With only a few weeks left in the season, the injury report becomes even more significant. We take a look at the injuries that will have the biggest impact on week 13.
Vikings have serious concerns
The contest between the Minnesota Viking and the New England Patriots promises to be one of the best games of week 13.
For the first time all season the Patriots appear to have no injury concerns heading into game. That spells trouble for a Vikings team that is basically in must win mode with the NFC playoff picture still not decided.
The Vikings can’t afford any of their stars to be missing and it appears that Xavier Rhodes is a game time decision with a hamstring problem.
The best case scenario is that he starts but the reality is he won’t be 100% which means that Bill Belichik will have some kind of scheme in place test him out.
Rhodes is the Vikings best cornerback and he will likely be matched up with Josh Gordon unless the injury is worse than believed. Either way this is not an ideal scenario to say the least. Rhodes will need his front 7 to really bring pressure on Tom Brady in order for him and the rest of the defensive backs to have any chance in this game.
They will get a huge boost with the news that Stefon Diggs will be able to play through his injured knee this week.
How effective he will be is another story.
The Patriots secondary is playing much better right now than to start the season and Diggs will have his hands full all day.
The Vikings will have one eye on the Green Bay Packers playing at home against the Arizona Cardinals which we can assume will be a win. A loss today by the Vikings combined with a Packers win and things get complicated for a team that before the season had Super Bowl or bust aspirations.
One look at the remaining schedule and its clear the Packers are still alive in the playoff race with the Vikings. With 5 games left to play, the Packers only have 1 playoff team left on their schedule when they head to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears in three weeks.
Meanwhile the Vikings have this game in New England before they head to one of the toughest places to win in the NFL when they head up to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks who are also fighting for a playoff spot.
They’re last game of the season is against possibly the league’s best defense in the Chicago Bears.
Around the rest of the league
The Washington Redskins have serious injury concerns other than Alex Smith.
Of course his injury derailed their season but they do have a capable backup in Colt McCown. He isn’t as good as Smith but the reality is Smith was on the decline even before his devastating injury.
For this week they could be without three skill position players when they take on Philadelphia Eagles. Tight End Jordan Reed, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and running back Chris Thompson could all be out for this game.
Finally, the New York Jets will go with Josh McCown at QB this week as Sam Darnold is dealing with a foot issue.
With the team out of playoff contention, it doesn’t make sense for the Jets to risk their franchise QB unless he is 100% healthy.