The Miami Dolphins head to Buffalo for the second time this year and a third meeting with their AFC East division rivals, the Buffalo Bills. After splitting the regular season series, with each team winning at home, the seventh-seeded Dolphins have to try to beat the AFC East Champion and second-seeded Bills at Highmark Stadium. And, they are going to have to do it without several starters at key positions.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa continues to be sidelined with concussion issues following a head injury in Week 16. He leads the team’s inactive players list this week, with third-string passer, rookie Skylar Thompson, expected to start while second-string quarterback Teddy Bridgewater serves as an emergency option for the team. Bridgewater is active for the game, but is still dealing with the effects of a dislocated finger on his throwing hand and is not 100 percent for the contest.
The Dolphins’ top running back, Raheem Mostert, is also inactive for Sunday after breaking his thumb late in the team’s Week 18 game. With Mostert unavailable, Jeff Wilson, Jr., will likely start and serve as the primary rusher, while Salvon Ahmed, Myles Gasking, and practice-squad elevation La’Mical Perine will all be available as backup options.
Miami’s inactive players list hit the offensive line hard. The Dolphins have tackle Kendall Lamm, tackle Brandon Shell, and guard Liam Eichenberg, all of whom could be in the starting lineup if not for injuries, unavailable for the game. Also inactive are cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and tight end Tanner Conner.
As for good news, the Dolphins will have tackle Terron Armstead and linebacker Bradley Chubb for the game. Both players had been questionable due to injuries, but now seem to be ready to play.
The Bills’ inactive players are wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, safety Jared Mayden, cornerback Christian Benford, linebacker Baylon Spector, offensive lineman Ike Boettger, tight end Tommy Sweeney, and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. McKenzie sustained a hamstring injury during this week’s practice, leading to his missing the game. Phillips, the former Dolphins defensive lineman, will miss the game with a shoulder injury, meaning he did not play in any of the three matchups between his former and current teams.
Kickoff for today’s playoff game is at 1 p.m. ET from Orchard Park’s Highmark Stadium.