AFC Playoff Preview - Team SIC Health Scores

Sports Injury Central
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) and linebacker Josh Allen (41) try to run down
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) and linebacker Josh Allen (41) try to run down / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY
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#1 Kansas City Chiefs - SIC score 93

Offense: For the fourth time in five seasons, neither Patrick Mahomes nor Travis Kelce missed a game due to injury and they led the league’s best scoring offense and passing offense with a shuffling of offensive weapons around the Hall-of-fame duo. 

Wide receivers Juju Smith-Schuster (concussion), Mecole Hardman (abdominal injury), and Kadarius Toney (hamstring) each missed a handful of games but all three are healthy and available heading into the playoffs, helping Kansas City to a 93.3 pass offense SIC score.

The biggest development over the season was Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who suffered a high-ankle sprain and ceded his backfield snaps to Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon. 

Rookie Pacheco has 118 rushes for 569 yards and three scores in the last eight games and the veteran McKinnon has 31 rushes for 136 yards and 25 receptions for 274 yards and eight total touchdowns in Weeks 13-17. 

Most importantly, each of the five starting offensive linemen played at least 86% of the snaps this season and only left guard Joe Thuney, who is nursing a mild ankle injury, has missed time since their bye in Week 8. 

Defense: Rookie first-round cornerback Trent McDuffie suffered a groin injury in Week 1 and missed the first half of the season. Since his return in Week 9, the Chiefs have allowed 20.44 points per game on 181.9 passing yards with 15 touchdowns, seven picks, 30 sacks, and 6.3 yards per attempt, all significantly improved from the first seven games.

All 11 starters are healthy and expected to be ready for the playoffs and only L’Jarius Sneed (hip) and Nick Bolton (rib) were listed on the Week 18 injury report.

Overall: The Chiefs will have the AFC No. 1 seed and league MVP, and are far-and-away the healthiest team entering the playoffs.

#2 Buffalo Bills - SIC score 85.6

Offense: The Bills are down veteran WRs Jamison Crowder and Jake Kumerow, but have fared well on offense the entire season with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox healthy. 

With Josh Allen at the helm, the Bills have scored the fifth most points in the league and rank 9th in both passing yards and rushing yards. 

Defense: Free safety Damar Hamlin is a big loss in countless ways for this team. The fact that he’s alive and on the road to recovery is great news given the circumstances, but his play in the secondary will be hard to replace. Hamlin had been filling in admirably for All-Pro safety Micah Hyde, while strong safety Jordan Poyer is playing through a partially torn lateral meniscus.

Despite the loss of star pass rusher Von Miller, the Bills have allowed the second least points this season. They rank middle of the pack in sacks with 39.

No. 1 cornerback Tre’Davious White is still working his way back from his Thanksgiving 2021 ACL tear, but the Bills’ secondary has allowed the 8th least yards. 

Overview: The preseason Super Bowl favorites have picked up bumps and bruises at key positions, but have ranked well statistically despite the turmoil.

#3 Cincinnati Bengals - SIC score 89.7

Offense: Joe Burrow struggled in the first month of the season after suffering complications during an appendectomy, Ja’Marr Chase missed Weeks 8-13 with a hip injury, and Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon both suffered concussions, but the Bengals’ offense is healthy with a 91 SIC score and averaged 29.2 points per game between Weeks 9-17.

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Right tackle La’el Collins tore his ACL late in the season and 25-year-old Hakeem Adeniji – who has now spent time at left tackle, right guard, and right tackle in his three NFL seasons – will start his first full game this season in Week 18. Left tackle Jonah Williams suffered a hyperextended knee in Week 5 but only missed six snaps and has allowed 11 sacks this season, the second-most by a qualified tackle. 

Defense: Any of the pro-bowl caliber AFC quarterbacks that faces the Cincinnati defense will face a vulnerable cornerback spot that starter Chidobe Awuzie left when he suffered a season-ending knee injury on Halloween. Safety Brandon Wilson is also expected to miss the rest of the season after he was placed on IR.

Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, and Tre Flowers have adopted the snaps, with Hilton posting a leading 57 tackles and 71.4 PFF grade and the second-round rookie Taylor-Britt has 46 tackles and five passes defended since his debut in Week 7. 

Defensive ends Trey Hendrickson (back, wrist) and Sam Hubbard (calf) missed late-season games but each are expected to be healthy for the playoffs.

Overall: Burrow, Chase, and Higgins will once again attempt a late playoff run behind an underperforming and injured offensive line and alongside a secondary with holes. 

#4 Jacksonville Jaguars - SIC score 89.2

Offense: Trevor Lawrence has had a breakout season after his treacherous rookie season, which resulted in the firing of former Jaguars coach Urban Meyer. This season Lawrence ranks top 15 in passing yards, PFF grade, passing touchdowns, and QBR. 

But, the sophomore quarterback suffered a minor toe injury in the team’s week 17 game. Lawrence is expected to be a full go in the Jaguars' week 18 game against the Titans for the division. 

Jaguars offensive guard Brandon Scherff suffered an abdomen and ankle injury in the team’s week 17 game. But he’s projected to start this week against the Titans.

Defense: The 2022 NFL Draft started with Travon Walker's name being called first. The surprise number one picks career hasn't jumped out to its fastest start. 

He has a 58.6 PFF grade and only four sacks this season. To make matters worse, the DE suffered a mild high ankle sprain in week 14. 

He returned to action in week 17 but looked hampered and only registered a 51.8 PFF grade. Walker should be limited again in week 18, but if the Jaguars make the playoffs, he should be closer to being healthy.

Overview: Outside of some offensive line issues, the Jaguars are healthy and ready for a must-win matchup against the Titans.

#5 Los Angeles Chargers - SIC score 81

Offense: Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater will miss the rest of the season with a biceps injury he suffered in late September. Rookie sixth-round pick Jamaree Slayer has stepped in admirably, with a PFF pass blocking grade of 75.1 and a run blocking grade of 51.7. 

The only other notable absence on offense is third-year wideout Jaylen Guyton, who was lost to a torn ACL early this season. 

Defense: Star pass rusher Joey Bosa returned Week 17 for his first game since suffering a core muscle injury Week 17. He was also reportedly dealing with food poisoning and recorded just two tackles. His 1.5 sacks and 9 combined tackles are much lower than his usual totals but he should be healthy enough to make an impact in the playoffs. 

Nose tackle Austin Johnson is out for the season with a knee injury along with depth defensive lineman Christian Covington, leaving Los Angeles relatively thin up the middle.

Overview: Los Angeles’ injury issues at DL have made it tough to stop opponents on the ground recently, but the return of Joey Bosa should help. Their offense is firing on all cylinders and enters the playoffs with just one key injury.

#6 Baltimore Ravens - SIC score 79.4

Offense: All eyes are on Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson's knee injury. Jackson has missed four straight games after injuring his PCL against the Denver Broncos. 

He hasn't practiced fully since the injury, and the Ravens will likely sit him out in week 18. Jackson will have had five weeks to heal by the team's playoff game. Jackson's backup, Tyler Huntley, is also banged up, battling through right shoulder, right ankle, and wrist injuries. 

He has started every game. Jackson has been absent, but the injuries are beginning to add up. The Ravens have also injured wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. 

Both receivers have landed on the team's injured reserve list. But the team's running backs and offensive line have gotten healthier as the weeks passed.

Defense: The Ravens' defense has gotten healthier as the season has gone by. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Williams, and David Ojabo have all returned to action. 

But cornerback Marcus Peters injured his calf against the Cleveland Browns. He's been practicing in a limited capacity, so the team might let him rest one week before the playoffs.

Peters has proved to be having a good season as the Ravens' CB2, with a 69.5 PFF coverage grade.

Overview: Despite missing star quarterback Lamar Jackson for the last five games of the season,  

#7: Miami Dolphins - SIC score 77.8

Offense: Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol after he suffered his second official concussion of the season in Week 16 against the Packers. The team will be cautious with Tagovailoa and his return to the field. That leaves Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson as the other available options.

Bridgewater was decent against the Patriots in Week 17, but suffered a pinky dislocation that could affect his accuracy throwing the ball.

It remains to be seen who will play in Week 18, but Bridgewater should be available for Miami in the playoffs if they advance.

Star left tackle Terron Armstead has also dealt with a trio of ailments this season, as has starting right tackle Austin Jackson. 

Defense: The Dolphins are also a mess on defense due to injury. Their top 3 cornerbacks will miss Week 18 along with defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. Starting strong safety Brandon Jones is out for the season with a knee injury and free agent acquisition Bradley Chubb is playing through a wrist injury.

Miami ranks 8th in rushing yards allowed this season, but is 27th in passing yards allowed and 28th in passing touchdowns allowed.

Overview: Miami will have numerous injury issues plaguing them early in the playoffs.

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