There’s a handful of players who we already know that we won’t be seeing in Week 9. Kam Chancellor will miss miss yet another game for the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, while teammate Michael Bennett will be out for another 2-3 weeks.
Faithful Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas is going to miss this week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, less than a week after he avoided being traded yet again. For the Kansas City Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles was placed on IR this week, and his replacement, Spencer Ware, is out with a concussion.
The Broncos secondary will also take a hit for a second consecutive week, with Aqib Talib out with a back injury.
We’ve got other impactful injuries this week, but they remain up in the air until our Week 9 action continues on Sunday. So let’s take a look at what’s going on around the league.
1) Amari Cooper vs. Broncos
Amari Cooper and Derek Carr have made for one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL this season. Cooper has received 787 of Carr’s 2,321 passing yards, which has been a big part of why the Raiders are 6-2 and tied for the AFC West lead. But Cooper’s been suffering from a back injury, and his status for Sunday is up in the air.
Cooper was limited in practice all week, and outside of knee injuries, back injuries are the ones that are one of the most concerning when playing professional football. The Raiders still have Michael Crabtree, but he may not be as effective without Cooper lining up on the other side.
Status: He’s playing.
2) Ben Roethlisberger vs. Ravens
The Steelers are optimistic that Roethlisberger will finally be able to make his return, after injuring his knee against the Miami Dolphins back in Week 6. The Steelers lost that game, as well as the following week to the Patriots.
Terrell Suggs certainly thinks he will play.
“He’s gonna act like ‘aw, I’m not playing,” the Ravens linebacker said earlier in the week. “But then he’ll walk his big ass on out there.”
Roethlisberger is known as one of the toughest guys in the league, and if there’s any hint of him starting, don’t be surprised if and when it ultimately happens.
Status: His “big ass” is back.
3) Vontae Davis vs. Packers
A visit to the neurologist on Saturday will determine whether Davis is able to go. He’s been dealing with a concussion that he suffered last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s arguably the Colts’ best defensive back, and he’s been dealing with injuries all season long.
Plan is for Vontae Davis to see independent neurologist Saturday.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) November 4, 2016
The Colts are going up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this week, who have started to look better and better on offense as the weeks have gone by. The Colts’ pass defense is 30th in the NFL, so Davis’ presence will be more than welcome on Sunday.
Status: Davis is active after he cleared protocol and traveled with the team.
4) LeSean McCoy vs. Seahawks
McCoy had a monster game in Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers with 140 yards and three touchdowns, but he tweaked a hamstring in that game, and tried to play through it in Week 7 against the Dolphins. It forced McCoy out in Week 8 against the Patriots, but he might be ready to make it back to the field this week.
Rex Ryan is confident in the idea of that:
Rex Ryan says he feels LeSean McCoy is ready to play Monday against Seattle.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) November 4, 2016
McCoy has been thriving in the Bills’ offense ever since Greg Roman was ousted as the team’s offensive coordinator and Anthony Lynn was elevated from running backs coach to OC. Having Mccoy good to go against an ailing Seahawks defense would be a big boost for Buffalo.
Status: He’s playing.
5) Brandon Marshall vs. Raiders
Marshall has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. It kept him out of the Broncos’ Week 8 matchup against the Chargers, and his outlook for this Sunday seems mixed. Some are saying he will play, and some saying that he won’t.
The Broncos defense is very talented to where the loss of a single player wouldn’t kill them, but at the same time, with the offense’s ability so questionable, they’re better off at full strength. Marshall has 28 tackles on the year,
6) Jerick McKinnon vs. Lions
McKinnon has been the leader of the Vikings’ rushing attack since Adrian Peterson went out in Week 2 with a torn meniscus. The third year back out of Georgia Southern missed the Vikings’ Monday Night Football game against the Bears last week, but has seen improvement in the injury.
He’s actually feeling great about it:
#Vikings back Jerick McKinnon said he expects to play this weekend.— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) November 4, 2016
This injury moves up the ranks this week, because of how bad the Vikings offense looked last week. Any help they can get, they will take. McKinnon is a very talented and versatile back, who could help them in more than just the running game.
7) Damarious Randall, Demetri Goodson, Clay Matthews, and Quinten Rollins vs. Colts
The Packers defense has plenty of guys this week with their status in question. Randall is expected to be out with a groin injury. Goodson, Matthews, and Rollins are all still up in the air with a concussion, hamstring, and groin injuries respectively. Randall Cobb was questionable with a hamstring injury but is playing. The concern here is on the defense.
McCarthy on chances for Clay Matthews & Randall Cobb to play Sunday: I hope so. Both Clay & Randall will be limited today & be evaluated.— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 2, 2016
The Colts really have no way of stopping the Packers offense. They really haven’t been able to stop anybody this season. Yet the Colts pack a punch on offense, and with so many guys banged up on defense, it’s got to be a concern for the Packers.
Status: Matthews and Randall are out, while Goodson and Rollins are active.
8) Jeremy Maclin vs. Jaguars
The Chiefs’ second leading receiver has been dealing with a groin injury, and it’s threatening to sit him down for the first time all season. It may not mean that much against the Jaguars, but the team is already going to be short on running backs.
No Spencer Ware at practice today. Jeremy Maclin is back. So is Jaye Howard. Did not see Darrin Reaves either.— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) November 4, 2016
Maclin’s got 376 yards on the season, along with two touchdowns. The Chiefs have Travis Kelce, Chris Conley, and Tyreek Hill to help carry the load in his absence. But to have Ware and Maclin out, who are two of the team’s top three receiving leaders out, could hurt them more than they might imagine.
Status: He started, but re-aggravated his groin injury and left early in the game.
9) Steve Smith vs. Steelers
Smith is trying to make his way back after being out of the picture since Week 5, when the Ravens were in the middle of their now four-game losing skid. Up until then, the 37-year-old was having a pretty good start to the season with 27 receptions for 310 yards and a touchdown.
To have Smith available would be big for the Ravens offense, which ranks 25th in the NFL in yards per game. They’re also the 28th best scoring offense in the league. Smith may be an old vet, but he’s an important piece to what they do offensively.
Status: Active and starting.
10) Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Dolphins
Jay Ajayi will attempt to rush for his third consecutive 200-yard game Sunday against the Jets. The team is beat up, more on the offensive than defensive side, but defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is suffering from an ankle injury. He’s a key piece of their defense, and losing him would be pretty big.
Luckily for the Jets, Wilkerson had his helmet on at the start of practice.
Buster Skrine, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini all have helmets at the start of practice. #Jets— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) November 4, 2016
This was not the case on Thursday, so that’s a big step towards improvement for Wilkerson. The Jets boast the league’s best run defense, so even without Wilkerson, they should be able to stop Ajayi from another 200-yard rushing game. That run defense will go a long way in helping the Jets getting their second divisional win, as Ajayi has essentially been their only offense in the Dolphins’ past two wins.