Week 5 was/is a wild one for the NFL. We saw a quarterback return from a gruesome leg injury after nearly two years of recovery and another franchise QB lost for the year with a broken ankle.
Here’s a look at what each team is dealing with as we head toward Week 6 and a preview of who could be inactive for tonight’s Tuesday night matchup:
Chandler Jones suffered a biceps injury early in Sunday’s and Kliff Kingsbury was pretty quick to point out it could be season-ending for the linebacker. Jones has just one sack in 2020 after posting 60 sacks in his first four seasons with the Cardinals. Arizona currently ranks in the bottom six of QB pressure percentage, but its 14 sacks rank in the top 10. Special teams ace Dennis Gardeck filled in nicely for Jones on Sunday, tallying a pair of sacks on just 10 snaps, his first defensive snaps of the season. The loss of Jones could also lead to more playing time for rookie first-round pick Isaiah Simmons. The eighth-overall pick has made four starts, but has yet to play in more than 23 total snaps in a game and has played on just 17 percent of the Cardinals defensive snaps.
Star WR Julio Jones missed Week 5 with a hamstring injury he’s been dealing with for a few weeks. He missed Week 3 and was limited to just 15 snaps in Week 4. While the Falcons were cautious and held out Jones, they let Takk McKinley play through the groin injury that forced him out of the previous two games. However, McKinley aggravated that injury in the first half on Sunday and never returned. The Falcons are 0-5 and their loss to the Panthers on Sunday was their first contest in 2020 with less than 30 points allowed.
Starting rookie G Tyre Phillips missed Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, but Jim Harbaugh seems pretty optimistic he’ll be back soon. The rotation of Patrick Mekari and Ben Powers held up well for Baltimore. The Ravens piled up 161 rushing yards on the Bengals and allowed just one sack.
The Bills were without a number of starters in their Tuesday night contest in Tennessee. Wide recevier John Brown (calf), CB Tre’Davious White (back), and LB Matt Milano were all inactive. Additionally, offensive lineman Quinton Spain missed the game after experiencing foot soreness on Tuesday morning. Tight end Dawson Knox left the game early with a calf injury. Tyler Kroft will get the bulk of the snaps at tight end if Knox misses time.
Eli Apple made his 2020 debut in Week 4, but was inactive in Week 5 with a hamstring injury. The Panthers’ defense was decimated by injuries on Sunday as DE Yetur Gross-Matos (ankle), DT Kawann Short (shoulder), CB Donte Jackson (toe), and DE Brian Burns all left the game early. As usual, Matt Rhule did not update the status of the players. Despite being down four starters, Carolina allowed just 16 points to the Falcons. Up next for the Panthers are the Chicago Bears, who currently rank 25th in points per drive, but will have a few extra days to prepare after their Thursday night win over the Buccaneers. Additionally, Christian McCaffrey is eligible to come off the IR this week, but Rhule thinks it will still be a while until he’s ready to go.
Veteran G James Daniels suffered a torn pectoral muscle on Sunday that will cost him the rest of the season. Second-year G Alex Bars was tabbed to replace Daniels on Sunday, but the Notre Dame product has played just 44 offensive snaps during his two years in the NFL. The Bears have run for just 63 yards in their last two games, but are going up against a Panthers defense that has allowed 5.4 yards per carry in Week 6.
The Bengals defensive line lost DT DJ Reader to a quad injury that will force him to miss the rest of the season. Also, DE Sam Hubbard hurt his elbow and will miss substantial time as well, per Zac Taylor. A.J. Green was limited on Sunday with a hamstring issue that’s been bothering him since training camp. He played just 28 snaps and had zero catches on one target, but Cincinnati’s offense struggled mightily against the Ravens on Sunday.
It seemed like CB Greedy Williams was getting close to making his 2020 debut after injuring his shoulder in training camp, but head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Williams is dealing with a nerve issue, will be placed on the IR, and might be out for the rest of the season. Williams missed four games as a rookie, but made 12 starts and didn’t allow a passing touchdown in coverage. Denzel Ward has emerged as the Browns’ top corning back, holding opposing QBs to just five yards per attempt in his coverage. Things haven’t gone as well for Terrance Mitchell, who is allowing eight yards per target this year.
Two days after losing Tyron Smith for the year, the Cowboys were dealt the biggest injury of the year when Dak Prescott went down with an ankle injury on Sunday. Prescott was taken to the hospital and had surgery on his right ankle, but will miss the remainder of the season. Andy Dalton steps into Prescott’s role after signing a one-year contract with Dallas in the offseason. Dalton completed nine of 11 passes for 111 yards in relief of Prescott on Sunday and led the Cowboys down the field on a game-winning field goal drive. Dalton is more than capable of winning with Dallas and has a favorable schedule the next few weeks. In his career, Dalton is 4-2-1 against the Cowboys’ next three opponents.
The Broncos’ Week 5 game against New England was pushed back a week, which could be a blessing. Quarterback Drew Lock could return as the starter in Week 6 after missing the previous two weeks with a shoulder injury. Lock was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, so he is on track to make a return. If Lock’s shoulder isn’t good to go, Brett Rypien should get the start after defeating the Jets in Week 4.
The Lions are coming off their bye week and there isn’t any news to report. Hopefully, the week off gives their secondary time to heal as S CJ Moore and CB Desmond Trufant were both dealing with injuries before the bye.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers also had their bye in Week 5 and it seems to have come at the right time. Both LB Kamal Martin and WR Equanimeous St. Brown are practicing again in anticipation for their return from the IR. Devante Adams also participated in Monday’s practice.
2018 Pro Bowl LB Benardrick McKinney underwent shoulder surgery on Monday after sitting out Week 5 and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season. Despite his absence, the Texans allowed a season-low 75 rushing yards and 22 first downs to the Jaguars in their first win of the season. Tyrell Adams filled in for McKinney and racked up 13 total tackles and recovered a fumble. Adams has played sparingly in his five-year career, making just three starts and collecting 52 tackles in 26 games.
The Colts defense struggled against the Browns on Sunday, allowing over 300 yards for the first time all season. Indy’s defense was missing its centerpiece, LB Darius Leonard, who was inactive due to a groin injury. Frank Reich said it was too early to comment on Leonard’s availability in Week 6, but his absence forced Anthony Walker to play all 73 defensive snaps on Sunday and he responded with 11 tackles, an interception, and a tackle for loss.
The Jaguars were missing three key defenders on Sunday, CB CJ Henderson (shoulder), LB Myles Jack (ankle), and EDGE Josh Allen (knee). We will have to wait until Wednesday to get any updates on those players’ status for Week 6. Jacksonville’s defense has allowed at least 30 points in four-straight games and currently ranks 31st in yards per drive and points per drive.
Kansas City Chiefs
Guard Kelechi Osemele was carted off the field in the first half of Kansas City’s loss to Las Vegas. After the game, head coach Andy Reid told reporters that Osemele tore tendons in both his knees and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Veteran Mike Remmers stepped in and should have the job moving forward. He has started 72 games since 2015. It’s also worth noting Sammy Watkins went down with a hamstring injury and could miss a few weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers
Cornerback Casey Hayward missed most of the fourth quarter on Monday night, but the real concern for the Chargers stems from Keenan Allen’s back injury. Allen caught a touchdown on Monday, but played only 12 snaps before being ruled out with back spasms. Anthony Lynn did not have an update on Allen’s condition after the game. With Allen on the sideline, Mike Williams had a big night, leading the team in targets and catching five passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams suffered a pair of injuries to their defense on Sunday. Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo left the game in the second half with a strained elbow and safety Jordan Fuller injured his shoulder on the final play of the game. That same shoulder forced Fuller to miss a game earlier this year. He was placed on IR and will miss the next three games. Taylor Rapp should replace Fuller in the lineup. The second-year man has struggled in coverage this year, allowing 8.8 yards per target. Some good news for the Rams, however, as it seems like LB Micah Kiser is on track to play in Week 6, although Sean McVay expects him to be limited in practice early in the week.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders enter their bye with a number of veterans dealing with injuries, but Jon Gruden seems pretty confident they can get some of those guys back in time for their Week 7 game against Tampa Bay. In addition to QB Marcus Mariota getting healthy, G Richie Incognito (Achilles), WR Bryan Edwards (ankle), and DT Maliek Collins should all be close by the time Week 7 rolls around. The Raiders already welcomed back WR Henry Ruggs III and RT Trent Brown in their win over the Chiefs.
Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux suffered a biceps injury on Sunday that could put the rest of his season in jeopardy. For now, Godchaux is getting a second opinion, but it looks like he will be headed to the IR this week. The Dolphins have rookie second-round pick Raekwon Davis ready to step in for Godchaux. The Alabama product has played in all five games this season, but hasn’t recorded a tackle since Week 3. Miami’s next game is in Denver, against a Broncos team that is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry.
Running back Dalvin Cook suffered a groin injury on Sunday night, but the prognosis isn’t all that grim. Cook’s MRI on Monday revealed the injury wasn’t that significant, but he is still expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Falcons. The Vikings will enjoy their bye in Week 7, so Cook could miss two weeks to heal while only missing one game, but Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday that Cook was feeling “really good.” Minnesota still racked up over 200 rushing yards against Seattle on Sunday night with Alexander Mattison carrying the ball 20 times for 112 yards.
New England Patriots
The Patriots got an unexpected bye in Week 5, but it should help some of their key veterans heal up. Cam Newton and CB Stephon Gilmore remain on the COVID list and Bill Belichick wasn’t too keen on letting reporters know their status for Sunday. However, guys like WR Julian Edelman and safety Devin McCourty should be good to go in Week 6 after projecting to be questionable in Week 5.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints won on Monday night without the services of WR Michael Thomas, although his absence wasn’t injury-related. So the good news is Thomas seems fully-recovered from his ankle sprain and will play following the Saints bye week. New Orleans also lost C Nick Easton to a concussion on Monday night, but we probably won’t get an update on him until after the team returns from their bye week.
New York Giants
Starting linebacker Lorenzo Carter suffered a ruptured Achilles on Sunday afternoon and will miss the rest of the season. Carter compiled 8.5 sacks during his first two seasons in the NFL. Veteran Markus Golden should replace Carter in the Giants’ defense. The former Arizona Cardinal has two 10-sack seasons on his resume, including 2019.
New York Jets
Wide receiver Chris Hogan is dealing with a high ankle sprain, but the Jets’ biggest concern is getting Sam Darnold back on the field. The former second-overall pick missed Week 5 with a shoulder injury he sustained in the Jets loss to Denver the week prior. Darnold did throw on Monday, but isn’t sure if he’ll be cleared to play against the Chargers next week. He said he stills feel pain “every now and then.” However, he was ruled out on Wednesday and Joe Flacco will start in Week 6 after an unspectacular showing against the Cardinals on Sunday.
Right tackle Lane Johnson missed most of training camp and Week 1 after getting surgery on his ankle in August. After missing some snaps in the first half last due to some discomfort, Johnson missed the final 20 snaps on Sunday for similar reasons. Doug Pederson told reporters on Monday that Johnson is in the process of getting a second opinion, and told reporters on Wednesday that he was held out of practice. Rookie Jack Driscoll has been Johnson’s understudy, getting the Week 1 start and filling in for him the last two weeks. Additionally, Pederson said CB Darius Slay is currently in concussion protocol.
The Steelers suffered a few injuries on their offense on Sunday. Center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter, WR Diontae Johnson injured his back, and G David DeCastro left the game with a foot injury. Mike Tomlin expressed hope the trio would be back as soon as next week, but we won’t get a better understanding of their condition until later in the week. However, G Stefen Wisniewski might be getting close to coming off IR, which will help the offensive line depth, and in Johnson’s absence, rookie receiver Chase Claypool scored four touchdowns.
San Francisco 49ers
Cornerback Richard Sherman suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury and isn’t expected to be activated off IR anytime soon after receiving shots to hopefully reduce the inflammation. Linebacker Kwon Alexander is expected to miss some time with a high ankle sprain, but it sounds like CB Emmanuel Moseley is on his way back after missing a couple games with a concussion. Brian Allen got the start at corner against the Dolphins and was burned for a pair of deep passes that led to touchdowns.
Seattle made it out of Sunday night’s game relatively unscathed, save for a knee injury to reserve DT Anthony Rush. Seattle is undefeated heading into their bye week and was missing S Jamal Adams and LB Jordyn Brooks against the Vikings. Pete Carroll said specifically Adams could be ready when the team plays in Week 7.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay made it through the first four weeks very healthy, but suffered a major blow on Thursday when DT Vita Vea was lost for the season with a broken leg. Vea had two sacks and three tackles for loss in 2020. If Rakeem Nunez-Roches gets the starting nod on Sunday, it will be his first start since 2017 when he was with the Chiefs. Nunez-Roches also has just one tackle for loss since 2016 despite playing in 40 games the past four seasons.
Tennessee finally got back on the field Tuesday night and had the services of A.J. Brown for the first time since Week 1. Brown led the Titans in targets (9), catches (7) and receiving yards (82) in his first game back from a bruised knee. As for the players on the COVID list, T Isaiah Wilson and DB Greg Mabin were activated and played on Tuesday night. However, WR Corey Davis, WR Adam Humphries, DE Jeffery Simmons, and CB Kristian Fulton remained on the COVID list and were inactive.
Washington Football Team
Kyle Allen was knocked out of Sunday’s game with an arm injury, leading to the return of Alex Smith, which was the feel-good story of the week. However, Ron Rivera is confident Allen played well enough and is healthy enough to get the start in Week 6 against the Giants. Allen is 6-8 in his career as a starter with a passer rating of 82.0 and a touchdown/interception ratio of 19-16.