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Biggest injury questions for every NFL playoff team

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

NFL Nation reporters assess the biggest injuries for playoff teams.

Go to: Playoffs schedule | Primer


AFC

New England Patriots

Wide receiver Chris Hogan, who missed seven of the final eight games of the regular season with a shoulder injury, is the biggest question mark. If Hogan does return for the Patriots' divisional round matchup (he has been limited in practices), how effective will he be? If it's similar to his Dec. 11 performance in Miami -- which was the one game he played during his stretch of downtime -- that would be troublesome, as it wasn't a strong outing for him. Hogan's status potentially ties into the Patriots' decision on whether to activate wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell from the injured reserve's designated to return status to the 53-man roster. -- Mike Reiss

Pittsburgh Steelers

With the Steelers getting healthy during the bye week, all eyes are on Antonio Brown (calf), who is getting closer to returning. He has rehabbed intensely the past few weeks, and teammates widely expect him to get back in time for the divisional round. Coach Mike Tomlin said he would call Brown questionable if the Steelers were scheduled to play this week; the good thing for him is they aren't. -- Jeremy Fowler

Jacksonville Jaguars

Wide receiver Marqise Lee has missed the past two games with an ankle sprain, and the Jaguars desperately need him back. Young receivers Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens played well in early December, when Lee was on the field with them, but they have really struggled since then. There were several drops -- including a possible touchdown catch by Westbrook -- wrong routes being run and a fumble by the trio. Lee is the team's best receiver and the player with which Blake Bortles is most comfortable. The Bills are going to sell out to stop Leonard Fournette and make Bortles beat them, and the quarterback has a much better chance of doing that with Lee (56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns) on the field. -- Mike DiRocco

Kansas City Chiefs

Wide receiver Albert Wilson has become an important piece in the passing game, and his return to practice speaks well to his ability to play against the Titans on Saturday. Wilson missed practice on Tuesday with a sore hamstring. He is second among Kansas City's wide receivers in catches (42) and yards (554). He played only 28 snaps last week against the Broncos in the regular-season finale but still caught 10 passes for 147 yards. -- Adam Teicher

Tennessee Titans

The Titans ruled out DeMarco Murray for Saturday's wild-card game in Kansas City. The veteran running back didn't practice all week due to a torn MCL in his right knee and wasn't close to playing. It'll be the Derrick Henry show for the second week. Henry had a rough outing in first opportunity as the feature back in Tennessee's regular-season finale against Jacksonville, rushing 28 times for just 51 yards, but he has been the better overall rusher this season. -- Cameron Wolfe

Buffalo Bills

Running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) did not practice Thursday, but took part in stretching, which he did not do Wednesday. McCoy said he believes he can play in Sunday's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Jaguars as long as his injured right ankle does not cause him pain. Coach Sean McDermott added that he will discuss with the medical staff whether McCoy will be able to practice Friday before the Bills travel Saturday to Jacksonville. If McCoy cannot play, the Bills would turn to Mike Tolbert and Marcus Murphy. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor said on Wednesday he wants McCoy to be on the field, but he also wants McCoy to be able to "be himself" if he does play. -- Mike Rodak

NFC

Philadelphia Eagles

Three Eagles players sat out Wednesday's practice: Running back Jay Ajayi (knee), defensive end Brandon Graham (ankle) and left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee). With another week-plus before their divisional-round matchup, the top-seeded Eagles don't need to be concerned with these ailments unless they linger into next week. -- Tim McManus

Minnesota Vikings

There's no injury report this week, since the Vikings earned a first-round bye, but the good news coming out of practice is highlighted by Pat Elflein's return. The rookie center missed the season finale with a lingering shoulder injury before returning during Minnesota's two lighter days of work. Kyle Rudolph, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Harris, Shamar Stephen and C.J. Ham were held out from practice this week, which appears to be more precautionary as Minnesota gets some much-needed rest. Quarterback Sam Bradford also returned to practice for the first time since October. While there's a chance he could be activated off injured reserve for the playoffs, the Vikings are approaching things slowly in order to get a feel for how his surgically repaired knee will hold up under football conditions. -- Courtney Cronin

Los Angeles Rams

Pharoh Cooper, the Rams' Pro Bowl returner, didn't practice on Tuesday or Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. But coach Sean McVay said Cooper is "on track to play." The big question heading into the first round was inside linebacker Mark Barron, who has been dealing with a sore Achilles tendon. Barron, however, has been able to practice on a limited basis, which seems to bode well for his chances of starting against the Falcons. -- Alden Gonzalez

New Orleans Saints

The Saints' injury report looks promising for a change, with left tackle Terron Armstead (thigh), defensive end Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) all returning to practice on a limited basis. The only player to miss practice was backup tight end Garrett Griffin, who was placed on injured reserve. That's welcome news for a Saints team that lost starting linebacker A.J. Klein (groin), starting safety Kenny Vaccaro (groin) and backup defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha (ankle) to injured reserve down the stretch. -- Mike Triplett

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers might be as healthy as they have been all season. Safety Kurt Coleman is set to return from an ankle injury. Running back Jonathan Stewart appears ready to return after missing the regular-season finale with a stiff back. Guard Trai Turner, who failed to pass the final test of the concussion protocol on Saturday, made it through his first full participation of practice in three weeks. -- David Newton

Atlanta Falcons

Running back Devonta Freeman banged up his knee in the regular-season finale against Carolina, but is cleared to go for Saturday's wildcard matchup against the Rams. Coach Dan Quinn said Freeman showed no limitations while running and cutting during Thursday's practice. Every player on the injury report is set to play, too, including wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle/ribs), who was also limited Wednesday after being held out Tuesday. -- Vaughn McClure