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Injuries in Depth

What You Gonna Do When COVID-19 Continues Running Wild On You?

by Hasan Rahim
Updated On: December 26, 2021, 12:47 am ET

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Welcome back to the Saturday Injury Report! 

Every week I’ll be looking at injuries across the league for the upcoming slate of games.

Keep in mind that COVID-19 is ripping through the NFL. I’ll do my best to update this column updated, so check back as needed. 

Saturday Games

Browns @ Packers

The Browns will activate QB Baker Mayfield and WR Jarvis Landry from the reserve/COVID-19 list. RB Kareem Hunt has been ruled out and will miss the game later today. 

The Packers did not activate WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling from the reserve/COVID-19 list and he will miss this week. 

Colts @ Cardinals 

The Colts are fully healthy for this game. 

The Cardinals will have RB James Conner and RB Chase Edmonds for the game. It should be noted that TE Zach Ertz was not given an injury designation and is expected to be fully ready. 

Sunday Early Games 

Lions @ Falcons

Lions QB Jared Goff has been ruled out this week, as he’s on the COVID-19/reserve list. In his absence, QB Tim Boyle will start. Note that D’Andre Swift is listed as questionable this week. Given that Swift practiced on a limited basis all week, I think there’s a pretty strong chance that he plays. WR Josh Reynolds is dealing with a thigh injury, but I expect that he receives his usual complement of snaps. 

Falcons WR Tajae Sharpe (foot) did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. I strongly doubt he plays tomorrow. 

Ravens @ Bengals

QB Lamar Jackson did not practice all week and is listed as questionable. QB Tyler Huntley is headed to the COVID-19/reserve list, which could force the Ravens’ hand regarding Jackson. WR Devin Duvernay did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. I expect that his absence should open up a handful of opportunities for WR Rashod Bateman

The Bengals are fully healthy this week. 

Rams @ Vikings

The Rams are fully healthy this week. 

The Vikings will be without the services of RB Dalvin Cook. Cook tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and given his unvaccinated status, he will be out for the next 10 days. RB Alexander Mattison will be a locked-in RB1 in Cook’s absence. WR Adam Thielen was limited in practice and did not have an injury designation this week. 

Bills @ Patriots

The Bills with be without both WR Cole Beasley and WR Gabriel Davis this week. WR Emmanuel Sanders practiced this week and does not have an injury designation for Sunday’s game. I expect that Sanders will step into a larger-than-expected role this week. 

The Patriots will be without both WR Nelson Agholor and RB Rhamondre Stevenson this week. Although both Brandon Bolden and Damien Harris were limited in practice all week, I expect that they will play this week. Harris should see his usual workload, whereas Bolden could see a slight bump in the receiving game. 

Jaguars @ Jets

The Jaguars are fully healthy as they head into their Week 16 matchup.

The Jets, however, will possibly be without the services of WR Jamison Crowder. Crowder did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful. I expect WR Braxton Berrios to be a viable WR3 play this week.

Giants @ Eagles

The Giants will potentially get back WR Kadarius Toney this week. The rookie receiver has been dealing with a lingering oblique injury and it’s to be seen if he will play a full complement of snaps. 

The Eagles are dealing with some RB issues this week. Although RB Miles Sanders did not practice all week, it looks like he will suit up on Sunday. Jordan Howard was downgraded to a DNP on Friday, which suggests he might miss the game this weekend. 

Buccaneers @ Panthers 

The Buccaneers are in a tough situation from an injury perspective. The team will be without WR Chris Godwin (ACL) for the rest of the season. Additionally, the team will be without WR Mike Evans (hamstring) and RB Leonard Fournette this week. The team placed Fournette on injured reserve and signed RB Le’Veon Bell, so I’d expect that they hold out Fournette for the rest of the season. Expect WR Antonio Brown to be the team’s WR1 for the foreseeable future. 

Panthers WR DJ Moore practiced on a limited basis on Friday after not practicing all week. His ceiling is quite limited. Note that head coach Matt Rhule has announced that he expects QB Cam Newton and QB Sam Darnold to split work on Sunday. 

Chargers @ Texans 

The Chargers will be without RB Austin Ekeler (COVID-19) this week. In his absence, RB Justin Jackson is expected to carry the load this week. Additionally, the Chargers will be without DE Joey Bosa this week as he’s on the reserve/COVID list. 

The Texans will be without WR Brandin Cooks this week, as he’s on the reserve/COVID-19 list. RB David Johnson did not practice all week and is not expected to play. 

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Sunday Afternoon Games

Bears @ Seahawks

The Bears are down to their third-string quarterback this week. The team will be starting QB Nick Foles, who will be backed up by Justin Fields. Fields is dealing with an ankle injury and should only see the field in case of emergency. The team will also be without WR Jakeem Grant this weekend. 

The Seahawks activated WR Tyler Lockett from the COVID-19 list and appear to be fully healthy this week.

Steelers @ Chiefs

The Steelers will be without TE Pat Freiermuth this week. 

The Chiefs activated WR Tyreek Hill this week from the reserve/COVID-19 list and he’s expected to play this week. Additionally, there’s an outside shot that TE Travis Kelce plays this week. 

Broncos @ Raiders

The Broncos will be without QB Teddy Bridgewater this week and will be starting Drew Lock.

On the Raiders side of the ball, the team will once again be without the services of TE Darren Waller

Sunday Night Football 

Washington @ Cowboys

Although RB Antonio Gibson did not practice all week, he’s listed as questionable for Sunday Night Football. I expect that the team will look to monitor his snaps. Additionally, WR Curtis Samuel is expected to play tomorrow. The team also gets back QB Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen from the COVID-19 list this week, so the outlook for the offense is a bit better than last week. 

The Cowboys are fully healthy as they head into Sunday Night Football.

Monday Games

Dolphins @ Saints

The Dolphins will welcome back WR Jaylen Waddle this week from the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

The New Orleans Saints are in dire straits at quarterback this week. The team will be starting fourth-string QB Ian Book against the Dolphins. QB Taysom Hill is on the reserve/COVID-19 list. 

Enjoy the games, everyone! 

Hasan Rahim

Hasan Rahim is a fantasy football analyst for NBC Sports EDGE and RotoViz. He is the co-host of the Fantasy Football Report on RotoViz Radio and can be found on Twitter @hrr5010