This week, the Miami Dolphins will take on the division-rival New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. For Miami, sole possession of first place in the AFC East is firmly on the line following the Buffalo Bills’ Thursday Night Football victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
For New England, the team’s season is slipping away as they are sitting at 2-5, and a divisional loss sinking the team to 2-6 would essentially evaporate any dwindling playoff hopes. On both sides, the availability of key players is a primary storyline hovering over this contest, so let’s dive into who’s expected to be available come 1 p.m. ET on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey Uncertain for Week 8, Tyreek Hill Will Play
Miami’s Week 8 injury report looks like my Costco shopping list after I’ve neglected to restock for too long. The team has a total of 13 players who either missed practice or were limited in some form this week, just under 25% of the 53-man roster.
On offense, WR Tyreek Hill (hip) is good to go, while RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) is trending up. Mike McDaniel told reporters on Friday that Hill will “for sure” play, while Mostert said after practice that the ankle issue that kept him out of practice on Wednesday was minor and that he’s expecting to play, though the RB is officially listed by the team as questionable.
Fullback Alec Ingold (foot) is following a usual pattern of limited practice reps that has developed since he picked up the injury earlier in the season, but he’s likely to suit up and hasn’t missed a game all year. “We’re making sure we don’t run him into the ground,” McDaniel noted on Friday. Ingold is officially listed as questionable.
Also questionable is center Connor Williams, who has been battling a groin injury and missed each of the last two games. “My gut tells me he’ll be active, but I’m not sure if he’s going to start,” McDaniel said on Friday. “There’s a litany of questions with the support of the training staff and the rest of the coaches I’m still figuring out.”
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If Williams is unable to play, Liam Eichenberg will continue to hold down the starting center spot. Eichenberg has had an up-and-down season, as has become customary for the 2021 second-round pick, who has been shuffled through all five offensive line positions in his three years in the league.
The former Notre Dame standout allowed zero pressures when filling in for Williams two weeks ago against the Carolina Panthers, but he struggled against the Philadelphia Eagles’ vaunted defensive line last Sunday.
WR Jaylen Waddle was limited this week with a back injury suffered against the Eagles, but he’s without a designation for Sunday, meaning he’s good to go.
WR River Cracraft (shoulder), who’s been tapped to return from injured reserve, is questionable.
On defense, things are much murkier. All three of CB Jalen Ramsey (knee), CB Xavien Howard (groin), and S Jevon Holland (concussion) are questionable. It was reported earlier in the week that Ramsey is expected to play, but he refuted that notion on social media, saying that his status isn’t fully settled.
Howard missed last week with a groin injury despite being optimistic that he’d play. He made no such assertion this week, but the fact that he was close in Week 7 bodes well for his chances on Sunday.
Holland entered concussion protocol following last week’s loss to the Eagles, and McDaniel said that the star safety has yet to clear protocol as of Friday. But Holland has already shed his red no-contact jersey, so he’s likely on the verge of being cleared. If Holland does miss this week’s matchup, he’s very likely to be back for Miami’s across-the-pond showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in Germany.
Rookie CB Cam Smith is also questionable after suffering a foot injury during Wednesday’s practice, though he’s yet to see any regular season playing time on defense despite the team’s injuries at the position.
DB Nik Needham is working his way back from a torn Achilles suffered last year after being activated from the physically unable to perform list and is listed as questionable. He’ll help fill in for any of Miami’s top three defensive backs who are unable to play if he suits up.
Kader Kohou, Eli Apple, Parry Nickerson, and Justin Bethel are Miami’s top four healthy cornerbacks, while DeShon Elliott, Brandon Jones, and Elijah Campbell are the team’s three healthy safeties.
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For New England, backup OT Calvin Anderson (illness) has been ruled out. DT Christian Barmore (knee), OT Trent Brown (ankle/knee), CB Jonathan Jones (knee), OL Vederian Lowe (ankle), LB Josh Uche (ankle/toe), CB Shaun Wade (shoulder), DL Keion White (concussion), and DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (shoulder) are all listed as questionable. All were limited participants in practice on both Thursday and Friday.
Former Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Davon Godchaux (ankle) is without a designation and will play, as will tight end Hunter Henry (ankle) and guard Cole Strange (knee).
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Week 8 Injury Report
- WR River Cracraft (shoulder)
- S Jevon Holland (concussion)
- CB Jalen Ramsey (knee)
- CB Xavien Howard (groin)
- CB Nik Needham (Achilles)
- CB Cam Smith (foot)
- RB Raheem Mostert (ankle)
- FB Alec Ingold (foot)
- C Connor Williams (groin)
New England Patriots
- OT Calvin Anderson (illness)
- DT Christian Barmore (knee)
- OT Trent Brown (ankle/knee)
- CB Jonathan Jones (knee)
- OL Vederian Lowe (ankle)
- LB Josh Uche (ankle/toe)
- CB Shaun Wade (shoulder)
- DL Keion White (concussion)
- DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (shoulder)