Baker Mayfield has the Cleveland Browns on a winning tear they haven’t felt in a while, but will he be able to go in the NFL Week 6 showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers? While Mayfield might be on the way out, Cam Newton might be on the way in for the New England Patriots after recovering from his bout with COVID-19. And will it be Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison going for the Minnesota Vikings this week.
We’ll address those injury situations below while also taking a look at several receivers on the mend, including the Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Chris Godwin and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ DJ Chark Jr. We also look at the potential impacts of the losses of players such as Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short and Houston Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney.
Here’s a look at the biggest injuries for every team:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
What is Tre’Davious White’s availability? The Bills’ All-Pro cornerback couldn’t play in Week 5 against the Titans and it showed, as receiver A.J. Brown ate up yards against whoever Buffalo matched him up with. Without White, the Bills’ secondary will likely struggle against Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense; if White can’t go, Hill on Josh Norman seems like a mismatch. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Kyle Van Noy missed Wednesday’s practice with a groin injury and it looks like he’s in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game vs. the Jets. Van Noy is the Dolphins’ top linebacker, and Andrew Van Ginkel would be among the top options to replace him if he has to miss action. — Cameron Wolfe
Adam Schefter reports on Cam Newton’s expected return to practice Thursday and says that it looks like the Patriots will have Newton at the helm Sunday vs. the Broncos.
The Patriots haven’t played since Oct. 5 and have only four players with injuries on their initial report of the week, but COVID-19 concerns remain a factor. Cam Newton is expected to rejoin the team Thursday, which would put him in position to start Sunday against the Broncos. But starting CB Stephon Gilmore, starting DT Byron Cowart and practice-squad DT Bill Murray remain on the reserve/COVID-19 list. — Mike Reiss
Quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) isn’t healthy yet, so the Jets will ride with Joe Flacco for the second straight week. He should be a lot more comfortable than the last game. Flacco could be reunited with ex-Ravens teammate Breshad Perriman (ankle), who could return to the lineup after three games on the sideline. His deep speed should help the Jets stretch the field. — Rich Cimini
All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley didn’t practice Wednesday because of a shoulder injury. It was the same injury that limited him last week, but he still played. Stanley has been listed on the injury report every week this season and has missed only one game. — Jamison Hensley
It’s that time of year when A.J. Green’s injury status is up in the air. This time, it involves a hamstring injury that apparently occurred last weekend against Baltimore. In his first year playing for coach Zac Taylor, Green has struggled to find chemistry with rookie QB Joe Burrow. If Green wants a long-term deal from anyone this offseason, it’s in his best interest to put good showings on tape this season. Between that and the likelihood he’s a full participant at Thursday’s practice, it’d be a surprise if Green did not play against the Colts. — Ben Baby
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was limited Wednesday with a chest injury after taking a shot to his ribs Sunday against Indianapolis. Still, Mayfield said he is “still confident” he’ll be able to play this weekend at Pittsburgh, noting earlier in the week that his “momma didn’t raise no wuss.” — Jake Trotter
Brooke Pryor and Jake Trotter preview the 4-1 Browns’ matchup in Pittsburgh vs. the 4-0 Steelers.
The Steelers’ offensive line is in flux yet again after right guard David DeCastro suffered an abdominal injury on Sunday and couldn’t finish the game. Rookie Kevin Dotson took his place and will do the same this week if DeCastro can’t play. While coach Mike Tomlin was optimistic about the availability of Maurkice Pouncey (foot) and Diontae Johnson (back), he didn’t give an update on DeCastro’s status. Dotson is up to the task, though, as he already started in place of an injured DeCastro once this season. — Brooke Pryor
The Texans put inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney on injured reserve, and he is expected to miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Who will replace him? The Texans signed linebacker Kyle Emanuel off the Raiders’ practice squad and also hope to get continued contributions from Tyrell Adams, who had a career-high 13 total tackles, a fumble recovery and a tackle for loss in Week 5 against the Jaguars. — Sarah Barshop
Linebacker Darius Leonard’s absence due to a groin injury could extend to a second straight game. The All-Pro hasn’t practiced since injuring his groin against Chicago in Week 4. Having Leonard sit out this week’s game against Cincinnati might not be be a bad thing for Indianapolis. The Colts have a bye in Week 7, which means that would give Leonard three full weeks to let his groin heal before they play Detroit in Week 8. — Mike Wells
Wide receiver DJ Chark suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s loss at Houston, did not practice on Wednesday, and his status for this week’s game against Detroit is unclear. The offense struggled to create anything downfield when Chark missed the game against Miami on Sept. 24 because of a chest/back injury. WR Chris Conley had a bad night against the Dolphins — two drops and an offensive pass interference penalty — and he needs to be better against the Lions to make up for Chark’s absence if he can’t play. — Mike DiRocco
Left tackle Taylor Lewan came out of Tuesday’s game against the Bills just before halftime. He was listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury. Reserve tackle Ty Sambrailo filled in while Lewan was out. Lewan returned for the start of the third quarter. The Titans had Lewan on the injury report with a shoulder injury last week, so the injury is something to monitor when they get back to practice on Thursday after playing a rare Tuesday night game. — Turron Davenport
Quarterback Drew Lock has not played since he suffered a right (throwing) shoulder injury in the first quarter of the Broncos’ Week 2 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lock has practiced for much of the past three weeks on a gradually increasing basis and was throwing normally in Wednesday’s practice. Unless he has an unexpected setback in the days ahead, he should be on track to start Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. — Jeff Legwold
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is unlikely to play against the Bills after hobbling off the field with a hamstring injury in the Week 5 loss to the Raiders. That would mean increased playing time for Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. Hardman, in particular, has delivered some big plays for the Chiefs, but there’s no denying Kansas City is a better team when Watkins is on the field. Last year, they gained almost 2 yards more per carry when he was in the game and their QBR was 81 with him and 67 without. — Adam Teicher
Stephania Bell says she isn’t surprised Sammy Watkins is expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury because there’s always the risk of a setback with soft-tissue injuries.
The bye comes at the perfect time for the Raiders’ defensive line to heal up after a statement win in Kansas City. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, fresh off a career-best five QB pressures, and Maxx Crosby — who had a sack in the 1,423.9 yards he covered at the Chiefs, per The Associated Press — will benefit from defensive tackles Maliek Collins (shoulder) and Maurice Hurst (COVID-19) getting better. That is not to downplay Hurst testing positive for the virus, but if both he and Collins, who missed the Chiefs game, return rested, the pass rush will get a lift in time for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to visit Las Vegas for “Sunday Night Football” on Oct. 25. — Paul Gutierrez
Defensive end Joey Bosa played last week through ankle, triceps and knee injuries — and played pretty well. He more than anyone is looking forward to the early bye week but admitted that when it gets to Week 10 — when the Chargers’ bye was originally scheduled — they’ll be wanting it pretty bad then. He doesn’t know at what percentage he’ll be, but he said he doubts it will be 100 percent. “I don’t think I”ll ever be 100 percent again,” he said. — Shelley Smith
Last week, the Cowboys started the clock on Leighton Vander Esch’s return to game action for the first time since he suffered a broken collarbone in the season opener. He was not an official part of the injury report since he remains on injured reserve, but he went though limited work, including one padded practice. He will likely see the same work in practice this week, although the chances of him playing Monday against Arizona are better, if not yet above 50-50. If he returns, that would help a defense that is in need of reinforcements, especially facing Kyler Murray. The Cowboys will not put him on the field unless he is healed fully, but since he is practicing, you would think that time is coming sooner than later. — Todd Archer
There was a chance that this could be the week WR Sterling Shepard (turf toe) returned from injured reserve. But Shepard wasn’t on the field at Wednesday’s practice, even though coach Joe Judge said earlier in the week they would take a look at him this week. The Giants didn’t open the 21-day window on Shepard just yet. It makes it unlikely he’ll be ready this week against Washington. Next Thursday against the Eagles seems more realistic. — Jordan Raanan
Stephania Bell can’t see DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery returning in Week 6 for the Eagles.
Receivers Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) are practicing this week. Jeffery has shown noticeable progress the past two weeks and seems to have a shot to play against the Baltimore Ravens. Coach Doug Pederson could have some interesting playing-time decisions to make with Travis Fulgham performing so well. — Tim McManus
With Kyle Allen a go following arm injury Sunday, the focal point now turns to right guard Brandon Scherff. He has been on injured reserve the past three games because of a right knee injury. However, Scherff did practice Wednesday, and if he responds well the next couple of days, it’s likely he’ll play Sunday at the New York Giants. His backup, Wes Schweitzer, did a nice job in the run game, but the line is stronger with Scherff in the lineup. — John Keim
The Bears have to replace starting left guard James Daniels, who suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in the Week 5 victory over Tampa. The leading candidate is probably former undrafted free agent Alex Bars, who came off the bench to replace Daniels versus the Bucs. “Alex is a great kid, smart, tough, hard-working, and does all the extra stuff,” Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo said. The other option is Rashaad Coward. A converted defensive tackle, Coward has lined up mainly at right guard over the years. Coward lost the starting right guard job to Germain Ifedi in training camp but managed to leave a strong impression on Castillo. “Rashaad had a really good training camp,” Castillo said. “We have two capable guys.” — Jeff Dickerson
The Lions have had injury issues on their offensive line all season, and Frank Ragnow (groin) popping up as limited coming off the bye week is going to be worth watching. Ragnow has been Detroit’s best offensive lineman the past two seasons and gives the Lions a comfort in the middle of the line. If he is unable to play — and it’s not clear how serious his injury is at this point — that could cause some issues for the Lions, including picking who’d back him up between rookie Jonah Jackson and perhaps even Joe Dahl, who began to practice Wednesday as he tries to return from injured reserve. — Michael Rothstein
WR Davante Adams thought he was ready to play two weeks ago against the Atlanta Falcons; he tweeted (and then deleted) as much, saying that the team held him out. The bye week followed, and whether Adams will admit it or not, it might have been the best approach for his long-term health. He said after Wednesday’s practice that his hamstring “feels good, it feels even better than it was at that point [before the Falcons]” even to the point that he was a full participant in practice for the first time since the injury in Week 2. — Rob Demovsky
RB Dalvin Cook sat out of Wednesday’s practice with the groin injury he suffered in Seattle, and the safe bet is to expect that to continue the rest of this week with Minnesota’s Week 7 bye on the horizon. “You kind of have to let your body naturally heal,” Cook said. “I’m in Year Four; I kind of know how this thing pretty much operates. I’m going to get as much treatment as I can. I’m going to stay on my same routine — nothing’s going to change.” The Vikings are fully prepared to hand the reins of the run game over to Alexander Mattison, who drummed up a career-high in rushing against the Seahawks, and call on help from Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah also. — Courtney Cronin
Field Yates and Matthew Berry agree that Alexander Mattison will be busy in the Vikings’ Week 6 matchup against the Falcons.
Wide receiver Julio Jones obviously remains the Falcons’ biggest injury question after missing last week’s game with a nagging hamstring injury. He was described as a game-time decision last week before being ruled out, so this seems to be a week-to-week scenario. It will be a positive development if he’s able to return to practice this week after he didn’t practice last week. — Mike Triplett
Bad news for the Panthers as they attempt to win their fourth straight after an 0-2 start. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s win at Atlanta and will undergo season-ending surgery for the second straight year. Short missed the final 14 games last season with a partially torn rotator cuff. Zach Kerr, who started two games this season when Short was out with a foot injury, will get the start beside first-round pick Derrick Brown. Kerr entered the league in 2014 with Indianapolis as an undrafted rookie out of Delaware. Don’t be surprised to see the Panthers go with a three-man rotation at tackle with end Efe Obada being flexible to move inside. They also could play more three-man fronts in Sunday’s game against Chicago. — David Newton
Michael Thomas’ status will be the biggest question after the Week 6 bye. The Saints’ star receiver looked like he was ready to return from his Week 1 ankle injury this past Monday night, but instead he was ruled out for disciplinary reasons. As an added benefit, he will now have two extra weeks of rest — which should give him a chance to be closer to 100 percent when he returns. — Mike Triplett
The Bucs’ injury report this week reads like a “who’s who” with 12 players listed, eight of them starters. The good news is, WR Chris Godwin (hamstring), RB Leonard Fournette (ankle), WR Justin Watson (chest) and RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) are all on their way back, returning to practice Wednesday after missing the Bears game last week. Top cornerback Carlton Davis suffered an abdominal injury, though, and did not practice Wednesday, which would be a huge blow to a Bucs defense already coping with the loss of Vita Vea. — Jenna Laine
Losing LB Chandler Jones will have widespread repercussions throughout Arizona’s defense, especially if fellow linebacker Devon Kennard, who missed Sunday’s game with a calf injury, is either out again or limited this week against the Cowboys. Jones’ absence the rest of the season will put more pressure on those behind him on the depth chart because his presence alone diverted attention from others in the front seven.— Josh Weinfuss
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Linebacker Micah Kiser is continuing to deal with a groin injury that he suffered in Week 4 and that kept him inactive this past Sunday. Rams coach Sean McVay said Kiser would be a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice but that they anticipate he’ll be ready to play Sunday against the 49ers if there are no setbacks. If Kiser cannot play, expect Troy Reeder to start in his absence. — Lindsey Thiry
Once again, the 49ers will have to wait through the week before knowing for certain whether quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be under center. Garoppolo returned from his high right ankle sprain last week and lasted only a half before he was benched. The good news? He was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice and the expectation is that he’ll play Sunday night. But it will still be important for him to make it through the week without issue and prove he can be healthy enough to guide a Niners offense that will likely need a lot of points to keep up with the Rams. — Nick Wagoner
The Seahawks won’t have any complaints about their early bye after listing nearly half of their roster — 25 and 26 players, respectively — on their Wednesday injury reports over the past two weeks. All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin), linebacker Jordyn Brooks (knee) and running back Carlos Hyde (shoulder) all missed the past two games. As the Seahawks headed into their bye, coach Pete Carroll wasn’t ready to declare that any of their injured players would be ready for next week’s game against Arizona, but he had previously said Adams would be back by then. Seattle’s embattled defense needs him. — Brady Henderson