Are injuries in the NFL any worse this season?

Steve Brownlee

Injuries seem to be rearing their ugly head in the NFL now that we’re a month into the season.

I kinda think they’re not any worse than usual, but in the heightened sense of well-being in this day and age — the league has come up with a number of rules in the name of safety — I do think they bother us more than ever.

Close to home, an Associated Press story on Monday outlined the Packers’ problems, with leading cornerback Jaire Alexander’s injured shoulder the latest player sidelined.

He joins outside linebacker and leading quarterback sacker Za’Darius Smith already out since Week 1 with no good prospects to return even later this season.

And there’s left tackle and 2020 Pro Bowler David Bakhtiari, who hasn’t played yet and is out at least two more games, and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was out last week and must miss two more games by being on injured reserve.

Then throw in O-lineman Elgton Jenkins out with an ankle last week, while linebacker Krys Barnes and cornerback Kevin King both suffered concussions and missed last Sunday.

The Lions, who start with probably less talent than any team in the league except possibly Houston and Jacksonville, lost their best outside linebacker for the season in Romeo Okwara with an Achilles tear.

Already on injured reserve are cornerback Jeff Okudah, left tackle Taylor Decker, rookie defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu and wide receiver Tyrell Williams.

And standout center Frank Ragnow was just added to injured reserve on Wednesday.

Looking at the rest of the league, Carolina has lost its top running-receiving threat in Christian McCaffrey, while a whole bunch of starting quarterbacks have bit the dust — the Bears’ Andy Dalton, Denver’s Teddy Bridgewater, Houston’s Tyrod Taylor, Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa, the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo (questionable status) and Washington’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And don’t forget the Ravens lost their top three running backs before the regular season even started.

Egad! Let’s play the games before anyone else gets hurt.


Today, 8:20 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks — The Rams laid an egg against Arizona, and because it didn’t seem to be because of injuries, I’ll go with the “reverse momentum” theory — those who lose work harder to get back to their winning ways. Rams, 31-27.


Sunday 9:30 a.m.

New York Jets vs. Atlanta, at London — Aaah, I see the NFL is going back to sending the dregs of the league to inspire the English to embrace this American football game. The Falcons could be disappointed after losing in the final minute to Washington on Sunday, but I think a national audience in both the U.S. and Britain should inspire them. Falcons, 34-30.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Philadelphia at Carolina — I notice that McCaffrey is only listed as questionable, a good sign after he’s been out for a couple weeks. Panthers, 23-19.


Green Bay at Cincinnati — Sure, both teams won last week, and sure, the Packers picked on the now toothless Steelers, but heck, Cincy barely snuck past Jacksonville at home last Thursday. It’s only the extra three days off for the Bengals that gives me pause. Packers, 30-24.


New England at Houston — I can’t see Bill Belichick allowing his team to have much of a letdown after playing his star pupil Tom Brady on Sunday night. Not with easy pickins’ in Houston. Patriots, 23-17.


Tennessee at Jacksonville — I’m sure the new Mr. Distraction — often known as Urban Meyer — will be on the sidelines. That can’t help, can it? Titans, 34-22.


Detroit at Minnesota — Ya’know, if they gave you six points just for tripping over your own feet, the Lions wouldn’t be able to do that anymore. But they don’t, so they will — again. Vikings, 27-23.


Denver at Pittsburgh — This should be called the Freefall Bowl, two teams dropping as far and as fast as gravity allows. Both still have stout defenses, but until the Steelers are willing to put someone at quarterback who at least looks younger than Tom Brady actually is, I have to take the Broncos, 13-9.


Miami at Tampa Bay — The pride of Florida in this one. What else could Tampa be playing for vs. another team stumbling around? Buccaneers, 26-13.


New Orleans at Washington — I’m going with a hunch on this one. I think what New Orleans, and in particular, Jameis Winston, needs is to get out of town for a week. That and playing against a “Football Team” defense not living up to its reputation. Saints, 30-21.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers — I just can’t see either this Justin (Herbert) or the Chargers’ O-line letting the Browns get to their QB nine times like Cleveland did to the Bears’ guy named Justin (Fields) two weeks ago. It might be low scoring, but I still gotta take the Chargers, 20-16.


Chicago at Las Vegas — Speaking of the guy who got sacked nine times — Justin Fields — my understanding is the Raiders’ D-line has the capability to equal what the Browns did. Good luck, Bears. Raiders, 37-20.


San Francisco at Arizona — You’re either going to ask Jimmy Garoppolo to play on wobbly legs or trot out the rawest rookie QB, Trey Lance, to get involved in a track meet with Kyler Murray. Another good luck wish, this time to the 49ers. Cardinals, 40-27.


New York Giants at Dallas — Speaking of track meets, would you ever expect a fuddy-duddy squad like the Giants to get involved in a high-octane offensive battle? Nope, me neither. So the Giants have to slow down Dallas’ offense, and slow it way down. For the third straight time, good luck Giants. Cowboys, 38-20.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Buffalo at Kansas City — After snoozing through the 4 p.m. games, you shouldn’t have any trouble staying awake for this potential barnburner.

Statistically, this is a slam-dunk for the Bills. While both teams have scored a league second-highest total of 134 points, KC has given up 125 and Buffalo just 44. But Buffalo has lost to the Steelers, while beating backup QBs Jacoby Brissett of Miami, Taylor Heinicke of Washington and Davis Mills of Houston.

Last I checked, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is slightly better than those three. It’ll be a rude awakening, but will help Buffalo down the road. Just not this Sunday. Chiefs, 36-30.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Indianapolis at Baltimore — This certainly feels like a trap game for the Ravens. But then again, shouldn’t they have learned about traps after needing an NFL-record 66-yard field goal so as not to lose in Detroit? Ravens, 34-24.


Last week — 10-6, 63 percent. Season — 41-23, 64 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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