And then there were four. With just three games remaining on the NFL schedule, it isn’t surprising to see some of the healthiest teams still standing with their Super Bowl dreams intact.
However, with Patrick Mahomes now dealing with an ankle injury and the 49ers’ top running back considered day-to-day, the road to Arizona and Super Bowl 57 doesn’t seem so clear anymore.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the biggest injury news heading into Conference Championship Weekend:
Cincinnati Bengals Injuries
The Bengals entered Sunday with three injured offensive line starters and exited with four. However, center Ted Karras was able to play through his knee injury and is expected to be active against Kansas City.
Karras has been a stabilizing force on the Bengals’ offensive line, allowing just two sacks and earning the team’s highest pass blocking grade on Pro Football Focus.
Both Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa were inactive and it seems like they will be sidelined again after Zac Taylor’s brief update on Monday.
The Bengals didn’t allow a sack against the Bills, but left tackle Jackson Carman did allow a quarterback hit. Cappa’s replacement, Max Scharping allowed three pressures.
Right tackle Hakeem Adeniji allowed a team-high five pressures and has now allowed 15 total pressures in four games at right tackle.
Joe Burrow did a great job of getting the ball out before the Bills’ pressure could get to him, averaging just 2.4 seconds per dropback and averaging 7.0 air yards per attempt.
Kansas City Chiefs Injuries
The biggest news of the weekend is what is going on with Patrick Mahomes’s ankle. The expected MVP suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half against Jacksonville, but returned in the third quarter.
Once Mahomes returned, he went 10-15 for 111 yards and one touchdown while hobbling around. Backup Chad Henne did lead the team on a 98-yard touchdown drive while Mahomes was in the locker room getting x-rays.
High ankle sprains usually require six weeks of recovery, but the Chiefs seem confident their quarterback will be on the field against the Bengals.
When the Bengals and Chiefs played earlier this season, Mahomes held on to the ball for 3.18 seconds per dropback, but was pressured just seven times and sacked once.
He averages 7.3 yards per attempt on passes that travel less than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which is tied with Jalen Hurts for the NFL lead.
Philadelphia Eagles Injuries
The Eagles seem to be getting healthier after taking their lumps at the end of the regular season.
The one negative might be the health of A.J. Brown who tweaked his hip late in the 38-7 win over the Giants. However, he isn’t expected to miss any time.
Brown was a non-factor against the Giants, catching just three passes for 22 yards, but he’s bounced back for at least five catches and 60 yards every time he’s been held to under 50 yards this season.
As for the good news, Jalen Hurts wasn’t on the the injury report at all last week and despite reports of him dealing with pain, it seems like his shoulder injury is a thing of the past.
Hurts did rush for a touchdown against the Giants, but gained only 34 yards on nine carries. The 49ers have allowed just 213 rushing yards to opposing QBs this season, fifth-least in the NFL.
Lane Johnson was also able to play the entire game despite dealing with a tear in his groin. He didn’t allow a single pressure in 27 pass-blocking snaps and still hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 11 of 2020 and hasn’t allowed a quarterback hit since Week 7 of last season.
And if that wasn’t enough, Philadelphia is also hopeful slot corner Avonte Maddox can return from his toe injury this week after sitting out four weeks.
CJ Gardner-Johnson has filled in as the nickel back the last two games, allowing eight catches on 10 targets, but for only 43 yards.
San Francisco 49ers Injuries
Both of the 49ers’ running backs are considered day-to-day right now. Christian McCaffrey is dealing with a calf injury and Elijah Mitchell has a groin injury.
McCaffrey’s 57 yards from scrimmage against the Cowboys was his lowest since Week 12 when he had 49 yards against the Saints.
After rushing for 55 yards and two TDs in his first game back from the IR, Mitchell has struggled, carrying the ball 23 times for 53 yards.
Since Week 12, the Eagles are 15th in the NFL in yards after contact per rush.
The team also expects quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to have an x-ray on his foot this week. However, he is not expected to return to the field for the NFC Championship Game.