FILE – In this Dec. 28, 2020, file photo, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs crosses the goal line for a touchdown after catching a pass during the first half of the team’s NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass. Diggs, who led the NFL in catches and yards receiving, was named to The Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
- Bills receiving corps hit by the injury bug, while Colts wrestle with injuries on defense
- Browns’ historic return to playoff action overshadowed by devastating COVID-19 outbreak
- Read on to learn more about who’s on the injury bubble and how it is impacting odds heading into NFL Wild card Weekend
The NFL playoffs kick off this weekend with six Wild Card matchups. Teams have faced no shortage of injuries this week, but with seasons on the line, few key players have been ruled out. In addition, decisions have yet to be made on the game status of injured players by teams playing in Sunday’s three contests. Here’s a look at the players on the injury bubble entering the weekend, and what impact their status has had on the Wild Card Weekend odds.
Injury Report for Super Wild Card Weekend
|Team||Player||Position||WC Opponent||Injury||Thursday Practice||Game Status|
|Buffalo Bills||Cole Beasley||WR||Colts||Knee||Limited||Questionable|
|Buffalo Bills||Stefon Diggs||WR||Colts||Oblique||Limited||Questionable|
|Indianapolis Colts||Deforest Buckner||DT||Bills||Ankle||Limited||Questionable|
|Indianapolis Colts||Rock Ya-Sin||CB||Bills||Concussion||Did Not Practice||Questionable|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Washington||Knee||Limited||Questionable|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Carlton Davis||CB||Washington||Groin||Full Participation||Questionable|
|Washington Football Team||Antonio Gibson||RB||Buccaneers||Toe||Limited||Questionable|
|Washington Football Team||Terry McLaurin||WR||Buccaneers||Ankle||Limited||Questionable|
|Washington Football Team||Alex Smith||QB||Buccaneers||Calf||Limited||Questionable|
|Washington Football Team||Kevin Pierre-Louis||LB||Buccaneers||Ankle||Limited||Questionable|
|Los Angeles Rams||David Edwards||OL||Seahawks||Ankle||Limited||Questionable|
|Los Angeles Rams||Micah Kiser||LB||Seahawks||Knee||Limited||Questionable|
|Los Angeles Rams||Jared Goff||QB||Seahawks||Thumb||Limited||Questionable|
|Seattle Seahawks||Jarran Reed||DT||Rams||Oblique||Limited||Questionable|
|Seattle Seahawks||Shaquill Griffin||CB||Rams||Hamstring||DNP||Questionable|
|Baltimore Ravens||Marlon Humphrey||CB||Titans||Shoulder||Limited||TBD|
|Baltimore Ravens||Yannick Ngakoue||DE||Titans||Thigh||Limited||TBD|
|Baltimore Ravens||Jimmy Smith||CB||Titans||Ribs/Shoulder||Limited||TBD|
|Baltimore Ravens||Willie Snead||WR||Titans||Ankle||Limited||TBD|
|Tennessee Titans||AJ Brown||WR||Ravens||Knee/Hand||DNP||TBD|
|New Orleans Saints||Trey Hendrickson||DE||Bears||Neck||DNP||TBD|
|New Orleans Saints||Nick Easton||G||Bears||Concussion||DNP||TBD|
|Chicago Bears||Allen Robinson||WR||Saints||Hamstring||DNP||TBD|
|Chicago Bears||Darnell Mooney||WR||Saints||Ankle||DNP||TBD|
|Chicago Bears||Buster Skrine||CB||Saints||Concussion||DNP||TBD|
|Chicago Bears||Roquan Smith||LB||Saints||Elbow||DNP||TBD|
|Cleveland Browns||Donovan Peoples-Jones||WR||Steelers||Concussion||DNP||TBD|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||JuJu Smith-Schuster||WR||Browns||Knee||DNP||TBD|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Isaiah Buggs||DE||Browns||Illness||DNP||TBD|
Diggs, Beasley Questionable
Josh Allen has played a pivotal role in the Buffalo Bills’ climb to the top of the AFC East standings this season. However, the Bills’ quarterback could be forced to make do with limited downfield options in Saturday’s date with the Indianapolis Colts after receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley came out of Thursday’s practice listed as questionable. Diggs has developed instant chemistry with Allen during his first season in Buffalo, racking up an NFL-best 1,535 receiving yards and making five scoring passes. Beasley has also impressed while piling up a personal-best 967 receiving yards to go along with four TD catches and one scoring pass.
“I’m cool. No major issue. Don’t believe everything you read. I’m alright. Thanks for asking.”
-Stefon Diggs on his oblique injury#BillsMafia
— Dan Fetes (@danfetes) January 6, 2021
The uncertainty surrounding the availability of the duo for Saturday afternoon’s clash at Bills Stadium has been reflected in the point spread, with Buffalo briefly slipping to a 6-point favorite before rebounding to -6.5 after climbing to 7-point chalk earlier in the week. While the loss of Diggs or Beasley would be unwelcome, it would be far from a showstopper for the high-powered Bills. With Beasley injured and Diggs resting last weekend, the Bills received outstanding performances from receivers Isaiah MacKenzie, John Brown, and Gabriel Davis in a 56-26 victory over Miami.
Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker
Colts Defense Hit by Injuries
The Colts could be without cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and DeForest Buckner, who are both listed as questionable. Buckner struggled with injury earlier in the season but has recorded seven sacks over the Colts’ past four victories.
Starting CB Rock Ya-Sin is out for Saturday. DT DeForest Buckner is questionable with his ankle injury. #Bills #INDvsBUF pic.twitter.com/XMN7cN8ImD
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrownBills) January 7, 2021
And while Ya-Sin is officially listed as questionable after missing Thursday practice due to a concussion, media reports suggest that he will not be available on Saturday.
Smith, Gibson, McLaurin Among WFT Walking Wounded
Receiving corps injuries are also a concern ahead of Saturday night’s clash between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Football Team. Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans remains listed as questionable as he struggles with a knee injury that limited him in Thursday practice, while Washington’s Terry McLaurin remains hobbled by an ankle injury. Washington rusher Antonio Gibson is also questionable after being limited on Thursday by a lingering toe injury.
Alex Smith on injury: “Tomorrow is going to be a telling day”https://t.co/Cs5kNbWf91 pic.twitter.com/pM2tiSGzaI
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) January 6, 2021
Of greater concern in Washington is the uncertain status of quarterback Alex Smith, whose midseason return sparked the team to the top of the NFC East standings. Not surprisingly, the possibility of Smith missing Saturday’s contest with a lingering leg injury has shaken WFT at the sportsbooks, where they drifted to 8.5-point underdogs after opening at +7.
Goff Injury Fails to Shake Rams’ Odds
Questions under center also dog the Los Angeles Rams ahead of their Saturday afternoon visit to Seattle. Jared Goff remained a limited participant at practice this week as he works on recovering from a thumb injury. The Rams managed to escape with an 18-7 win over the injury-ravaged Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, but face a much stiffer test against a healthy Seahawks squad that kept Goff out of the end zone in a 20-9 victory two weeks ago.
The latest on Rams QB Jared Goff as they wrap up the practice week ahead of Saturday’s game in Seattle. pic.twitter.com/pACQnCN8uk
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) January 8, 2021
The uncertainty surrounding Goff has failed to dampen the Rams’ odds. Los Angeles has improved to 3-point underdogs after opening at +4.5, while the total has dipped slightly to 42.
Browns Playoff Return Overshadowed by COVID Outbreak
The Cleveland Browns’ return to the playoffs has been overshadowed by an outbreak of COVID-19 that has kept the team off the practice field. As of Friday morning, media reports are indicating at least seven Browns players are confirmed as out.
Browns have placed 17 players on their COVID-19 Reserve list over the last two weeks; ten of those players still remain on the list, including Joel Bitonio and Khadarel Hodge, who were added today. pic.twitter.com/dJ3UzuriV7
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 5, 2021
That list includes safety Ronnie Harrison, guard Joel Bitonio, cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson, linebacker Malcolm Smith, receiver KhaDarel Hodge and tight end Harrison Bryant. And despite being unable to practice, the team issued a Thursday injury report that listed Donovan Peoples-Jones as DNP with a concussion. However, the team has yet to release official game statuses. The nightmare scenario has devastated the Browns odds, dumping them to 6-point underdogs after opening as strong as +3. Rescheduling of Sunday night’s game remains a possibility, which would likely be fine with the Steelers, who have endured multiple schedule changes this season.
The #Steelers added JuJu Smith-Schuster to the injury report with a knee injury. He failed to practice.
Kicker Chris Boswell returned to practice as did the rest of the injured Steelers.
Read more 👇https://t.co/QahSxY0OUO pic.twitter.com/MfhDlklI7C
— SteelerNation (@SteeIerNation) January 7, 2021
A postponement would likely provide the Browns with an opportunity to get in at least one practice, and give Pittsburgh receiving leader JuJu Smith-Schuster time to nurse a lingering knee injury that he has battled the injury all season. But while Smith-Schuster has regularly missed practice as a result, he has not missed any games.
Saints Get Good News on Thomas, Kamara
The New Orleans Saints received a lift by Michael Thomas’ return to practice ahead of the Wild Card Playoffs. The star receiver has been sidelined by an ankle injury since Week 14. Alvin Kamara has also avoided the injury report. The star rusher has been away from the team since testing positive for COVID-19 last week, and has not participated in practice this week, but expects to be available for Sunday. The good news has helped boost the Saints to improving 10-point chalk in Sunday’s matchup.
See y’all Sunday ❤️
— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) January 8, 2021
Conversely, the Bears are dealing with a multiple minor injuries. Receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney both missed Thursday practice. LB Khalil Mack has been a full participant and currently has no injury status despite battling a shoulder ailment. However, LB Roquan Smith and CB Buster Skrine have both missed practice this week.
Concern here is Allen Robinson, who sat out today but participated in full yesterday. With Josh Woods’ injury, along with Roquan Smith’s injury, #Bears could be very thin at LB on Sunday. https://t.co/pDeLyqvlWu
— Usayd Koshul (@usaydkoshul) January 7, 2021
In Baltimore, CB Marlon Humphrey and DE Yannick Ngakoue saw limited action in Ravens practice this week, as did receiver Willie Snead. The Tennessee Titans also face injury concerns, most notably leading receiver AJ Brown, who tweaked an ankle injury in Week 17, and did not participate on Thursday. The Titans have held their own at the sportsbooks since opening as 3.5-point underdogs, but that could change depending on what’s contained in the team’s final injury report on Friday afternoon.
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.