by Sarah Brennan-Athas and Steven Cameron
The injury report gets longer by the day with football season in full-swing. Here is a list of major injuries for each team in the NFL as well as a brief analysis of what these injuries could mean for their future. We have compiled the list in order of record-per-division, starting with the NFC then moving to the AFC.
New York Giants (3-2)
Daniel Fells (TE-Foot-Season); Victor Cruz (WR-Calf-Season); Markus Kuhn (DL-Knee-Week by Week); Odell Beckham (WR-Hamstring-Questionable); Rueben Randle (WR-Hamstring-Questionable)
Analysis: Jason Pierre Paul’s off season incident leaves the Giants D without a playmaker. So far Cullen Jenkins has stepped up well in JPP’s absence, but in close NFC East battles JPP would be a difference maker. On offense the absence of Victor Cruz leaves big blue short on playmakers and allows opposing defenses to key on Odell Beckam Jr. Luckily the Giants carried two solid tight ends on their roster, and Larry Donnell will make up for Daniel Fells absence.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Tony Romo (QB-Clavicle-Week 11); Dez Bryant (WR-Foot-Week 7); Brice Butler (WR-Hamstring-Week 7); Terrell McClain (DL-Ankle-Season)
Analysis: Tony Romo and his best weapon Dez Bryant missing the rest of the season doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys on the offensive side of the ball. Brandon Weeden will take the snaps with recent signing Matt Cassell on the sideline in case of emergency. With Bryant out, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasely will be getting a lot more attention than usual from opposing secondaries. On the defense the return of Greg Hardy’s explosive pass rush should improve an already solid defense.
DeSean Jackson (WR-Hamstring-Week by Week); Jordan Reed (TE-Concussion-Week by Week); Matt Jones (RB-Toe-Questionable)
Analysis: The Redskins are short an offensive playmaker every week DeSean Jackson is sidelined. When Jackson is healthy he opens up opposing defense over the top and attracts attention that allows Pierre Garcon to get open looks and helps establish the Redskin running game. Additionally, the absence of Jordan Reed will make it difficult for Kirk Cousins to move the chains, as he likes to target his tight end on intermediate routes.
DeMarco Murray (RB-Hamstring-Questionable); Cody Parkey (K-Groin-Season); Kiko Alonso (LB-Knee-Indefinitely); Nelson Agholor (WR-Leg-Questionable)
Analysis: For the past few years the Eagles haven’t had much depth at linebacker, but this year they have it. With impact players Mychael Kendricks and Kiko Alonso out indefinitely, veterans DeMeaco Ryans and Akeem Jordan have played well, shoring up the middle for the Birds. The Eagles felt Cody Parkey’s absence in their three-point loss to the Redskins, when replacement kicker Josh Scobey left four points on the field missing an extra point and a field goal. Scobey will remain a question mark on the Eagles special teams going forward.
Jordy Nelson (WR-Knee-Season); Davante Adams (WR-Ankle-Questionable); Sean Richardson (S-Neck-Season)
Analysis: James Jones and Ty Montgomery have really stepped up with Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams sidelined. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns with a 70% completion rate. It seems like no matter who his receivers are, Rodgers will find the open man. Sean Richardson’s injury means the Packers will lose their standout special teamer. Richardson’s career may be over as this is his second neck injury and his safety is at risk.
Charles Johnson (WR-Ribs-Week 6); Mike Wallace (WR-Knee-Questionable)
Analysis: The Vikings have managed to keep their impact players healthy. WR2 Charles Johnson out for a few weeks shouldn’t have too much effect on the Vikings offense. Teddy Bridgewater has only targeted Johnson 8 times through 3 weeks and back up Cordarrelle Patterson has proven to be a solid receiver.
Jay Cutler (QB-Hamstring-Questionable); Will Montgomery (C-Leg-Season); Alshon Jeffery (WR-Hamstring-Week by Week); Eddie Royal (WR-Ankle-Week by Week); Shea McClellin (LB-Knee-Questionable); Jacquizz Rodgers (RB-Arm-Season)
Analysis: Jay Cutler’s health is tantamount to the Bears success, monitoring his hamstring so that it doesn’t linger for the season should be of supreme importance in the Bears training faculty. The same goes for star wideout Alshon Jefferey, who took over WR1 status with Brandon Marshall’s departure. And with starting center Will Montgomery out, replacement Hroniss Grasu will be a question mark for the already struggling Bears.
Eric Ebron (TE-Knee-Week by Week); Brandon Pettigrew (TE-Hamstring-Questionable); Joique Bell (RB-Ankle-Questionable)
Analysis: Both tight ends on questionable status for the Lions takes away a check down option for big arm quarterback Matthew Stafford. Timothy Wright the Lions TE3 has played well in limited time and seems to be up to filling Ebron and Pettigrew’s shoes.
Julio Jones (WR-Hamstring-Questionable)
Analysis: The Falcons felt the absence of Julio Jones last year posting a 6-10 record with an anemic offense. Jones’ staying healthy seems to be required for Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense to be successful.
Charles Johnson (DL-Hamstring-Week 12); Kelvin Benjamin (WR-ACL-Season); Jared Allen (DL-Back-Questionable)
Analysis: Kelvin Benjamin is a huge loss for the Panthers offense. With WR2 from last year Brandon LaFell in New England this season Cam Newton has just Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Olson as offensive weapons. Even without Charles Johnson the defense remains in good shape.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE-Shoulder-Week 7); Doug Martin (RB-Knee-Questionable)
Analysis: The Bucc’s offense needs Doug Martin to have any shot at staying competitive. Martin’s back to his star form averaging over 4 yards per carry and opening up passing lanes for rookie QB Jameis Winston.
Marques Colston (WR-Shoulder-Out Indefinitely)
With WR1 Marques Colston out Brandon Cooks will have to step up and be the player he’s projected to be to help bring the Saints back to life in week 6.
Andre Ellington (RB-Knee-Will Play); Daryl Washington (LB-Suspended)
Analysis: Coming into the season Andre Ellington’s health was a concern and he promptly got injured in week one. Fortunately the Cards had the foresight to pick up Chris Johnson who has played well in Ellington’s absence.
EJ Gaines (DB-Foot-Season); Alec Ogletree (LB-Leg-Out Indefinitely); Chris Long (DL-Knee-Week by Week)
Analysis: Second year standout E.J Gaines is a big loss for the Rams. Last year Gaines proved to be a valuable corner, covering opposing receivers well and pulling down two interceptions. However, Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins have played well this season. Without Chris Johsnon’s pass rush opposing QBs will have more time to attack Jenkins and Johnson.
Marshawn Lynch (RB-Hamstring-Week by Week); Fred Jackson (RB-Ankle-Week by Week); Jordan Hill (DL-Quadriceps-Week by Week); Bobby Wagners (LB-Pectorals-Questionable)
Analysis: The heart of Seattle’s offense is their run game and with a lingering hamstring injury Marshawn Lynch won’t be able to turn on beast mode. Also with a lingering ankle injury Lynch’s back up Fred Jackson (the oldest running back in the NFL) won’t be able to pick up the slack.
Reggie Bush (RB-Calf-Status Unknown); Vernon Davis (TE-Knee-Questionable)
Analysis: Injuries are never helpful, but luckily for the 49er’s they’ve only lost underperforming players. Carlos Hyde’s play won’t change, and it’s about time the Niners found a new tight end.
Brandon LaFell (WR-Foot-Week 8); Dont’a Hightower (LB-Ribs-Status Unknown); Nate Solder (LT-Biceps-Season)
Analysis: The Patriots seem unstoppable and as long as they have Gronk and Edleman, the absence of their best wideout should have a limited effect as long as everyone “does their job.”
Jace Amaro (TE-Shoulder-Season); Zach Sudfeld (TE-Knee-Season); Jeff Cumberland (TE-Concussion-Week by Week); Antonio Allen (DB-Achilles-Season)
Analysis: Jace Amaro broke out last year and proves to be a big loss for a Ryan Fitzpatrick who struggles throwing the deep ball. Without Amaro or Jeff Cumberland, who proved he can put his big body in the right spot and hang on to the ball last year, or Zach Sudfeld Fitzpatrick may struggle. While Darrell Revis and Antonio Chromartie hold down the Jets secondary without Antonio Allen.
Aaron Williams (DB-Neck-Week by Week); LeSean McCo (RB-Hamstring-Indefinitely); Karlos Williams (RB-Concussion-Questionable); Sammy Watkins (WR-Calf-Week by Week); Tyrod Taylor (QB-MCL-Questionable)
Analysis: Playmakers LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins are huge losses to the Bills unimpressive offense and will limit their ability to compete in division games. Aaron Williams absence takes some stability away from the Bills impressive secondary.
Dion Jordan (DL-Suspended); Brent Grimes (DB-Knee-Questionable)
Analysis: Without Brent Grimes the Dolphins lack a lockdown corner and will struggle against teams that have top 15 receivers. While Ndamukong Sue remains a one man wrecking crew even without Dion Jordan on the line with him.
Vontaze Burfict (LB-Knee-Week 8); Pacman Jones (DB-Elbow-Questionable)
Analysis: Vontaze Burfict has been an impact player since he entered the league four years ago and the Bengals defense loses a competitive edge without him. However the Bengals linebacking core of Rey Maualuga, A.J Hawk and Vincent Rey have played well against the run and pass without him.
Ben Roethlisberger (QB-Knee-Week 9); Garrett Hartley (K-Hamstring-Season); Shaun Suisham (K-Knee-Season); Bruce Gradkowski (QB-Finger-Season); Martavis Bryant (WR-Knee-Week by Week)
Analysis: Mike Tomlin was able to adapt the Steelers offense to Mike Vick’s style in the absence of Ben Roethlisberger posting 3 times the points in week 4 than they did in week 3. However, losing two solid kickers doesn’t help put points on the board and will be an issue in tight games.
Josh Gordon (WR-Suspended); Robert Turbin (RB-Ankle-Week by Week)
Analysis: Travis Benjamin has filled Josh Gordon’s shoes this season, making plays and giving quarterback Josh McCown a solid deep ball threat. When the two line up on opposite sides of the ball the Browns will have a serious passing threat next year.
Michael Campanaro (WR-Back-Season); Terrell Suggs (LB-Achilles-Season); Justin Forsett (RB-Ankle-Questionable)
Analysis: The Baltimore Ravens defense played totally different without their leader Terrell Suggs. Without Suggs the Ravens defense lost their ability to strike fear into opposing teams.
Andrew Luck (QB-Shoulder-Questionable); Vontae Davis (DB-Foot-Questionable); Greg Toler (DB-Neck-Will Play); Darius Butler (DB-Hip-Questionable)
Analysis: Andrew Luck wasn’t playing well before he was sidelined and Matt Hasselback has done a serviceable job in his absence. In the absence of Vontae Davis, an aging Frank Gore has gotten too many carries. Defensively the Colts secondary is struggling without Darius Butler.
Delanie Walker (TE-Hip-Questionable); Kendall Wright (WR-Knee-Questionable)
Analysis: Not much has gone well for the Titans this season, besides showing the lowly Buccaneers who’s the better bad team. If Kendall Wright is out this week Marcus Mariota will have even less competent receivers around him.
Julius Thomas (TE-Hand-Week 6); Allen Hurns (WR-Ankle-Thigh-Questionable); Brandon Linder (G-Shoulder-Season); Marqise Lee (WR-Hamstring-Week by Week); Bernard Pierce (RB-Concussion-Week by Week); TJ Yeldon (RB-Groin-Status Unknown); Blake Bortles (QB-Shoulder-Questionable)
Analysis: The Jaguars lost one of Blake Bortles’ favorite targets and endzone threats when Julius Thomas went down, but Allen Robinson has really showed up this season and kept the offense afloat as much as he can. The loss of Brandon Linder unsteadies the Jags decent offensive line.
Arian Foster (RB-Groin-Questionable); Nate Washington (WR-Hamstring-Week by Week); Cecil Shorts (WR-Shoulder-Week by Week)
Analysis: Arian Foster is the key to Bill Obrien’s run first offense and without him the team has struggled. The absence of Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts adds to an unsteady quarterback situation and puts more pressure on star wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
Peyton Manning (QB-Back-Questionable); Demaryius Thomas (WR-Neck-Questionable); DeMarcus Ware (DL-Back-Week 8)
Analysis: Peyton Manning’s play throughout this season has been just good enough for a perfect start. However, his injury status is of extreme importance in what should be a competitive AFC West race. The absence of DeMarcus Ware could have a huge impact on Denver’s aggressive defense, that won a couple games with late heroics this year.
Latavius Murray (RB-Neck-Questionable); Michael Crabtree (WR-Ankle-Questionable); Nate Allen (DB-Knee-Week 10); Andre Debose (WR-Achilles-Season)
Analysis: Derek Carr has exceeded expectations this year with the sure handed Michael Crabtree out, picking up two wins. Veteran Nate Allen’s absence hurts the Raiders secondary but he should be back in time to help them stay competitive at the end of the season.
Brandon Flowers (DB-Concussion-Questionable); Malcom Floyd (WR-Concussion-Questionable); Jacoby Jones (WR-Ankle-Week by Week); King Dunlap (T-Concussion-Week by Week)
Analysis: Without Brandon Flowers the Chargers secondary loses a big playmaker and will have to rely on Eric Weddle to step up. Philip Rivers also has to step up and improve ball security without two of his favorite receivers Malcolm Floyd and Jacoby Jones sidelined.
Sean Smith (DB-Suspended-Will Play); Phillip Gaines (DB-Knee-Season); Jamaal Charles (RB-ACL-Season)
Analysis: The Chiefs defense has played kept them in close games even without Sean Smith, but their offense just can’t manage to help them win close football games. That trend will continue especially without Jamal Charles.