Week 6 NFL Injury Report: Will Calvin Johnson Play?

On October 10, 2013, in NFL, by Stephen

There is no argument. Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in the NFL. He proved that without even playing this past Sunday.

When word came out Sunday morning that Johnson was going to miss the Green Bay game because of a sprained knee, the Packers went from 7-point favorites up to as high as 10.

I saw Jay Kornegay, Sportsbook Director at LVH, shortly before the Lions-Packers kicked off and asked him if he thought that steam was justified since Johnson doesn’t play quarterback. Jay said it was. No other wide receiver would be close to a 3-point move.

Sure enough, the Lions could muster only a touchdown minus Johnson. Matthew Stafford looked lost without him and Nate Burleson, his injured No. 2 wideout. Reggie Bush couldn’t do anything either faced with a strong safety keying on him rather than having to go double-team Johnson.

We’re into Friday now and Johnson has yet to practice. That doesn’t rule him out. Johnson hadn’t been practicing the last few weeks and yet he still always played. That’s why it was so surprising when he actually didn’t play.

The Lions are a short road favorite against the Browns Sunday. It’s Detroit’s fourth road game in five weeks. The Lions have failed to cover in five of their last six road games. If Brian Hoyer were the quarterback instead of Brandon Weeden, the Browns very well could have opened the favorite. If Johnson has to miss a second straight game, the Browns could close as the favorite.

Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski believes Johnson will play. “We’re expecting him and planning on him being there and we’ll do everything we can to try to contend with him,” Chudzinski said on Thursday during a conference call with the Detroit media.

Johnson heads this week’s Will He or Won’t He Play list where Rob Gronkowski has found a home and Darren McFadden is starting to get comfortable.

My guess is, yes, this finally is the week Gronkowski plays. McFadden was seen at practice, but isn’t likely to face the Chiefs with the Raiders on a bye the following week.

It took five weeks, but Michael Vick finally proved his skeptics right by getting hurt. Actually, Vick is very tough. But the Eagles are likely to go with decent backup Nick Foles against Tampa Bay. They want Vick’s hamstring to be fully healed since running obviously is a huge part of Vick’s game.

There are three defensive injuries to monitor – Buffalo cornerback Stephon Gilmore (wrist), Denver cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (high ankle sprain).

Gilmore and Bailey haven’t played all year. Bailey is a potential Hall of Famer who is on the downside of a long career while Gilmore is an emerging player with shutdown type potential. This would be a great time to get Gilmore back from a Buffalo standpoint facing A.J. Green.

Gilmore was limited in practice, but has a better than 50 percent chance of playing. Bailey went through a full practice and is set to make his debut. The Broncos don’t need him against Jacksonville, although those laying the points do since the back door could be open for the Jaguars. Bailey probably will play, but not a full game.

If Wagner doesn’t play, which I think is the likely scenario, the Seahawks would switch around their linebackers moving K.J. Wright to the middle from the weakside, switching Malcolm Smith to weakside and putting Bruce Irvin on the strongside, which could reduce his considerable pass rushing skills.

These adjustments are not something you want to see laying 13 1/2 points to a ground-oriented Tennessee squad.


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