NFL Injury report for Playoff Divisional Round
By Drew Farmer
The NFL Playoffs are down to eight team's after last weekend's wildcard thrillers. At this time of the season, injuries play a factor unlike at any other time. One key injury could sideline a team's chances of marching on to the Super Bowl. With just two games separating each NFL team between it and the Super Bowl, the Divisional Round kicks off on Saturday. Who's healthy? Who's hurt? And who can battle through the pain? .
The Jacksonville Jaguars held on to beat the Buffalo Bills, 10-3, on Sunday. It could have been very different had Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor not been slammed to the ground in the final two minutes. Taylor suffered a concussion and left the game. The Jags defense was able to stand firm with Taylor out and the team advanced.
The Jaguars travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers on Sunday. The Jags go into the game with a couple of injury worries. Lineback Paul Posluszny left the Jags' game against the Bills during the second quarter and didn't return. The Jacksonville medical staff is still assessing Posluszny's hip injury. Wide receiver Jaydon Mickens also left the game early with a hamstring injury. Mickens only caught one pass in the Jaguars' final two games of the regular season. His injury could affect the team's kick and punt returns as Mickens has excelled on special teams.
Jacksonville's opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, should have their starters at full strength. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown missed the tail end of the regular season with a calf injury. He is expected to be 100% on Sunday when the Jags arrive in the Steel City. Brown's return will allow Ben Roethlisberger to stretch the Jags' secondary all game long.
Tennesse Titans shocked the Kansas City Chiefs with a 22-21 road win in the Wild Card round. The team's Tuesday injury report had three names on it. Running back DeMarco Murray, offensive lineman Quinton Spain and Logan Ryan were the names on the sheet.
New England Patriots
The good news for New England Patriots fans is the names Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski were removed from this week's team injury report. The two had been on the list during week 17, but now are back to 100% ahead of the Divisional Round. Running back Mike Gillislee did show up on the Pats' injury report. He is suffering from a knee injury. Although Gillislee is injured, the playoff bye has helped the Pats get everyone else healthy for the Titans arrival.
The Atlanta Falcons top wide receiver Julio Jones missed practice on Tuesday. However, the team said he is making the right progression to return to the team's starting lineup against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons medical staff said he is on the trajectory to return to practice before the weekend, which is great news for the team. Jones tallied more than 1,400-yards receiving during the regular season. Quarterback Matt Ryan also missed practice. However, it isn't believed to have been due to any injury. Ryan attended an appointment, but returned at the tail end of the team's session.
The Philadelphia Eagles only had one player absent from Tuesday's practice. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe sat out the session. Ellerbe is the team's starting middle linebacker, and if he isn't able to play on Saturday, it could greatly affect the team's rush defense. The linebacker has a hamstring injury, and it is expected his sitting out of practice will allow him to be healthy for the weekend.
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints will go into Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings without offensive guard Andrus Peat. The lineman broke his fibula in the team's win over Carolina Panthers during the Wild Card round. His name is the only major one on the team's injury report heading into the Divisional Round.
Unlike the other NFL Playoff teams, the Minnesota Vikings had no names appear on Tuesday's injury report. The team used its playoff bye to rest its players. The Vikings could always place a name on the injury report on Thursday or Friday ahead of their home games against New Orleans, however.