The Thursday night affair between the Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints was notable for those who didn’t play as much as those who did.
New Orleans receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and quarterback Jameis Winston were all sidelined, as were Arizona running back James Conner and receiver Marquise Brown.
This will certainly not be the only Week 7 game impacted by injuries. There is some promising news regarding a pair of starting quarterbacks that could impact the NFL betting lines this week. With teams starting to have bye weeks, the hope is that injured stars can begin to return to the field.
Some big names will be out of action with the Buffalo Bills, reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles having bye weeks.
Here’s a look at how some of the key players are trending as they look to return to action.
Taylor on Track to Play
Reigning NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor appears ready to return to action after missing the last two games.
That is the good news. However, Taylor had just 113 yards on 41 carries in his last two outings. Perhaps the time away will help Taylor resemble the player who looked unstoppable with the ball in his hands a season ago. The NFL betting odds have Taylor at +15000 in the NFL Regular Season Most Valuable Player race.
The news is not as encouraging for Baltimore’s JK Dobbins, as he missed practice again on Thursday due to a knee injury that left his status moving forward up in the air.
Fellow Indianapolis running back Nyheim Hines (concussion) was a full participant at Thursday’s practice, so he could also be back for the Colts.
Quarterbacks Could Be Returning to Action
The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots have reminded the NFL of the importance of having a quality backup quarterback.
Cooper Rush went 4-1 as a starter in place of the injured Dak Prescott for the Cowboys, while rookie Bailey Zappe has led the Patriots to back-to-back wins while Mac Jones heals up.
Both Prescott and Jones could be cleared to play, so look for the starters to return to action.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 21, 2022
For Dallas, receiver James Washington is making progress as he recovers from a foot injury and could be activated off injured reserve soon. New England might also be getting running back Damien Harris back sooner than expected.
Will Wilson and Mayfield Be Able to Go?
Another quarterback is dealing with a less certain short-term future.
Denver’s Russell Wilson is not only dealing with a shoulder injury but is now slowed by a tender hamstring.
Wilson claims the hamstring is feeling better. However, he professed that his ailing shoulder was getting healthier as well, which is hard to believe after watching him struggle to complete even the most basic of passes this season.
It is not a good sign that offensive linemen Quinn Meinerz and Billy Turner are also questionable.
Carolina quarterback Baker Mayfield practiced on a limited basis on Thursday, so perhaps he could return to action this weekend. Unfortunately, he will not have two players expected to help him turn things around on offense coming into the season: running back Christian McCaffrey and receiver Robby Anderson have been traded to San Francisco and Arizona.
Detroit Runner Trying to Make a Swift Recovery
After a bye week, it looks like running back DeAndre Swift might be returning to the field for the Detroit Lions.
Swift, who missed the last two games, began the season with 144 yards in a tough loss to Philadelphia but has achieved 12 carries since.
The bye week probably came at the perfect time, as Detroit could have Swift, tight end T.J. Hockenson, and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown available on Sunday. However, even with that promising news on the injury front, the sportsbook lists visiting Detroit as a 7-point underdog against Dallas.
Pass Catchers on the Mend
Is this the week Keenan Allen returns for the Los Angeles Chargers?
Allen has played in just one game this season. He was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice.
Raiders tight end Darren Waller (hamstring) continues to be held out of practice. Making matters worse, receiver Hunter Renfrow (hip) also missed Thursday’s practice.
Seattle’s Tyler Lockett (hamstring) could not participate in on-field drills on Thursday.
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (knee) did not practice on Thursday
Cincinnati receiver Ja’Marr Chase (hip) and tight end Hayden Hurst (groin) were both limited participants on Thursday.
Miami’s Jaylen Waddle (shoulder) was limited in practice on Thursday.
The Giants could be without Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay when New York faces Jacksonville on Sunday as both continue to miss practice.
Tampa Bay is not likely to have tight end Cam Brate due to the neck injury he suffered last week. However, receiver Julio Jones might be able to return to the field.
Let’s Look at the Defense
As if the Atlanta Falcons didn’t have enough injuries to deal with, veteran cornerback Casey Hayward went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury earlier this week.
San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa (groin) was a limited participant at Thursday’s practice. Those who bet online will keep tabs on Bosa’s status heading into the showcase matchup with Kansas City. The news isn’t all positive, as safety Talanoa Hufanga (concussion) did not practice on Thursday for the 49ers.
It has been a tough run for some key rookies, but there is some good news: Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett returned to practice this week after he cleared concussion protocol.
Green Bay receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday.
Jets pass rusher Jermaine Johnson (ankle) is likely to miss this week’s game, but he could return in Week 8 against New England.
Washington receiver Jahan Dotson is reported to have had a setback with his hamstring injury and is questionable. That is not good news for the Commanders as they could be without veteran tight end Logan Thomas as well.