The Cleveland Browns are getting their head coach Kevin Stefanski, who missed the wildcard game due to COVID-19, back for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Quarterbacks continue to grapple with injuries, particularly in Los Angeles, where Jared Goff is recovering from surgery on the thumb of his throwing hand and John Wolford is recovering from a sting. Ram’s defensive tackle Aaron Donald is also struggling with a rib injury sustained in the wild card round but is expected to play.
Our NFL Nation reporters update the top injury question for each team heading into the division weekend:
No. 6 Los Angeles Rams v No. 1 Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
Aries: Before the playoff playoff against the Packers on Saturday, the Rams are not lacking in injury concerns. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has a rib injury but is expected to play, according to Rams manager Sean McVay. “Unless something unforeseen happens,” said McVay, “the Terminator will be ready.” Receiver Cooper Kupp has bursitis in his knee and is commonplace, and then there’s the quarterback situation. Jared Goff is another week away from surgery on December 28th and John Wolford is recovering from a sting, but McVay doesn’t say which QB is on track to start against the Packers. – Lindsey Thiry
Packer: The Packers are now on COVID watch after recently signing Jared Veldheer’s positive test. A contact tracing investigation found no close contacts were established, but the Packers will be holding their breath and waiting for the daily tests until Saturday’s playoff game against the Rams. They’re otherwise healthy as far as football injuries go – aside from the obvious fact that All Pro David Bakhtiari isn’t getting back from his torn ACL. Davante Adams, who missed both bye workouts last week, wasn’t even listed in the injury report. – Rob Demovsky
# 5 Baltimore Ravens versus # 2 Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m. ET, NBC
Ravens: Three-time Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters looked sane as he intercepted the game and hopped on the Titans logo in the final two minutes of Sunday’s wildcard win in Tennessee. But Peters, one of the league’s longest-serving cornerbacks, missed Tuesday’s round and Wednesday’s training with a back injury. Peter’s availability plays a big role in this matchup against the Bills. Josh Allen completed an NFL high 302 wide receiver pass – 22 more than any other quarterback. If the Ravens don’t have a # 2 cornerback, they would rely on Jimmy Smith and Anthony Averett to fill the void. – Jamison Hensley
Bills: Can Broad Receiver’s knee hold Cole Beasley for at least another week? The Bills slot recipient made it through the wildcard round without setbacks after missing week 17 with a knee injury, and Buffalo says he should be available for Saturday’s game against the Ravens. The bills need their secondary recipient as a safety valve against Baltimore’s aggressive lightning scheme. – Marcel Louis-Jacques
No. 6 Cleveland Browns v No. 1 Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Browns: All-pro right-back Jack Conklin was sidelined on Wednesday due to a thigh injury that cut him out of Sunday’s playoff win against Pittsburgh. Coach Kevin Stefanski has called Conklin “commonplace” but the Browns are confident he will be ready in time for Cleveland’s division road trip to Kansas City. – Jake Trotter
Bosses: Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the chance to play against the Browns on Sunday. He practiced for the first time since his ankle and hip injury in a week 15 game against the Saints. Edwards-Helaire was a limited participant on Wednesday. The Chiefs could use a healthy Edwards Helaire who has more big play skills than the other two top backs Darrel Williams and Le’Veon Bell.– Adam Teicher
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers v No. 2 New Orleans Saints, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox
Buccaneers: Center-back Devin White and defenseman Steve McLendon both returned from the reserve / COVID-19 list after missing the last two games. However, Ronald Jones didn’t train on Wednesday as he missed last week’s wild card due to a quad injury. “I expect and hope that he can leave tomorrow,” said coach Bruce Arians of Jones. Right hand security guard Alex Cappa, who broke an ankle against Washington, will be replaced by Aaron Stinnie this week. – Jenna Laine
Saints: Defensive end Trey Hendrickson had limited training on Wednesday after missing last week’s game with a persistent stinger. Hendrickson not only led the Saints this season with 13.5 in sacks, but was also particularly big in the two wins over Tampa Bay with three combined sacks (plus a sack fumble that was negated by a penalty). Versatile offensive chess piece Taysom Hill didn’t train on Wednesday after a knee injury temporarily incapacitated him last Sunday, but it’s too early in the week to predict his status. – Mike Triplet