The final Sunday of the regular season is set to take place and one more time for the Bucs, the Dolphins and the Jaguars, it’s time to see who’s playing and who probably not.
We begin with the only game that has playoff significance and that’s Jacksonville traveling to Houston to take on the Texans. Houston can lock up the AFC South and a home game for the playoffs with a victory.
First, some bad news for the Jags, as star running back Leonard Fournette (above) appears unlikely to play at all Sunday. Fournette injured his ankle in the second half of last week’s game with the Dolphins and has not been able to practice this week. Fournette is officially listed as doubtful. Between his hamstring injury costing him seven games, a one game suspension from the NFL for fighting, and now this injury, it’s been a lost season for Fournette.
Also, doubtful is Jacksonville corner A.J. Bouye with an injured toe. And the Jaguars did some housekeeping for the end of the year putting both kicker Josh Lambo and offensive lineman Josh Wells on injured reserve and freeing up two roster spots for players to be promoted either from injured reserve or the practice squad.
The Texans will have running back Lamar Miller back in the lineup this week. Head coach Bill O’Brien told the media after practice Thursday that the running back is it ready to play. Miller suffered an ankle injury in their week 15 game with the Jets and did not play in their loss to Philadelphia last week. He is currently fifth in the AFC in rushing yards and is an excellent complement to QB DeShaun Watson and the passing game for Houston.
The next two games are with teams that are simply playing out the string on the final Sunday of the season
First in Tampa Bay where they host Atlanta, the Buccaneers have listed DeSean Jackson as doubtful to play with what the team is saying is an injured Achilles. Jackson hurt himself in the second quarter of last week’s game with the Cowboys. As we have written, the Bucs are likely saying goodbye to Jackson anyway at the end of their season Sunday.
Also noteworthy on their injured list: is defensive in Carl Nassib, who’s been a pleasant surprise as a pass-rusher this season, but has an injured shoulder. Nassib has not been able to practice this week and is listed as doubtful for the game with the Falcons.
Two Falcons were limited in practice this week: running back Tevin Coleman with a groin and star receiver Julio Jones with hip and Rib injuries. However, neither one is on the injured report for Sunday and both are expected to play.
And finally, the Dolphins are likewise ending the season with nothing on the line against the Bills in Buffalo.
Miami’s most significant injuries on defense. First, defensive back Xavien Howard, who hasn’t played in the last three games is still listed as questionable with a knee injury. Howard was limited in practice again, this week and you wonder if coach Adam Gase will risk re-injuring his knee in a game that now means nothing.
Fellow defensive back T.J. McDonald is doubtful with an ankle injury and has been unable to practice all week. Meanwhile, linebacker Kiko Alonso, who missed last week’s loss to the Jaguars with knee and hamstring injuries, was limited in practice but is listed as questionable. Gase indicated Friday that Alonso has a good chance to play on Sunday.
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