As the NFL regular season nears its midway point, the accumulation of the weekly poundings that come with playing on Sundays are starting to show. And contenders are not immune. From the unbeaten 49ers to the AFC & NFC regular-season champs from a season ago in Kansas City and New Orleans, the Week 8 injury reports have coaches across the league facing game-time decisions or planning for a game (or more) without their starting quarterback. But the news is even worse in other places, where some key names went from injury report to injured reserve … and likely out for the season.
10. Lions RB Kerryon Johnson; Patriots WR Josh Gordon
STATUS: Out (injured reserve — Johnson, knee; Gordon, knee)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: High (Lions) and no concern (Patriots)
NEXT MAN UP: The only team in the NFC North with a losing record, Detroit can hardly afford to lose its starting running back. But Johnson was averaging 2-plus yards per carry fewer than last season, so perhaps replacement Ty Johnson can give the Lions a spark out of the backfield. In New England, it always seems like Tom Brady is the only true unreplaceable player in the locker room. So after Gordon went down two weeks ago, the Pats simply beat the Jets 33-0 without him last Monday. And a day later, the defending Super Bowl champs traded for Atlanta WR Mohamed Sanu.
9. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs
STATUS: Questionable (shoulder)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: Low
NEXT MAN UP: There may be no need for a next man up for Oakland at Houston on Sunday. After not practicing all week, Jacobs finally got in limited work Friday. And earlier this week he told reporters of his shoulder, “It would have to be broke for me not to play.” On top of that, the NFL’s leading rookie rusher broke off a 42-yard carry and finished the game with a career-high 124 rushing yards AFTER sustaining the injury while running over a safety last Sunday in Green Bay. In other words, the Raiders don’t seem too concerned about Jacobs’ availability.
8. Bengals WR A.J. Green, OL Cordy Glenn
STATUS: Out (Green, knee; Glenn, concussion)
LEVEL ON CONCERN: Losing hope
NEXT MAN UP: Being without an All-Pro receiver and starting offensive lineman seemingly puts the concern level at an automatic high. But with the Bengals one of football’s final two winless teams, the urgency to get Green and Glenn on the field is quite a bit tempered. In fact, the real impact of the injuries are that Cincinnati is running out of time to showcase Green for a potential trade, and the Bengals’ issues with Glenn go beyond health as he has yet to play this season and was reportedly healthy enough to go last week but got into a heated argument with a coach.
7. Texans WR Will Fuller, OT Tytus Howard, OG Greg Mancz
STATUS: Out (Fuller, hamstring; Howard, knee; Mancz, concussion)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: Moderate
NEXT MAN UP: With the Indianapolis Colts a game up in the loss column and Jacksonville right on their heels, the Texans can ill afford a rash of key injuries. On the bright side, Houston still won at Indy last week despite being without Howard, a promising rookie, and Mancz, a versatile backup capable of starting. But now QB Deshaun Watson must live without Fuller, one of the top No. 2 wideouts in the league. Kenny Stills did put up 105 yards on four catches against the Colts, but expect Watson to rely even more on All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins and RB Duke Johnson.
6. Packers WR Davante Adams
STATUS: Doubtful (toe)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: High, but improving
NEXT MAN UP: A seemingly permanent fixture on the injury report, Adams made tangible progress this week with as he went through warmups and light individual drills. It was his first time anywhere but on the sideline during practice since Week 4. And coach Matt LaFleur didn’t rule Adams out, though the receiver admitted to reporters he is “not quite there yet.” Without Adams last week against Oakland, all QB Aaron Rodgers did was finish with a perfect passer rating for the first time in his career. So if there is any situation where a team could get by without its Pro Bowl receiver, this seems to be it.
5. Chargers WR Keenan Allen
STATUS: Questionable (hamstring; game-time decision)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: High
NEXT MAN UP: The next man up may have been fellow WR Travis Benjamin — until Los Angeles placed him on injured reserve last week. Regardless, replacing Allen’s production would be a tall order should he not play. The Chargers rank third in the NFL in passing and Allen is certainly a big reason why. He ranks in the top 10 in receptions (44) and receiving yards (564), and has four scoring grabs. If Allen is out, look for the Chargers to lean more heavily on RBs Austin Ekeler (as a pass catcher) and Melvin Gordon (as a rusher).
4. Cardinals RB David Johnson, WR Christian Kirk
STATUS: Questionable (Johnson, ankle; Kirk, ankle; both game-time decisions)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: Moderate
NEXT MAN UP: Winners of three in a row, the Cardinals certainly have seen the next man step up in recent weeks. That was never more evident than last week, when second-year RB Chase Edmonds stepped in for a banged-up Johnson and ran for 126 yards on 27 carries with three TDs. Johnson started but had one carry for two yards. Kirk hasn’t played since Week 4 — the Cards’ last loss. Part of the Cardinals’ ability to make up for his absence comes in rookie QB Kyler Murray’s legs. Murray has double-digit carries in each game since Kirk went down. He had none before then.
3. Saints QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook
STATUS: Questionable (Brees, thumb; Kamara, knee/ankle; both game-time decisions); Out (Cook, ankle)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: High, but hopeful
NEXT MAN UP: The Saints have gotten by just fine without Brees, as Teddy Bridgewater is 5-0 as the starter. But that has not stopped the New Orleans faithful from hoping this is the week they get Brees back. And with coach Sean Payton upgrading Brees to questionable after the quarterback took part in Friday’s practice on a limited basis, that hope is higher than ever. The same can be said for Kamara, who was also upgraded after a limited practice. Backup RB Latavius Murray went for 119 yards and a pair of scores last week against the Bears, but having a full arsenal only makes the 6-1 Saints that much bigger of a Super Bowl threat.
2. Falcons QB Matt Ryan
STATUS: Questionable (ankle; game-time decision)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: High, bordering on extreme
NEXT MAN UP: With Ryan missing all of practice this week until getting limited work Friday, backup Matt Schaub got in a lot of work with the first team. And with 92 career starts, Schaub should be able to step right in should Ryan not go. But Ryan has plenty of incentive to suit up if given the option. Despite the Falcons’ 1-6 start, the 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player is tied for the league lead with 15 touchdown passes. The 34-year-old has also started in every Falcons game dating back to Dec. 20, 2009 — 154 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak among QBs.
1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
STATUS: Out (Knee)
LEVEL OF CONCERN: Off the charts
NEXT MAN UP: Expecting the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player to suit up 10 days after dislocating his kneecap always seemed more dream than reality, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Friday officially ended the dream in ruling Mahomes out. The injury comes at a bad time for Kansas City, as it hosts 6-1 Green Bay on Sunday night, with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers coming off a perfect passer rating and the Chiefs having dropped their last two home games. Matt Moore steps in for Mahomes, and certainly has experience. But he also has three fewer wins despite appearing in 27 more games than Mahomes.
NFL injury reports for Sunday and Monday games, as released by the league on Friday.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Broncos: OUT: CB Bryce Callahan (foot), S Will Parks (hand); QUESTIONABLE: LB Justin Hollins (knee), T Ja’Wuan James (knee)
Colts: OUT: DT Carl Davis (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: WR Parris Campbell (abdomen), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring), TE Jack Doyle (groin), DT Tyquan Lewis (ankle), CB Kenny Moore (knee).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans
Buccaneers: OUT: G Alex Cappa (forearm), LB Jack Cichy (elbow), TE O.J. Howard (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: T Demar Dotson (hamstring)
Titans: OUT: LB Sharif Finch (shoulder), CB Adoree’ Jackson (foot), CB Chris Milton (calf), TE Delanie Walker (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: LB Kamalei Correa (knee).
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
Cardinals: OUT: DE Zach Allen (neck), RB D.J. Foster (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: LB Dennis Gardeck (ankle), LB Jordan Hicks (calf), RB David Johnson (ankle), WR Christian Kirk (ankle), LB Haason Reddick (knee), LB Ezekiel Turner (hamstring)
Saints: OUT: TE Jared Cook (ankle), CB Patrick Robinson (hamstring), WR Tre’Quan Smith (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: S J.T. Gray (ankle), RB Alvin Kamara (ankle, knee).
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams (in London)
Bengals: OUT: CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (concussion), WR A.J. Green (ankle), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (knee), DE Carl Lawson (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: G John Miller (groin), T Andre Smith (ankle)
Rams: OUT: RB Malcolm Brown (ankle), LB Bryce Hager (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (jaw); QUESTIONABLE: CB Troy Hill (hamstring).
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jets: OUT: T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), RB Trenton Cannon (foot, ankle), LB Albert McClellan (concussion), LB C.J. Mosley (groin); DOUBTFUL: TE Christopher Herndon (hamstring), LB Neville Hewitt (neck, knee), G Kelechi Osemele (shoulder); QUESTIONABLE: DE Henry Anderson (shoulder), WR Braxton Berrios (hamstring), CB Trumaine Johnson (ankle)
Jaguars: OUT: LB Najee Goode (toe), LB Leon Jacobs (hamstring), LB Quincy Williams (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: WR Dede Westbrook (shoulder, neck).
New York Giants at Detroit Lions
Giants: OUT: CB Corey Ballentine (concussion), WR Sterling Shepard (concussion)
Lions: OUT: DT Mike Daniels (foot), CB Amani Oruwariye (knee), CB Darius Slay (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: RB Nick Bawden (foot), DT Damon Harrison (groin, not injury related).
Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears
Chargers: OUT: S Nasir Adderley (hamstring), DT Cortez Broughton (illness), DT Justin Jones (shoulder), DT Brandon Mebane (knee); QUESTIONABLE: WR Keenan Allen (hamstring), K Michael Badgley (right groin), DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring), RB Justin Jackson (calf), RB Derek Watt (knee)
Bears: QUESTIONABLE: DT Bilal Nichols (knee).
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills
Eagles: OUT: LB Nigel Bradham (ankle, illness), WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen), DT Timmy Jernigan (foot), CB Avonte Maddox (concussion, neck), T Jason Peters (knee), RB Darren Sproles (quadricep)
Bills: QUESTIONABLE: S Kurt Coleman (hamstring), CB Kevin Johnson (neck), LB Matt Milano (hamstring), LB Corey Thompson (ankle), WR Duke Williams (shoulder).
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Seahawks: OUT: S Delano Hill (elbow), DT Quinton Jefferson (oblique); QUESTIONABLE: DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle), T Duane Brown (biceps), S Quandre Diggs (hamstring), CB Tre Flowers (neck), T Germain Ifedi (knee), S Bradley McDougald (back)
Falcons: OUT: QB Matt Ryan (ankle), G James Carpenter (knee), RB Ito Smith (concussion, neck), CB Desmond Trufant (toe); QUESTIONABLE: DT Grady Jarrett (abdomen).
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
Panthers: OUT: T Greg Little (concussion), LB Christian Miller (ankle), QB Cam Newton (foot)
49ers: OUT: RB Kyle Juszczyk (knee), T Mike McGlinchey (knee), CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot); DOUBTFUL: T Joe Staley (fibula); QUESTIONABLE: WR Marquise Goodwin (not injury related), RB Raheem Mostert (knee), TE Levine Toilolo (groin).
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots
Browns: S Damarious Randall (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: T Kendall Lamm (knee), S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring)
Patriots: OUT: TE Ryan Izzo (concussion), TE Matt LaCosse (knee); QUESTIONABLE: RB Rex Burkhead (foot), S Patrick Chung (head, chest), WR Julian Edelman (chest), G Shaquille Mason (ankle), WR Gunner Olszewski (ankle, hamstring).
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
Raiders: QUESTIONABLE: T Trenton Brown (calf), RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder), WR Tyrell Williams (foot)
Texans: OUT: WR Will Fuller (hamstring), T Tytus Howard (knee), C Greg Mancz (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: S Tashaun Gipson (back, hamstring, wrist), T Roderick Johnson (neck), CB Johnathan Joseph (hamstring, neck), CB Bradley Roby (hamstring).
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Packers: DOUBTFUL: WR Davante Adams (toe), TE Robert Tonyan (hip); QUESTIONABLE: C Corey Linsley (back), S Darnell Savage (ankle)
Chiefs: OUT: DE Frank Clark (neck), T Eric Fisher (groin), CB Kendall Fuller (thumb), DT Chris Jones (groin), QB Patrick Mahomes (knee), G Andrew Wylie (ankle); QUESTIONABLE: LB Darron Lee (illness).