While backup quarterback Chad Henne inspired hashtags on social media to help the Kansas City Chiefs hold the Cleveland Browns in the division playoffs last Sunday, all eyes were on K.C. (and the NFL) were looking at the Chiefs’ injury reports and wondering if All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be available for Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
As for the other three teams, the Bills have questions with wide receivers and could promote a veteran off the training team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping for Antonio Brown and a key defensive player who has been out since October. The Green Bay Packers could have their hands on deck.
Our NFL Nation reporters update the top injury question for any team competing over the weekend of the conference championship:
# 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at # 1 Green Bay Packers, 3:05 p.m. ET, Fox
Buccaneers: An MRI showed no major structural damage to the knee of the broad recipient Antonio Brown, and he will be “daily” this week, a source told ESPN. Brown had become Tom Brady’s most targeted recipient in the last five weeks of the regular season. In a surprising move that practically no one saw coming, the Bucs activated the defensive tackle vita vea from the injured reserve this week. Vea suffered a broken ankle against the Bears in Week 5 but has made encouraging progress that the team are considering using him this week, which would add huge pressure on Aaron Rodgers and make the Bucs’ top run defense even stronger against Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones. Tampa Bay will get a better sense of Vea’s progress and readiness as the week progresses. – Jenna Laine
Packer: The Packers didn’t have a single DNP among their active players on Wednesday, which was good news for their rewind depth after rookie AJ Dillon was unable to finish Saturday’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams due to a quad injury. Same goes for kicker Mason Crosby, who injured his shoulder after a miss in an extra point attempt and led owner JK Scott to try to give Crosby a pass for the conversion. As long as the packers haven’t planned forgeries with Crosby as a passerby or recipient, they should be fine. – Rob Demovsky
Buffalo Bills # 2 with the Kansas City Chiefs # 1, 6:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Bills: How severe is Gabriel Davis’ ankle injury? The rookie receiver left Saturday’s win against the Ravens before returning but didn’t train in Buffalo’s first practice session of the week on Wednesday. Davis’ absence is arguably the most versatile recipient of the Bills alongside Stefon Diggs. His absence creates a hole in the Bill’s offense that could potentially be filled with Kenny Stills through recently signed practice groups. It’s too early to guess whether Davis will play or not, but Buffalo needs all hands on deck to win its first AFC championship since the 1993 season. – Marcel Louis-Jacques
Bosses: Patrick Mahomes’ work week could not have started better. He practiced Wednesday despite staying on the concussion log. The Chiefs listed Mahomes as a limited training participant, despite coach Andy Reid saying he took all of the snapshots in practice. – Adam Teicher