Steven Jackson is out. That’s about all we know for sure at mid-week.

The status of Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rob Gronkowski and Andre Johnson is unclear.

Johnson probably has the best chance of playing after suffering only a mild concussion last week. Johnson remains in the argument for No. 2 best wide receiver behind Calvin Johnson. He has been targeted a league-high 29 times and ranks first in receptions with 20.

If Andre Johnson suits up and rookie DeAndre Hopkins plays like he did last week when he averaged 16.7 yards per catch on seven receptions against Tennessee, the Texans may have to stop running the ball 100 times a game.

Jones-Drew has a good chance to play, too. He’s dealing with a tendon sprain in his ankle. Jones-Drew is on the comeback trail and so far hasn’t looked good averaging less than 2.5 yards per carry. He may not be much of a factor either going against Seattle on the road.

Blaine Gabbert picked a good time to suffer a lacerated hand. So instead of a bust the Jaguars will go with a journeyman at quarterback. Chad Henne gets thrown in the lions den otherwise known as Seattle against perhaps the most dominating defense in the NFL.

I expect Fitzgerald to play, too, even though he probably won’t practice all week due to a balky hamstring. Fitzgerald at 75 percent still is a fantasy monster on carpet against the Saints defense.

Rice, Bush and Gronkowski are all trickier calls probably coming down to true game-time decisions. Of the three, I would say Bush is the least likely to play. He’s already extremely banged-up after just two games with the worst injury being to his left knee.

The Lions would be wise to rest Bush in this matchup with NFC NorthDivision games the next two weeks against Chicago and Green Bay. (This could be the first time the word wise and the team known as the Lions have ever been used in the same sentence.)

Rice probably won’t practice all week after suffering a hip flexor injury this past Sunday. That doesn’t preclude him from playing, but John Harbaugh may hold him out knowing he has an excellent backup tailback, Bernard Pierce. Ben Tate and injured Shane Vereen may be the only second-string running backs better than Pierce.

Gronkowski certainly is looking like a game-time decision. He probably would be a game-time decision even if he were 100 percent knowing the A-hole games Bill Belichick likes to play with injury report lists. I’ve seen reports of anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent that Gronk plays. It certainly would ease Tom Brady’s frustration level if Gronkowski does play.

There is one key offensive lineman to monitor. Houston’s Duane Brown is one of the three best left tackles in the NFL. He sat out practice on Wednesday wearing a walking boot due to bad case of turf toe.

If Brown can’t go – and I don’t think he will – the Texans will use Ryan Harris, a mammoth drop down. Harris could be in a lot of trouble playing on the road against one of the premier pass rushers in Terrell Suggs. Take this scenario into strong consideration if deciding
whether to back the road Texans.


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