There really is no better time of the year than the NFL playoffs. The level of play increases, the pressure mounts, and each snap carries with it the weight of an organization hoping to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. It’s the best. For players, it’s a moment that they’ve waited for and strived to reach all season — if not longer — and that time has finally arrived with Super Wild-Card Weekend upon us.
As we await kickoff for this six-game slate over the course of Saturday and Sunday, there are a number of key injuries that are worth monitoring. All 12 teams on the schedule have now officially released their final injury reports and with it come game statuses for their playoff openers. Below, you’ll find those statuses for every injured player coming into the weekend along with the latest reports of which questionable players may be able to suit up.
Indianapolis at Buffalo
For the Colts, DeForest Buckner is naturally a massive name to monitor as we get closer to kickoff, but this feels like he is more probable than anything. The defensive tackle suffered an ankle injury back on Dec. 17 and the team has simply limited him throughout the week. He was estimated to be a non-participant in the first two walkthrough practices of this week, but did participate on a limited basis on Thursday. That was the case last week as well and Buckner was able to play.
In Buffalo, the receiver position takes center stage. Both Diggs and Beasley are key fixtures in the Bills passing game and it looks like both will be able to gut through their injuries. Each player was limited on Thursday and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports Diggs is good to go while Beasley believes he can play though a knee injury that kept him out of Week 17.
Los Angeles at Seattle
Rams injuries: G David Edwards (ankle), QB Jared Goff (right thumb), LB Micah Kiser (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Seahawks injuries: CB Shaquill Griffin (hamstring), RB Rashaad Penny (knee), DT Jarran Reed (oblique) QUESTIONABLE
The biggest injury news for this game surrounds the status of Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Sean McVay has been tight-lipped about Goff’s status heading into this game after missing time at the end of the regular season due to a fractured right thumb that required surgery. When asked directly if Goff, who was limited throughout the week of practice, would start, the head coach on Thursday said, “We are going to work through that and we’ll see on Saturday.” McVay did note on Wednesday, however, that Goff was felling good and “went through what a normal practice would entail,” which is encouraging. L.A. will be getting back Cooper Kupp (COVID-19 list) and tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) for this game as well.
With Seattle, the fact that safety Jamal Adams (shoulder, hand) doesn’t carry an injury designation coming into this matchup is the story and a potential X-factor in this head-to-head.
“No question in my mind. I’m playing, man,” Adams told reporters Wednesday. “Look, as long as these legs are moving, man, as long as my faith is with the man upstairs, which is very strong, I’m going to be out there.”
It is noteworthy that the Seahawks did list corner Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) and running back Rashaad Penny (knee) as questionable after both popped up on the injury report on Thursday. Griffin did not participate while Penny was limited.
Tampa Bay at Washington
Buccaneers injuries: DT Jeremiah Ledbetter (calf), RB LeSean McCoy (illness) OUT; CB Carlton Davis (groin), WR Mike Evans (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Washington injuries: LB Thomas Davis (knee) OUT; RB Antonio Gibson (toe), WR Terry McLaurin (ankle), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), QB Alex Smith (calf) QUESTIONABLE
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Mike Evans is expected to play against Washington. The star receiver suffered a hyperextended knee injury in Week 17, which was overall a bullet dodged as it appeared like it could have been much worst when watching him go down live. He was able to return to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and seems like he has a shot to get out there as the Bucs march into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
For Washington, all eyes are on the offense. That said, it looks like Ron Rivera is going to have not only Alex Smith available for this game, but the quarterback will also have his two main weapons in Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin. All three of those key fixtures to the offense were able to practice on a limited basis this week, which bodes well for Saturday. Guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder) was limited in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday but practiced fully on Thursday and carries no injury designation.
Baltimore at Tennessee
Ravens injuries: G Ben Bredeson (knee), T D.J. Fluker (knee), CB Marlon Humphrey (shoulder), C Patrick Mekari (back), OLB Yannick Ngakoue (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (ribs/shoulder), WR Willie Snead IV (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Titans injuries: No players listed
Both Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith look like they have a strong chance of playing on Sunday. Despite being listed as questionable, both corners were able to practice this week. Humphrey was even a full participant on Friday, which is extremely promising. Outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue also practiced fully to end the week.
As for Tennessee, though Mike Vrabel revealed that A.J. Brown did not practice on Friday (knee/hand), Brown is confident he’ll be available. “If I got breath in my body, I’m gonna play,” he told The Tennessean.
Chicago at New Orleans
Bears injuries: DB Buster Skrine (concussion) OUT; DB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), WR Darnell Mooney (ankle), LB Roquan Smith (elbow), LB Josh Woods (toe/glute) QUESTIONABLE
Saints injuries: G Nick Easton (concussion), DE Trey Hendrickson (neck) OUT
Things are not looking particularly promising for Bears linebacker Roquan Smith. He missed the entire week of practice due to an elbow injury and leaves his status for Sunday in serious doubt, which would be a massive blow to Chicago’s defense. Mooney, who injured himself late in the Packers game, also wasn’t able to practice this week.
While New Orleans is still hoping to get some reinforcements back on offense in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, the defense will be missing a key piece in defensive end Trey Hendrickson. The Saints sack leader is dealing with a neck injury that saw him miss both Thursday and Friday’s practice and now has him ruled out for Sunday. Hendrickson finished the year with 13.5 sacks and 25 quarterback hits so this is a big pass-rushing presence that New Orleans will be without this weekend. As for Thomas, he is still on injured reserve, so he doesn’t come up on the club’s injury report. The Saints must be activated by Saturday afternoon in order to play Sunday.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Browns injuries: T Jack Conklin (knee, illness), DE Myles Garrett (shoulder), CB Terrance Mitchell (not injury related), WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (concussion), DT Sheldon Richardson (neck), CB M.J. Stewart (calf), G Wyatt Teller (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Steelers injuries: No players listed
Cleveland was dealt a rough hand these last few weeks as COVID-19 has hit the organization and will keep head coach Kevin Stefanski and others out of this playoff contest. Because of the COVID situation, the Browns were only able to practice on Friday. While there may be concern seeing Myles Garrett listed as questionable, Stefanski said on Friday that he’s confident the star pass rusher will play.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is as healthy as you’d want to be coming into the playoffs.