Tua Tagovailoa will sit out Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders due to fractured ribs. The Dolphins don’t play the Patriots again until Week 18.

But Tagovailoa’s absence, regardless of how long it lasts, could significantly impact New England’s quest for a spot in the NFL playoffs.

The second-year signal-caller, now considered “week-to-week,” left during the second quarter of Miami’s Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills after suffering the injury. Jacoby Brissett filled in, eventually completing 24-of-40 passes for 169 yards while throwing an interception, and will start in place of Tagovailoa on Sunday.

The true severity of Tagovailo’s injury remains to be seen. He seemingly will return sooner rather than later, but we also are talking about an injury-prone player whom some consider brittle. Perhaps he misses extended time.