Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are still fighting to clinch the top spot in the AFC, but they'll have to do so without Wes Welker. The diminutive slot receiver, who had already been ruled out against the Texans, is now expected to be held out in Week 17 against the Raiders as well.
Welker suffered his second concussion in a span of three weeks in Week 14 and did not play last Sunday. Team doctors have not officially ruled Welker out for Week 17, but league sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that Welker will be shelved until the playoffs.
The Broncos are hoping to get him an extra week of rest by earning a first-round bye. They first have to clinch the AFC West, something they can achieve this weekend with a win and a Kansas City loss.
It's been nearly seven weeks since Rodgers fractured his collarbone. A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the quarterback will sit unless "something significantly changes with [the] doctor."
Matt Flynn, who threw four touchdowns in the Packers' thrilling comeback against the Cowboys last week, will get the nod if Rodgers indeed can't go. At 7-6-1, Green Bay can clinch the NFC North and a playoff berth with wins in their final two games.
While the Denver offense loses Welker, the defense may gain cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey told the team's official site that he is "ready to go" against the Texans this weekend.
Bailey has not played since aggravating a foot injury in Week 13 against the Chiefs. The 35-year-old has struggled with injuries all season, missing all but three games.
Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has taken exception to accusations that he has built his assistant coaching ranks by hiring friends.
Recent criticisms have largely centered on the makeup of Shanahan's offensive staff, a young group of coaches with under 10 years of NFL experience each. He believes part of the problem is age, and doesn't feel it's fair to target his assistants.
"Unfortunately, if you're under 40 years old and you're on my staff, you're looked at as my friends because we're young," Shanahan said. "These guys aren't my friends. These are guys who did all my dirty work and grinded and did everything for me in Houston and did the ins and outs like quality controls do. They deserved promotions.