NFL Conference Championship Sunday Injury Tracker: Will Patrick Mahomes Be Effective?

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs Jacksonville Jaguars
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs slides after a run against Devin Lloyd #33 of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jason Hanna/Getty Images/AFP.

The stage is set for the NFL’s final four teams on Championship Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead for the second year in a row. The San Francisco 49ers will also be on the road again, but this time they are facing a new opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles.

Player health is going to dominate the headlines for the AFC game this week, because you may have heard that likely MVP-winner Patrick Mahomes has a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Saturday’s win over Jacksonville.

Using the OddsTrader BetStation, we look at the Injury Tracker for both games to highlight a few injuries you should take note of for your prop bets and other NFL picks for Championship Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium

QB Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)

  • Injury: High-Ankle Sprain
  • Game Status: Questionable

There is little doubt that Patrick Mahomes is playing this Sunday in one of the biggest games of his career. But the huge spread movement on this one does raise some red flags as the Chiefs have quickly gone from opening as a 2.5-point home favorite to a 1-point home underdog at many of the top online sportsbooks. Some have even gone up to 1.5 already.

Mahomes as a home underdog is something that has happened once in his career in Kansas City, and that was in Week 6 against Buffalo (-2.5). The Chiefs lost 24-20 after blowing the lead late in the game.

Without a high-ankle sprain, you know the Chiefs would be a slight favorite in this one. But it is a big concern with the way Mahomes was hobbling around against the Jaguars. Even some of the handoffs to running backs looked really difficult.

Injured Mahomes Still Delivered

As for his production after the injury suffered on the second drive of the first quarter, we did see him scramble for a first down on third down, he hit a 27-yard pass play to Noah Gray, and he was brilliant on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive with four completions to put the Chiefs back up by 10 points.

But there are going to be limitations physically, and he is not going to be able to scramble and move so well as he did in the opening drive where he looked brilliant against pressure.

The Bengals came back in last year’s title game by largely using a three-man rush to make Mahomes hold the ball and get frustrated. They may go with the complete opposite this week and go after him with the blitz if he cannot move that well.

We know Mahomes is going to rehab all week and likely get one heck of a painkiller shot on Sunday to play, but it is not reasonable to expect he’ll be 100% at all.

High-Ankle Sprain Injuries in QBs

Earlier this season, Mac Jones of the Patriots had a high-ankle sprain and missed the next three games. Baker Mayfield (2022), Jimmy Garoppolo (2020), and Daniel Jones (2019) all recently had a two-game absence in their careers from a high-ankle sprain.

In 2011, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played the whole second half of a game against Cleveland with a high-ankle sprain suffered in the first half. That was a Thursday night game and his next game was not until Monday, or 11 days later. It was a tough game in San Francisco against a top defense, and while Roethlisberger passed for 330 yards, he threw three picks and was a sitting duck in a 20-3 loss.

Mahomes’ Ankle-Related Injuries

Mahomes had a high-ankle sprain in the 2019 opener against Jacksonville coincidentally, but it did not leave him so visibly hobbled as this one. He would not miss a game from it, and he threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns the following week against the Raiders.

But in a memorable Week 5 loss to the Colts in prime time, Mahomes had his ankle injury tweaked and was gimpy. The Chiefs lost 19-13, and it remains the only loss in Mahomes’ career (32-1) in a game where the opponent scored under 20 points. It was also the only time in his first 50 starts that the Chiefs did not score at least 22 points.

This high-ankle sprain is on Mahomes’ plant leg, and we will not know the severity of this injury until we see Mahomes play Sunday.

With the way the Bengals have been beating the Chiefs when Mahomes was healthy, and with the point spread changing this much already, it is hard not to go into this one and clearly favor the Bengals to take this game. They have the better team and the healthy quarterback on top of it.

OT Jonah Williams (Cincinnati Bengals)

  • Injury: Dislocated kneecap
  • Game Status: Questionable

The Bengals had lost three offensive line starters late in the season, but the most notable was left tackle Jonah Williams, who dislocated his kneecap in the Wild Card win over Baltimore. He did not play in Buffalo on Sunday in the divisional round.

Not to invoke Mahomes’ injury history again, but a dislocated kneecap is an injury he infamously suffered in his 2019 Super Bowl season. He left the game with it, then missed two full games before returning and playing out the year.

It is unclear if this injury is better or worse for a lineman than a quarterback due to their difference in size and mobility. But if Williams were to follow the Mahomes timeline, he could return for the Super Bowl if the Bengals advance this week.

How Much Will the O-Line Miss Him?

The Bengals also may feel confident in keeping him out this week and letting him fully recover after the way the offensive line performed in Buffalo so well. New left tackle Jackson Carman did a good job and Joe Burrow was only sacked once.

The snow in Buffalo actually helped as the Bills were unable to get set and get much of a pass rush going. It does not look like precipitation is in the forecast for Sunday as it will just be very cold in the teens.

Williams gets closer to returning daily, but the Bengals can likely get by without him this week again.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, January 29, 2023 – 03:00 PM EST at Lincoln Financial Field

QB Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers)

  • Injury: Broken Foot
  • Game Status: Doubtful

While rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has taken over the headlines in San Francisco, there was a report this week that Jimmy Garoppolo could be ready to return soon.

Garoppolo broke his foot in Week 13, Purdy has replaced him and the team has not skipped a beat. If anything, they look better than ever as they are just a 2.5-point road underdog in Philadelphia this week.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said he would be surprised if Garoppolo is cleared for action this week. Chances are, even if Garoppolo returns this season, he will be limited to a backup role as there is no way the 49ers can sit Purdy right now.

RB Christian McCaffrey (San Francisco 49ers)

  • Injury: Calf
  • Game Status: Questionable

The knock on Christian McCaffrey has been his health. He has mostly been healthy this year, but he did have a right calf issue come up in Sunday’s game against Dallas. That may explain why McCaffrey had 16 touches to 14 for Elijah Mitchell.

The injury is considered day-to-day and nothing serious, but it could be another game where McCaffrey has to split his production with Mitchell. However, the other injury to monitor in this backfield is precisely Elijah Mitchell, who has his own spotty history with health.

RB Elijah Mitchell (San Francisco 49ers)

  • Injury: Groin
  • Game Status: Questionable

Elija Mitchell had 14 carries to 10 for McCaffrey on Sunday, and he even led the team with 51 rushing yards. But now he has a groin injury, and like McCaffrey, he is expected to play but is considered day-to-day.

If the Eagles have a weakness, it is some underwhelming numbers on run defense: 16th in yards allowed and 24th in yards per carry allowed.

All but five teams have been able to rush for over 100 yards on the Eagles, and the 49ers are going to have to do that instead of putting the game on the rookie quarterback against an elite defense with 70 sacks.

McCaffrey and Mitchell will both play, but they may not be good over picks for their rushing yards, especially if they end up splitting the touches like they did last week.

WR A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles)

  • Injury: Hip
  • Game Status: Questionable

Finally, our last injury concern is with A.J. Brown, the No. 1 receiver for the Eagles who only had 22 receiving yards in the easy win over the Giants. It was the second time all season he was held under 30 receiving yards.

Brown looked visibly upset on the bench late in the game, though it is hard to know what could have motivated that. Brown reportedly tweaked his left hip in the game, and you could see a pass late in the game that Jalen Hurts missed that could have led to the injury to Brown.

But in the game of the year for the Eagles, you can count on Brown to be out there. It is a tough matchup with the 49ers, but he is a gamer and one of the best big-game receivers in the league. Unless you see reports of him not practicing this week, he should be trusted to produce in this game. is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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