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NFL Week 7 injury updates



The NFL season is on Chapter 7, and teams are starting to find their identities as they trudge along each week. Some teams understand that they are not among the league’s elite, while others are still trying to make the case that they belong in that conversation. Injuries have been a constant variable among teams this season.

Entering Week 7, many teams are having to manage their rosters after learning of ailments to their players. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is dealing with many issues to his left shoulder, which kept him out of Thursday’s 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Indianapolis Colts suffered a big blow in the secondary, as safety Julian Blackmon tore an Achilles in Wednesday’s practice, knocking him out for the season.

Additionally, the Tennessee Titans lost rookie Caleb Farley for the year after the cornerback tore an ACL in his team’s Monday night victory over the Buffalo Bills — heartbreaking news given how many injuries he has already endured at just 22 years old.

Before the weekend action kicks off, our NFL Nation reporters are back again with critical injury updates for key players.

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Injury: Knee

The Falcons will be without their best edge rusher, Dante Fowler Jr., on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Fowler has two sacks — and two forced fumbles on those sacks. He’s the team’s most explosive pass-rusher and a player opposing offenses need to pay attention to. Atlanta might look in multiple directions without him in the lineup, including more playtime for veterans Steven Means and Brandon Copeland and rookie Ade Ogundeji. — Michael Rothstein

Injury: Neck/illness

Erving was limited Thursday with a neck injury and missed Friday’s practice with an illness, so he’s questionable for Sunday against the Giants after missing the Eagles game two weeks ago. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Panthers went with rookie Brady Christensen anyway. He started two weeks ago at right tackle, with Taylor Moton moving to the left side to replace Erving, but Christensen is more of a natural left tackle from college. The Panthers just didn’t want his first start to be on the left side.

The play of the line is critical, as coach Matt Rhule vowed to have a vastly different look offensively that relies more on the run. Solid blocking up front could mean a lot for rookie back Chuba Hubbard. — David Newton

Injury: Knee

Hockenson is looking to get back on track, and the Lions’ coaching staff is making a conscious effort to keep him engaged. He told reporters that he’d be ready to go earlier this week, although he is listed as questionable after being mostly limited in practice all week. — Eric Woodyard

Injury: Groin

Swift’s groin injury has been getting monitored by the Lions since the start of training camp. He’s listed as questionable after limited practice throughout the week, but he will be ready to go.

Injury: Oblique

Smith has never missed a game in his seven NFL seasons. He’s 102-for-102, but the outside linebacker’s streak will be in jeopardy Sunday. He played only eight snaps last week before dropping out and did not return to practice until Friday, when he was limited and listed as questionable.

The Packers are already without their other starting edge rusher, Za’Darius Smith. If Preston does not play, then Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke would face the Packers without their top two edge rushers. — Rob Demovsky

Injury: Quad

Hilton did not practice all week and is questionable for the game against the San Francisco 49ers because of a quad injury suffered in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans in Week 6.

“I mean, it’s probably not likely that he’s going to go, but I’m not going to rule it out just yet,” coach Frank Reich said. “I just want to talk to him [Saturday], see how he’s feeling.”

Quarterback Carson Wentz will already be without one key receiver, as Parris Campbell might miss the rest of the season with a foot injury. Not having Hilton will put even more pressure on Michael Pittman Jr. and Zach Pascal. — Mike Wells

Injury: Wrist

The Chiefs expect Jones to be available on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans for the first time since he played in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be just the second game this season in which the Chiefs will have both Jones and their other highly paid pass rusher, Frank Clark. The Chiefs have only seven sacks. Jones has two and Clark none. — Adam Teicher

Injury: Personal matter

Jefferson, whose two sacks rank third on the team, missed practice this week, as he was away taking care of a family situation. He is expected back by game time, however, and interim coach Rich Bisaccia said his availability will be decided then. Jefferson has started all six games and also has six QB hits and a forced fumble. If he is unavailable, expect Solomon Thomas, who has 2.5 sacks, to step in as the starter. — Paul Gutierrez

Injury: Shoulder

Dealing with a shoulder injury, Michel did not practice Wednesday and was listed as a limited participant for the remainder of the practice week. However, coach Sean McVay said before Friday’s practice that Michel is expected to play against the Lions. In a role behind running back Darrell Henderson Jr., Michel has rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown on 54 carries in six games. — Lindsey Thiry

Injury: Shoulder/Groin

Even if it were only Howard questionable for Sunday’s game, his absence would be a big loss for the Dolphins. But joining him on the questionable list are fellow cornerback Byron Jones and former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene — meaning Miami could be down three corners when it hosts the Falcons this week. If all three are sidelined, it is a blowup spot for everyone on Atlanta’s offense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Injury: Shoulder

Jones is the Patriots’ top slot cornerback, so his absence from the game (he was ruled out Friday) has a trickle-down effect when considering the New York Jets‘ passing attack and potential big plays for veteran Jamison Crowder, rookie Elijah Moore and others on the inside part of the field. In addition to Jones, the Patriots could be without starting DT Davon Godchaux (finger) and starting LB Dont’a Hightower (elbow/ankle). — Mike Reiss

Injury: Ankle

Barkley will be out another game after injuring an ankle against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. Devontae Booker will continue to be the primary back, but that’s only the beginning of New York’s injuries on offense. — Jordan Raanan

Injury: Knee

The G-Men will be without their most talented receiver in Golladay this week, further limiting the firepower in New York’s offense. Sterling Shepard is predicted to be the No. 1 option, but he is also dealing with a hamstring injury that could impact his effectiveness.

Injury: Ankle

Toney is the second pass-catcher who will miss the Giants’ contest against the Panthers. His ankle injury hasn’t healed enough, which means quarterback Daniel Jones will be without three of his top playmakers — not to mention he won’t have LT Andrew Thomas protecting his blind side, as he is also out because of injury.

Injury: Elbow/ankle

Williams was a surprise addition to the injury report this week after speaking to the media and participating in practice on Monday, where he apparently aggravated the ankle issue that began in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals. But he didn’t practice Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday night against the Colts. That would be a big loss for the 49ers, who will turn to rookie Jaylon Moore if Williams is unable to play. And with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returning from his own calf injury and Trey Lance unavailable with a sprained knee, protection will need to be at even more of a premium than usual. — Nick Wagoner

Injury: Knee

Jackson was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday but did not participate Friday. Instead, he worked on a side field with trainers. He’s listed as questionable. Jackson has been inconsistent in his first season with Washington as he adjusts to a new scheme and techniques. But it would still be a loss for Washington. If he can’t play, rookie Benjamin St-Juste would start in his place alongside Kendall Fuller. Washington already lost corner Torry McTyer to a torn ACL, so its depth isn’t great. Danny Johnson or Corn Elder might see action if Jackson can’t play. — John Keim

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Buffalo Bills make playoff history with 7 touchdown drives in blowout win vs. New England Patriots



ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills didn’t just beat the New England Patriots. They made a statement to the entire NFL.

The Bills dominated the teams’ third meeting in 41 days, winning 47-17 at home to move on to the Divisional round of the playoffs. Buffalo scored a touchdown on all seven of their possessions, becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to score a TD on each of their first seven drives of a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With the win, the Bills have beaten the Patriots twice by double-digits in a single season (33-21 in Week 16), becoming the first team to do so since Bill Belichick became head coach.

Dating back to that game in Week 16, the Bills’ last 13 drives against the Patriots have yielded 11 scores (10 touchdowns and one field goal). During that stretch, the only thing that stopped the Buffalo offense was the clock.

Not only did the offense put up an impressive performance, but the Bills continued to show improvements in areas that have caused issues throughout the season. The running game was effective and the offensive line that has had a rollercoaster year set the tempo.

But the most impressive part of the game for the Bills was the performance of quarterback Josh Allen. Coming into the game, one of the big questions was if Allen could step up in freezing temperatures. He did far more than that with temperatures below 10 degrees throughout the game, putting together one of the best performances of his career.

Allen continued his stellar performance against the Patriots from a few weeks prior, completing 21/25 passes (84%) for 308 yards and five touchdowns, in addition to six carries for 66 yards. It is the highest completion percentage in a playoff game with 25 or more attempts since Aaron Rodgers in the 2010 Divisional Playoffs (86.1%)

He became the third player in the Super Bowl era with at least 150 pass yards and 50 rush yards in a single half of a playoff game, per Elias, and joined Drew Brees (2009) and Russell Wilson (2020) as the only quarterbacks to throw for five touchdowns against a Belichick-coached team.

Allen’s performance included two touchdown passes to tight end Dawson Knox and one to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The score was Sanders’ first touchdown in the postseason, coming in his 14th career playoff game with his fifth different team.

Allen’s fifth touchdown was a one-yard throw to reserve offensive lineman Tommy Doyle. All five of his touchdown throws came in play-action, the most by any player in a regular-season or playoff game since 2006 when ESPN began tracking play-action. He has gone four straight games without being sacked.

Running back Devin Singletary ran for two touchdowns behind an offensive line that dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game.

The defense limited rookie quarterback Mac Jones throughout the game, including forcing two interceptions.

The Bills will now head to the Divisional round of the playoffs for a second straight season with a perfect record in home playoff games under McDermott. With a Chiefs win on Sunday night, the Bills would head to Kansas City, the site of last year’s AFC Championship loss.

Buffalo is 0-3 in road playoff games since McDermott became head coach (0-3). With a Pittsburgh Steelers win, the Bills would host the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

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Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby want Rich Bisaccia back as Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach



CINCINNATI — Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby both heartily endorsed Rich Bisaccia retaining the head-coaching job permanently following Las Vegas’ season-ending 26-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday night.

Bisaccia was promoted from special teams coordinator to interim head coach following Jon Gruden’s resignation on Oct. 11.

“I think we can all think that he’s the right guy,” Carr said of Bisaccia. “He’s proven that people listen to him. Our team listens to him. And I love him so much, I’m thankful for him. All those things will be decisions that I don’t make; I don’t get to make. I just play quarterback … but with everything that went on, if you really look at what happened, all the pieces missing, everything that changed, yeah, he held it together.”

Carr referenced the Raiders losing starting guards Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good to injury in the preseason and opener, respectively. He also talked about receiver Henry Ruggs III being cut following his involvement in a high-speed car crash that left a woman dead. Carr also cited Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller missing five games down the stretch; Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs being dinged up and unavailable at times; and losing versatile running back Kenyan Drake to a knee injury in Week 13.

“You go on and on and on and on, and that’s just offense,” said Carr, who had driven the Raiders to the Bengals’ 9-yard line before being intercepted at the 2-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 12 seconds to play Saturday night. “The fact that that staff kept everything together and kept us competitive and kept us finding ways to win football games, I think that’s what our organization is about, right? So, we’ll see what happens. We know what we want to have happen. But, again, we’re Raiders. We’re going to play football, but we just hope it, obviously, we hope it’s for somebody special.”

Carr also said he would stay out of direct conversations when it came to his future with the team. He has one year remaining on the five-year, $125 million extension he signed in 2017.

He said his agent and the Raiders have a good relationship.

“Lord knows there’s been a lot of things to communicate about, right?” Carr said. “When the time comes, I never want a face-to-face. I’m going to play quarterback, but my message will be talked about.

“I’m not going to go to dinner and say, ‘We have to do something.’ I’m not that guy. I’ll let my voice be heard, but in a different way.”

Crosby, who was just named second-team All-Pro, called Bisaccia a “great leader” for the Raiders.

“If it was up to me, I think everyone in the world knows what my decision would be,” said Crosby, who had a sack among his six tackles on Saturday. “I love Rich. You know, I’m biased, obviously, but he’s, he’s a great coach … he came in and got us to 10 wins. We came on the road, on a short week, and gave Cincinnati everything they could handle.

“One of the best people I know. One of the most honest dudes I know. And I’ll go to bat for him any day of the week. I love that dude to death. He knows that. I appreciate everything he’s brought to the table. I hope we keep doing it.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis has remained silent on the team’s head-coaching search, as well as on the futures of Carr and general manager Mike Mayock.

Bisaccia, meanwhile, laughed when asked if he thought about being elevated to the full-time job.

“I’m just thinking about those guys in that locker room that played the game with their heart and soul out there like that,” he said, “and had a chance to win at the end.”

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Bengals win first playoff game in 31 years, set the table for a run at AFC title – Cincinnati Bengals Blog



CINCINNATI — Send those text messages. The Cincinnati Bengals have finally won a playoff game.

Cincinnati defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 at Paul Brown Stadium in an AFC wild-card game on Saturday. It was Cincinnati’s first playoff victory in 31 years, since before cell phones were capable of sending texts, as memes on the internet reminded folks in the days preceding the game.

But the win wasn’t just about ending the longest playoff win drought in the NFL. It was about the first step in making a run at the AFC title.

Over the course of the season, Cincinnati went from the projected cellar dweller in the AFC North to division champs, ending a six-year stretch without a playoff appearance. That journey included an overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, one of the top teams in the NFL, and a Week 17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC representatives in last year’s Super Bowl.

Those performances indicated Cincinnati wasn’t just a team that could win a playoff game. They showed the Bengals can hang with the best in the NFL.

For the second time this season, the Bengals needed to hang tough against the Raiders in order to pick up a win. The first came on Week 11 and set the tone for the second half of Cincinnati’s season.

The second victory was much more significant. It gave the city of Cincinnati something it hasn’t experienced in decades and set the table for the Bengals to have a truly special postseason.

“We expect to beat everybody that we play, not just hang with them,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said after the game.

Burrow added: “I mean, it’s exciting. But this is expected. This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything. This is the cake. So we’re moving on.”

Describe the game in two words: Curse ending. The Bengals ended the fabled “Curse of Bo Jackson” — the former Raiders running back’s final NFL game in January 1991 that also ended Cincinnati’s last playoff run that featured a win.

“I’m just really, really happy for the city of Cincinnati and that they get a chance to enjoy this,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “And now, just exhale and enjoy the ride we have. Because we’re not done yet.”

Pivotal play: On third-and-four at the end of the first half, Bengals quarterback Burrow scrambled and found Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati a 20-6 lead. Initially, it appeared Burrow was going to go out of bounds. A referee even blew an errant whistle. But the play continued and Cincinnati got a key red-zone touchdown.

QB breakdown: Burrow was efficient in his playoff debut. After throwing for 148 yards earlier in the season against the Raiders, Burrow finished Saturday’s win completing 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

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