Just when fans think that their team is getting a raw deal when it comes to ailing star players, try to put yourself into the shoes of the Los Angeles Chargers who had to place All-Pro offensive tackle Rashawn Slater and pass rusher Joey Bosa on injured reserve on the same day.
The Chargers are far from the only team with high hopes dealing with missing players. The New Orleans Saints offense may look a little different on Sunday morning and not just because they are playing in London. The New England Patriots will likely be without quarterback Mac Jones for a little while.
Although the NFL playoff odds list the Kansas City Chiefs (+750) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+850) second and third in the odds to win the Super Bowl, both teams have injury concerns going into Sunday night’s much-anticipated matchup.
Remember Me? Familiar Names on Injury Report
There aren’t too many sure things in the world of pro football. However, it seems like a foregone conclusion that there will be injured concerns with Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
Sure enough, Watt is dealing with a calf issue that kept him out of Thursday’s practice.
A thigh issue kept McCaffrey out of practices earlier in the week, although there are reports that he took part in Friday’s drills.
Robbie Anderson speaking with media today.
When asked if it’s encouraging to see Christian McCaffrey to return to practice today, he says he “wasn’t ever discouraged.” pic.twitter.com/4WHaaFyZ8H
— Augusta Stone (@augustalstone) September 30, 2022
McCaffrey played in 10 out of a possible 33 games during the 2020 and 2021 season while Watt has already missed one game this season. He has appeared in eight games or less in four of the last six seasons.
Per the NFL betting lines, McCaffrey is priced at +15000 in the odds to win the NFL Regular Season MVP award and that number would look a little different if not for his injury history.
Ankle Issue Slowing Buffalo’s Davis
The hope was the talented Gabriel Davis would provide some balance in the passing game for the Buffalo Bills, listed by the NFL betting lines as the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
However, Davis continues to be slowed by an ankle injury. He didn’t practice on Thursday and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.
He is far from the only talented pass catcher trying to return to the field.
There are concerns about the top two receiving options for the Lions with receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) is out while tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee) was doing drills on a limited basis.
The Lions are already preparing themselves to be without star running back DeAndre Swift as he is dealing with shoulder and ankle injuries. St. Brown has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against Seattle.
Green Bay’s Allen Lazard (ankle) did a little bit of work at Thursday’s practice.
Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz (knee) was a limited participant at Thursday’s practice. That is the same story with New England receiver Jakobi Meyers (knee).
Arizona’s Rondale Moore (hamstring) had a limited practice on Thursday while veteran A.J. Green (knee) wasn’t at Thursday’s practice.
The Raiders’ reliable Hunter Renfrow continues to be held out of practice as he works his way back from a concussion.
There are reports that Chargers receiver Keenan Allen had a setback as he tries to work through a hamstring injury.
The New York Giants already lost Sterling Shepard for the season with a torn ACL and now Kadarius Toney is questionable with a hamstring ailment that has kept him out of practice this week.
Chiefs-Bucs Game Could Be Impacted by Ailing Stars
The mere idea of a prime-time game featuring Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should get NFL fans excited. However, some of the supporting cast members for both quarterbacks are iffy to play in the Super Bowl rematch.
Kansas City is waiting to see if deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling can go on Sunday night as an abdomen issue has kept him out of practice this week.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones was a late addition to the Kansas City injury report and that would be a huge loss.
Tampa Bay gets receiver Mike Evans back after his one-game suspension and it is looking good for fellow receiver Julio Jones to return as well. There is still no Chris Godwin but he could be getting closer to a return as he fights through a hamstring issue. Breshad Perriman (knee/hamstring) didn’t practice on Thursday either.
Keep an eye on the updates with offensive tackle Donovan Smith and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. It is no wonder that the NFL picks list this game as a Pick’em as there are so many unknown variables to deal with so don’t be surprised if that line changes.
Injury Issues Not a Blessing for the Saints
Coming into the season, the trio of quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas were expected to lead the New Orleans Saints.
There is a chance none of them will play on Sunday against Minnesota.
Thomas has already been ruled out with a foot injury, the Saints will likely do with veteran Andy Dalton at quarterback rather than Winston. Kamara (ribs) was a limited participant on Thursday so perhaps he can return. Receiver Jarvis Landry also took part in some drills on Thursday but not enough to alleviate the concerns of those who bet online.
The Saints have been dealing with offensive line injuries since the preseason and guard Andrus Peat has also been ruled out of the game with Minnesota.
With a 9:30 a.m. ET start due to the game being played in London, there is less time than normal for updates.
The waiting game continues with Tennessee receiver Kyle Phillips, Velus Jones of Chicago and the Giants’ Wan’Dale Robinson. All three are getting mentioned as possible NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates according to the NFL predictions.
Jones practiced on a limited basis on Thursday as he recovers from a hamstring injury. A knee injury kept Robinson out of another practice on Thursday. Phillips is still dealing with an issue with his shoulder but he did practice on a limited basis on Thursday.
Colts offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann is also questionable as is Los Angeles Rams defensive back Derion Kendrick.
The Chiefs’ defense took a hit when cornerback Trent McDuffie was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Minnesota cornerback Andrew Booth (quadriceps) missed another practice.