We’re getting close to the midway point of the NFL season. With that comes a lot of injuries, and we’ve got a few major names this week.
The Green Bay Packers took a big hit earlier in the week with Eddie Lacy being sent to IR and James Starks out for a few weeks after undergoing knee surgery. This left them very thin at running back before their Thursday night game against the Chicago Bears. Luckily for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers started playing like himself and his franchise record night helped them beat their NFC North rivals.
Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, who we listed as the most impactful injury last week, is now out for the season with his shoulder injury. That’s one of the last things they needed on a defense that ranks 26th in the NFL in total defense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t have quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a few weeks after he had knee surgery, but they managed to get through all of October without him last season.
Let’s take a look at the other big injuries that could significantly affect Week 7’s slate of games.
1) Terrelle Pryor vs. Bengals
Those poor, poor Cleveland Browns. Terrelle Pryor has been really the only good thing to happen to them all season. He’s questionable for the Browns’ game against their in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, with a hamstring injury.
Through six weeks of play, Pryor has 413 receiving yards and three touchdown catches on the year. He also has a rushing touchdown and has taken snaps under center. In Week 3, Pryor had three completions for 35 yards, 21 rushing yards, and 144 receiving yards to become the first player in the NFL to have at least 20 receiving yards, 30 passing yards, and 20 rushing yards in a game since Frank Gifford in 1959.
Hue Jackson was optimistic that Pryor would be able to play Sunday, but he still hadn’t practiced on Friday. It would be a shame, especially for the winless Browns, if he couldn’t go.
Status: He is active.
2) Joe Flacco vs. Jets
An absent Joe Flacco would likely only be welcome this week. The Ravens are taking on the Jets, who have looked pretty bad all year on both sides of the ball and have decided to go back to Geno Smith at quarterback. The Ravens haven’t exactly been frightening this season either, but at 3-3, at least they’re not the Jets.
Flacco missed practice Thursday, but made it back Friday:
Joe Flacco is back at practice today.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 21, 2016
The Ravens are 8-1 all time against the Jets in the regular season, and John Harbaugh has never lost to them. Whether or not Flacco starts Sunday, it might not matter.
Status: He will start.
3) Kam Chancellor vs. Cardinals
Kam Chancellor missed the Seahawks’ Week 6 contest against the Atlanta Falcons with a groin injury, and it appears the same injury will keep him out of the team’s Sunday night showdown with division rival Arizona.
Seahawks Kam Chancellor (groin) doubtful for Sunday.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) October 21, 2016
Head coach Pete Carroll told the media, “He had trouble both yesterday and today. We don’t have to rule him out, so we’ll go to game time, but he was not able to do much.” The Seahawks’ secondary was able to hold things down in his absence last week, which ended in controversy after a non-call late against the Falcons.
A win Sunday would be a big help in the Seahawks securing the NFC West, and it looks like they’ll be doing it without Chancellor.
4) Travis Benjamin vs. Falcons
At 2-4, it might be too late to save their season, but since the arrival of Joey Bosa, the Chargers look like they have some life. Part of what’s been great for the Chargers this year is Benjamin, who is suffering from a knee injury.
Chargers rule out Brandon Flowers (concussion), Jahleel Addae (clavicle), Jerry Attaochu (ankle). Travis Benjamin (knee) questionable.— Michael Gehlken (@sdutGehlken) October 21, 2016
Benjamin has quietly put together a good season. He’s totaled 31 receptions to go along with 411 yards and two touchdowns. His presence would be big against a Falcons team that’s not exactly known for their defense.
5) Jack Mewhort vs. Titans
The Indianapolis Colts have been a mess in a number of different ways this season, but one of the main reasons has been on the offensive line. Mewhort has seniority on the line and he has been one of their only good pieces there.
Chuck Pagano said that Mewhort’s triceps injury will keep him out this week, though he expects him back in Week 8. If he’s unexpectedly out longer, it would create more offensive line combinations for Andrew Luck, who has already been sacked 23 times this season, the most in the NFL.
Sounds like Joe Haeg expected to start at left guard, Joe Reitz at right tackle. Pagano thinks Jack Mewhort should be back next week.— Josh Wilson (@JoshWilsonSB) October 21, 2016
The Colts will do their best to keep Luck upright in a divisional game against the Titans.
6) DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed vs. Lions
Washington is riding a four-game winning streak, and heading into a road game against the Detroit Lions. Kirk Cousins might be without his leading receiver, DeSean Jackson, who is nursing a shoulder injury. Jackson didn’t practice Thursday, but made a return Friday and apparently showed promise.
DeSean Jackson practiced today and looked "pretty good," Gruden said. But they'll wait and see tomorrow.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) October 21, 2016
The Lions are 23rd in the league in pass defense, so Washington will hope the efforts of Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder will be enough to get them through the week, as tight end Jordan Reed is expected to be out with a concussion.
Status: Jackson is active, Reed is out
7) Jamie Collins vs. Steelers
Collins has been a pain for opposing offenses this season. The fourth-year linebacker has two interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble on the year. That type of pressure on Steelers backup Landry Jones could help lead to an easier Patriots victory Sunday, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll play due to a hip injury.
Questionable Patriots expected to play today: LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett, Julian Edelman.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 16, 2016
Not expected to play: Jamie Collins.
Collins missed last week with the same hip injury, and the Patriots were optimistic he would be able to return. That’s not looking very likely.
Doubtful He did make the trip to Pittsburgh and is active.
8) Nick Mangold vs. Ravens
Sunday against the Ravens will be Geno Smith’s first start since Week 14 of the 2014 season, when he led the Jets to a win over the Miami Dolphins with 358 yards passing and three touchdowns. His job will be harder if center Nick Mangold is unable to go.
Braedon Bowman is also out. Nick Mangold is questionable. #nyj— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) October 21, 2016
The six-time Pro Bowler has been dealing with a knee injury. Over his career, missing games has been very rare. In nine out of 10 seasons in the NFL, he’s started at least 15 games. The Jets have already sunk to a 1-5 record, and to be without Mangold would be a pretty significant injury.
Status: Active (but left with an ankle injury)
9) Stefon Diggs vs. Eagles
The Vikings’ star wideout missed the team’s Week 5 game against the Houston Texans, where his team came away with a 31-13 victory. He’s been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, but appears to have made some strides in recovery this week, considering that he’s practicing.
Does Coach Zimmer expect @stefondiggs to play?— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 21, 2016
Diggs got off to a great start this season, with 372 yards and a touchdown in four games. The Eagles have lost three games in a row, but NFL road games are tough no matter who you play, and Philadelphia is not an easy place to play.
10) Doug Martin vs. 49ers
This loss hurts because of the opportunity missed. Martin has only played in Weeks 1 and 2, dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. Jacquizz Rodgers is expected to start in his second consecutive game as a result, and wasn’t terrible in Martin’s place.
Bucs issue their final injury report for Sunday's game at 49ers. DT Clinton McDonald, RB Doug Martin, DE Robert Ayers are all declared out.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 21, 2016
But the Buccaneers are going up against a 49ers team with the worst run defense in the NFL. At 2-3, the Buccaneers would benefit greatly from a win in order to stay in the playoff race. They’ll have to hope that Rodgers has enough in him to make the 49ers look like a last-ranked defense.
More injuries to watch
Steve Smith, WR, Ravens: He’ll be sidelined due to an ankle injury he suffered in Week 5.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs — He’ll be available in a limited capacity against the Saints due to a swollen knee.
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders — His turf toe has subsided enough that he’ll play in Jacksonville.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals — He’s back this week, but will play limited snaps.
Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals — Arizona’s quarterback is expected to start Sunday night.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills — It’s a game-time decision, but he’s expected play with a limited snap count.
Robert Woods, WR, Bills — He will not play. Justin Hunter starts in his place.
Dwayne Washington, RB, Lions — He is out.