The Buffalo Bills are facing some significant challenges with injuries leading up to the Wild Card playoff game against the Steelers, and it could impact their defensive performance.
Starting cornerback Rasul Douglas and linebacker Tyrel Dodson are both dealing with injuries that might rule them out of the upcoming game.
According to Bills head coach Sean McDermott, all the injuries from their recent game in Miami are being assessed as day-to-day, but Dodson was the only one able to participate in practice, while Douglas remained sidelined.
Safety Taylor Rapp also sat out practice due to a calf injury, and wide receiver Gabe Davis was absent with a PCL sprain.
Davis made a considerable impact against the Steelers in Buffalo last year, recording three catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. If he’s unable to play, the Bills may turn to Khalil Shakir and Trent Sherfield.
Shakir has a remarkable record with a higher percentage of receptions resulting in first downs or touchdowns than any other player in the league. Sherfield’s performance has been inconsistent, but he did manage a spectacular touchdown catch against the Dolphins on a deflected pass.
In the absence of Davis, the Bills might look to other offensive weapons outside the receiving corps, potentially leading to increased roles for Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox.
Additionally, James Cook and Leonard Fournette could see more involvement in the passing game. The Bills’ running back Ty Johnson, known for his third-down and receiving skills, is currently dealing with a concussion and might also miss the upcoming game.
If Rasul Douglas is unable to play, Pitt product Dane Jackson is likely to start in his place. Jackson stepped in admirably for Douglas in a previous game when he had to exit due to a knee injury resulting from friendly fire.
The participation of these players in practice over the next two days will be crucial in determining their availability against the Steelers. Despite the Steelers missing T.J. Watt, they are expected to welcome Minkah Fitzpatrick back into the lineup.