The biggest injury news coming out of Week 1 was the season-ending injury suffered by New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Baltimore running back J.K. Dobbins was also lost for the season as both players suffered Achilles injuries. Their absence could impact the NFL predictions for both teams.
There are some high-profile players who have either been limited at practice or haven’t practiced at all and their status will have a role in some NFL picks this weekend. Tight ends Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews as well as running backs Austin Ekeler and Aaron Jones are among the players to keep tabs on.
When looking at the NFL picks, the New York Jets matchup with Dallas opened with the Cowboys favored by three points and it is now in the 8½-9 point range.
Keep on reading for more on the NFL injuries and updates on who could be in and who could be out or limited in Week 2.
Ailing Tight Ends
It doesn’t take long to mention the names of Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, San Francisco’s George Kittle, Darren Waller of the New York Giants and Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens when starting a debate of the best tight end in football right now.
The four of them have something else in common – injury concerns heading into Week 2 of the NFL season.
Andrews, who did not play in Baltimore’s season-opening win over Houston, was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice as he is still dealing with a quadriceps injury.
It was the same story for Kelce, who is working his way back from a knee injury he suffered in practice a couple of days before the season-opening loss to Detroit.
Kittle had a quiet Week 1 performance, catching three of his six targets for 19 yards and seems to be in the best position to make an impact in Week 2 among the aforementioned tight ends.
Waller, acquired by the Giants in the offseason, was limited once again at Thursday’s practice.
Kittle and Waller are expected to play while the status of Andrews and Kelce is a little harder to read.
Pittsburgh’s Pat Freiermuth is also slowed by injury while Denver’s Greg Dulcich could miss some time with a hamstring issue.
Hitting the Ground Running?
Austin Ekeler’s 2023 season got off to a typically productive start as he rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown and also added 47 yards on four catches. He also came out of the Los Angeles Chargers’ season-opening loss to Miami with an ankle injury. When looking at the NFL odds, Ekeler is projected to be one of the most productive running backs in the NFL this season.
Ekeler was not spotted on the practice field during the portion of Thursday’s practice that was opened to the media so his status for the Week 2 matchup against Tennessee is very much up in the air.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 15, 2023
Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers did not practice on Thursday due to a tender hamstring. Jones was limited to 11 touches (nine carries for 41 yards, two catches for 86 yards) in Week 1.
Arizona’s James Conner (calf) practiced on a limited basis on Thursday. Meanwhile, keep expecting to see second-year back Breece Hall of the New York Jets on a limited snap count in practice as he works his way back from the knee injury that brought his rookie season to an early end.
Concerns With Veteran Receivers?
There is always a fine line between trying to figure out whether practice limitations for veteran receivers early in the season is a case of managing players with lots of tread on their tires or whether there is a genuine cause for concern.
Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers, Brandin Cooks of the Dallas Cowboys, DeAndre Hopkins of the Tennessee Titans and DeVante Parker of the New England Patriots are all players worth keeping tabs on.
The news is not great for Pittsburgh’s Diontae Johnson, considered to be day-to-day with a hamstring issue. His former Pittsburgh teammate Chase Claypool was ineffective in Week 1 for the Chicago Bears and was reported to look disinterested at times. Could he be held out of the Week 2 matchup with Tampa Bay?
Green Bay second-year receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson bring injury concerns into NFL Week 2.
Who’s Up Front Matters
While it didn’t show against an outclassed New York Giants team in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys have offensive line concerns with Zack Martin and Tyler Smith both slowed by injury.
That is not even close to what the New England Patriots are contending with as linemen David Andrews, Trent Brown, Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu are all showing up on the injury list.
Elgton Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville’s Brandon Scherff, Houston’s Laremy Tunsil, Andrew Thomas of the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens duo of Tyler Linderbaum and Ronnie Stanley are other prominent offensive linemen popping up on injury reports.
A Look at the Defenses
It is not just about impact players on offense who need to be monitored.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (hamstring) and linebacker Eric Kendricks, Tennessee defensive backs Kristian Fulton (hamstring) and Amani Hooker (concussion), Green Bay linebackers Rashan Gary and Quay Walker, Atlanta linebacker Troy Andersen and cornerback Jeff Odukah, Houston Texans safety Jalen Pitre, Seattle safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Boye Mafe, Tampa Bay cornerback Carlton Davis, Washington defensive end Chase Young and Miami cornerback Xavien Howard are all on the injury list.
UPDATE: #Chargers star RB Austin Ekeler is DOUBTFUL for Sunday.
Star DE Joey Bosa is questionable. pic.twitter.com/60e0GUSjrs
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 15, 2023
That is a lot of potential sacks, tackles for loss, tackles and interceptions that could be left standing on the sidelines this week.
It is also worth wondering about how much Kansas City defensive lineman Chris Jones will play after ending his holdout.
Let’s take a look at the injuries impacting some of the top rookies.
Puka Nacua of the Los Angeles Rams was one of the Week 1 surprises when he finished with 10 catches for 119 yards. However, he is contending with an oblique injury so keep tabs on his progress.
Running back Kendre Miller of the New Orleans Saints is dealing with a hamstring issue while Miami’s Devon Achane seems to be trending in the right direction.
Tampa Bay defensive lineman Calijah Kancey is slowed by a calf injury after playing just 11 snaps in his NFL debut.