Only four teams remain in the NFL postseason with three games left to play — including Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games — and per usual this time of the year given the physical grind playing an NFL season, there are some key injuries.
Leading into kickoff for this game came the news that Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr. will not play due to a neck injury. That is a monumental blow to Kansas City as Gay was expected to be the spy on Lamar Jackson. As for the Baltimore Ravens, Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews has been activated off injured reserve on Friday ahead of Sunday afternoon’s AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs, and coach John Harbaugh says he’ll play on Sunday. Along with Andrews, cornerback Marlon Humphrey (calf) is expected to play — albeit in a possible rotational role — after being labeled as questionable, via ESPN.
Andrews underwent ankle surgery on Nov. 21 following an injury he suffered in a Baltimore’s 34-20 win against the Cincinnati Bengals back in Week 11. He hasn’t played since, but he did practice every day last week: limited on Tuesday and practiced fully on Wednesday and Thursday. Andrews entered the divisional round as questionable, but he did not play. Andrews was again a full practice participant on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2021 First-Team All-Pro’s 40 career receiving touchdowns since entering the league in 2018 are the second-most in the NFL among tight ends trailing only Travis Kelce’s 52. Andrews’ 55.8 career receiving yards per game ranks as the sixth-most by a tight end in league history.
Below is an update on the league’s final four who are fighting for a spot in Super LVIII out in Las Vegas.
Odds courtesy of SportsLine consensus.
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Sunday, 3 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)
Chiefs inactives: WR Kadarius Toney, CB Keith Taylor, CB Ekow Boye-Doe, LB Willie Gay Jr., DE B.J. Thompson, OG Joe Thuney, DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah Ravens inactives: QB Malik Cunningham, WR Tylan Wallace, CB Rock Ya-Sin, LB Del’Shawn Phillips, C Sam Mustipher, OG Sala Aumavae-Laulu, QB Josh Johnson (emergency third QB)
The Chiefs announced some bad news on Friday, as they officially ruled out All-Pro offensive guard Joe Thuney due to a pectoral strain. He did not practice all week, and this is certainly a hit to Kansas City’s offensive front. Also ruled out were Derrick Nnadi and Skyy Moore, who did not practice all week. Willie Gay Jr. has since been listed as inactive due to a neck injury, while Pacheco is active after officially being listed as questionable with ankle and toe injuries. He did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, but was limited on Friday. Toney had been downgraded to out (personal/hip). He was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, but limited on Thursday and Friday. Star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was limited all week with a calf injury, but carried no game designation into this weekend and is active.
For the Ravens, Andrews is officially set to return to the lineup. He has no game designation, and was a full participant in practice all week. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh says he’ll play Sunday. Meanwhile, they are getting corner Marlon Humphrey up for this game as he is officially active. While Humphrey is up, corner Rock Ya-Sin is inactive after being listed as questionable.
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)
The Lions officially ruled out Jackson and Raymond, who did not practice all week. Emergency quarterback Hendon Hooker is questionable to play due to a chipped tooth he reportedly had to get pulled. NFL Media reports he will be fine. Defensive back Chase Lucas is questionable due to an illness. He missed practice on Thursday, but was limited on Friday. Tight end Sam LaPorta, who injured his knee in the regular-season finale, carries no game designation into this week. He sat out of practice Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and was a full participant on Friday. Center Frank Ragnow, who is battling ankle, toe, knee and back injuries, missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was a full participant on Friday. He will play as well.
The Lions are not activating three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, according to ESPN.
The big news for the 49ers is that do-it-all wideout Deebo Samuel is off the injury report and will play on Sunday. Samuel has been dealing with a shoulder injury. He sat out of practice on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and was a full participant Friday.