The New England Patriots improved to 4-0 on Sunday night by holding off a late rally from the Atlanta Falcons, but the bigger story may be the team's loss of Vince Wilfork. The five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle reportedly tore his Achilles tendon in Week 4, likely concluding his 2013 season.
A 10-year veteran in the league, Wilfork's absence will likely prove costly as the drop off between an All-Pro and undrafted rookie defensive tackle Joe Vellano should be significant. A full recovery in 2014 for Wilfork would be remarkable considering the severity of an Achilles tear and the nature of a position that is predicated upon leverage.
Not nearly as serious were the injuries suffered by Buffalo Bills running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. An MCL sprain for Jackson sent him to the locker room for a short period and an ankle sprain for Spiller ended his game in the third quarter, but both are expected to be available for the team's Thursday Night Football game against the Cleveland Browns.
As the Bills have both of their top two running backs recovering from injury, the New York Jets have a similar issue at the wide receiver position. Wide receiver Stephen Hill left in the first quarter of the team's loss with a concussion and was followed by wide receiver Santonio Holmes who left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring issue.
With rookie quarterback Geno Smith already struggling at quarterback, the subtraction of his top two receiving targets would prove costly as the Jets prepare for a Monday Night Football matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.
For the Miami Dolphins, their first loss of the season came on Monday, but it was a relatively injury-free one against the New Orleans Saints. With defensive end Cameron Wake a possibility to return in Week 5, the Dolphins will likely be healthy for the most part when they host the Baltimore Ravens.