clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bills injury report looks rough ahead of Wild Card showdown with Steelers

The Steelers have caught several big breaks ahead of their playoff matchup on Sunday.

Gabe Davis #13 of the Buffalo Bills warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 7, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills will be without several key contributors coming up against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card matchup set for Sunday afternoon.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott has officially ruled out wide receiver Gabe Davis and safety Taylor Rapp for the Wild Card round, team reporter Maddy Glab shared, with cornerback Rasul Douglas and linebacker Tyrel Dodson also questionable for the outing.

Davis’ absence, in particular, is a biggie, having started opposite star Stefon Diggs all season, with big-play potential to no end. In his last game against the Steelers, Davis caught three of his six targets for 171 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He ranks second on the team with 746 receiving yards this season, also ranked second with 7 total receiving touchdowns. Davis has averaged 16.6 yards per reception this season, ranked fifth among all players this year with 75+ targets.

Though one could argue his absence may not be felt as significantly given that the projected wind gusts don’t bode well for his prospects in this game anyhow, it is one less big-time threat that the Steelers will have to defend on an every-down basis.

Meanwhile, the Bills continue to scramble on defense, as they have all season amidst a series of injuries to several key contributors, including linebacker Matt Milano (leg) and cornerback Tre’Davious White (Achilles). Several have stepped up given the circumstances, including safety Taylor Rapp (calf), now ruled out for the Wild Card, who had just sealed the Bills win over the Dolphins with the game-winning interception, clinching the AFC East.

Cornerback Rasul Douglas, who was acquired in a trade with the Green Bay Packers ahead of the trade deadline, is also questionable ahead of this game. He’s been a key contributor in the secondary given the loss of White for the season, having allowed a 40.1 NFL passer rating in coverage in his nine games with the Bills, including four pass breakups, four interceptions and a sack in that span. Despite his “questionable” tag, his availability for Sunday seems unlikely, as he’s missed practice every day this week with a knee injury.

Last but not least is Tyrel Dodson, who’s managing a shoulder injury ahead of the Wild Card round. He missed practice on Thursday but returned to limited participation on Friday for their final session of the week. Dodson has played a crucial role in the defense with the absence of Matt Milano, starting each of the past 10 games at linebacker. He’s totaled 74 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season — the Bills’ highest-graded defender, per PFF, contributing primarily as a run defender and in coverage.

The Steelers, luckily, are looking a bit healthier all around, with the exception of star edge rusher T.J. Watt, ruled out for the Wild Card Round. They’ll happily see two of their top options at safety back in the mix, including All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick (knee) and Damontae Kazee (suspension), who have both missed each of the last three games.

All in all, the Bills injury updates could prove to be a big break for the Steelers, who head into this game as 10-point road underdogs. The Steelers-Bills Wild Card matchup is set to kickoff from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY on Sunday, January 14 at 1 p.m. ET.