s ankle injury was not as bad as originally feared. However, Bernard hasn’t practiced yet this week. Today McDermott indicated that it will likely be a game time decision on whether the Bills’ starting MIKE plays or not.
Sean McDermott said that LB Terrel Bernard will not practice today and his availability will depend on how things trend the rest of the day, this evening and tomorrow— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 19, 2024
While McDermott said that he wouldn’t be practicing, Bernard was spotted walking around and stretching with the team during the portion of Friday’s practice that was open to the media.
Here's our first and only look this week at Terrel Bernard ... #FastFriday style.— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) January 19, 2024
Bernard *not* ruled out yet for Sunday against the Chiefs after leaving the wild card game on a cart with an ankle injury.#Bills pic.twitter.com/fVMtjdZniC
While he is most definitely not likely to be ruled out for Sunday’s game, wide receiver Stefon Diggs is another player that the Bills’ medical staff will be watching closely over the next few days. Diggs popped up on Thursday’s injury report with a foot injury. Today, McDermott said that the injury occurred during Monday’s game but didn’t really become a problem until recently.
Sean McDermott said that Stefon Diggs' foot injury initially took place during the game, but it was something that cropped up a bit later in the week, thus not practicing yesterday. He'll be limited today.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 19, 2024
While there may be more information after the conclusion of Friday’s practices, most likely it will be Sunday afternoon before anything more is known about the state of the Buffalo Bills’ game-day roster. Both Buffalo and Kansas City have until 5 p.m. EST on Sunday to announce their game-day roster and inactives.