NFL Week 5 Underrated Injuries

On October 9, 2015, in NFL, by Stephen

The Lions certainly could use some good news being the NFL’s only winless team. That good news comes this week when outside linebacker DeAndre Levy is expected to make his season debut after being sidelined nearly seven weeks with a strained hip muscle.

Levy not only is Detroit’s best defensive player, but he’s a team leader and captain. He’s one of those rare defensive players who should be worth something on the line.

Levy led the Lions with 151 tackles last season. He’s not just a tackles machine, though. He’s extremely versatile being able to rush the passer and also drop back into coverage. He intercepted six passes last season, tied for second-most in the league.

Detroit is a short home ‘dog to the Cardinals, who rank No. 2 in the NFL in points averaging 37 per game.

This being Detroit, though, so not all the news is good. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata injured his calf this past Monday against Seattle and hasn’t practiced all week. He’s unlikely to play. Detroit also is without defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, who suffered a broken leg versus the Seahawks. Remember, the Lions lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency so they are now thin in stopping the run.

Savvy Cardinals coach Bruce Arians may choose to exploit this by running more than usual with a rejuvenated Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, who should be a go this week. More running plays and a slower rhythm, coupled with Levy’s return to the lineup and an out of sync Lions offense, may set up a serious look to the under.

The biggest under-the-radar injury on defense goes to Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver. He suffered a knee injury this past week against the Eagles and won’t play Sunday.

Why does this factor so much? Culliver isn’t a star, but he’s probably Washington’s best cornerback. The Redskins already are without their other starting cornerback, DeAngelo Hall. Washington happens to be playing the Falcons who happen to have Julio Jones.

Jones leads the league with 38 catches for 478 yards and four touchdowns. The best matchup the Redskins can get on Jones is nickel back Bashaud Breeland. This is a mismatch of epic proportions that Matt Ryan surely will look to exploit.

Opponents may not have to worry so much about Roddy White anymore, but Leonard Hankerson has stepped up to become a consistent threat alongside Jones. There is no way out for the Redskins secondary.

On the offensive line front, a pair of key performers are set to return this week – Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe and Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Joe Flacco is missing three of his key receiving targets, including a still effective Steve Smith Sr., but won’t have to worry much about his blindside with Monroe back. Monroe could be the Ravens’ best offensive player.

Bulaga’s return is surprising. He suffered a knee injury in Week 2 and wasn’t expected back until Week 8 when the Packers returned from their Week 7 bye. Bulaga may only be Green Bay’s fourth-best offensive lineman, but he’s a huge upgrade on Don Barclay.

The timing is great for the Packers to get Bulaga back since they’re playing the Rams, who have the best pass rushing front in football.


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