The team will turn to backup QB Chad Hutchinson to start this week's game against the Vikings. Look for them to run as much as possible to take the pressure off of Hutchinson.
Tait suffered an MCL sprain during last week's game and is week-to-week. With Tait now out, the team has two of their starting offensive line (G Reuben Brown is out for the season) missing for Sunday's game. There is a big drop-off from Tait to his likely replacement Aaron Gibson.
Urlacher was expected to miss several weeks after having surgery over two weeks ago. However, he's listed as questionable and the team optimistic that he'll be able to play on Sunday.
Injury: CB Lenny Walls (shoulder), DE Trevor Pryce (back)
Analysis: Walls, the team's nickelback, was placed on season-ending injured reserve. His loss will be felt because his replacement, CB Willie Middlebrooks, isn't close to as talented as Walls. Middlebrooks has shown improvement this year over previous seasons but he could be a liability in his increased role.
Pryce is making slow progress since being sidelined due to back surgery in September. Veteran DE Marco Coleman has done yeoman's work in his absence but Coleman is best used in a rotational basis coming off of the bench at this point in his career. The team really has missed Pryce's pass rush ability and they don't have any other options.
Injury: QB Jeff Garcia (shoulder), QB Kelly Holcomb (ribs), RB Lee Suggs (toe), WR Andre' Davis (toe), MLB Andra Davis (knee)
Analysis: Garcia is suffering from a rotator cuff strain and the injured right shoulder has been making some progress of late. However, unless he can practice this week, he likely will give way to rookie signal caller Luke McCown because no.2 QB Kelly Holcomb has very sore ribs.
Meanwhile, Suggs is having issues pushing off when trying to run on his injured toe. He's making some progress but will have to practice this week in order to play against the Patriots on Sunday.
Davis, the receiver, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Davis was suffering from turf toe on both feet and was limited for several weeks. Absence will be felt because they lack a true no.1 receiver with him out of the lineup. WR Antonio Bryant looked good against Cincinnati last week but he'll have to show more consistency the rest of the way.
Davis, the linebacker, suffered a torn MCL last week and was also placed on injured reserve this week. Davis was one of the main reasons why their run defense showed some much improvement this season and his absence will certainly be felt in that area. Veteran LB Barry Gardner is expected to replace him. Gardner started his career with Philadelphia as a starter inside but is too slow to the ball and is best used as a backup, not a starter.
Injury: RB Emmitt Smith (ankle, toe)
Analysis: Smith suffered a sprained toe during last week's game. Originally, it was thought that he would be lost for 2-3 weeks but there is some optimism that he won't miss that much time. In fact, the team has listed him as questionable. However, they are practicing with the belief that Smith won't be available on Sunday at Detroit and are preparing rookie RB Larry Croom to start for him.
Croom was signed as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV. He had a pretty solid training camp and won a roster spot. He has hardly been used but those close to the situation say he's the most talented of any back on their roster.
Injury: CB Sammy Davis (leg)
Analysis: The second-year pro suffered a hairline fracture during last week's game and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Davis showed improvement in his play after losing his starting job earlier this season then won the job back from fellow second-year CB Drayton Florence who will replace him while he's hurt.
Injury: RB Priest Holmes (knee), QB Trent Green, S Greg Wesley (hamstring), S Jerome Woods (knee)
Analysis: Holmes suffered a grade-2 MCL sprain during the team's November 7 game at Tampa Bay and has not played since. He'll miss this week's game, which will be his fourth in a row, and there is no indication when exactly he'll return. While they're optimistic he'll return before the season ends, they won't rush him back.
They'll try to get a good look at second-year RB Larry Johnson who will see carries along with RB Derrick Blaylock who has been starting in Holmes' absence.
Wesley suffered a hamstring injury during last week's game and is not expected to play against Oakland. The team will likely turn to seventh-round pick S Willie Pile to start for Wesley.
Woods didn't play last week against San Diego and his absence was felt against the pass. Backup S Shaunard Harts will likely start again for Woods.
Injury: RB Sammy Morris (ribs), MLB Zach Thomas (hamstring)
Analysis: Morris is listed as doubtful and didn't play last week at San Francisco. Veteran RB Travis Minor started for him but was largely ineffective. It's possible that second-year RB Brock Forsey sees some carries in back of Minor if he gets off to another slow start. Forsey, in limited playing time for Chicago last season, performed quite well and is more powerful than Minor who is best used as a change of pace coming off of the bench.
Injury: RB Chad Pennington (shoulder)
Analysis: He suffered a strained rotator cuff during their game on November 7 and has not played since. Pennington returned to practice this week and if he can practice without any setbacks through Friday's practice, then look for him to play on Sunday against Houston.
Injury: RB Ahman Green (ribs)
Analysis: Green suffered strained rib cartilage during two weeks ago and didn't play against St. Louis this past Monday night. That type of injury is more of a pain tolerance than anything else and if he can practice this week, look for him to play on Sunday at Philadelphia.
Injuries: CB Ty Law (foot), CB Tyrone Poole (knee)
Law suffered a broken foot during their game on October 31 and hasn't played since. While he's optimistic that he'll be able to return before the end of the season, there is no timetable for his return.
Poole has only played in four games this season due to an injured knee. The team is optimistic that he'll be able to return in a few weeks but they will continue to turn to journeyman CB Earthwind Mooreland and starting S Eugene Wilson in place of Poole and Law. Amazingly, the team has hardly missed a beat and their opponents haven't been able to solve the various defensive looks that the Patriots have shown.
Injury: RB Tyrone Wheatley (hamstring)
Analysis: Wheatley could miss at least two games after getting hurt during last Sunday night's game at Denver. The team will likely give second-year RB Justin Fargas a long look now that he has been able to put a nagging toe injury behind him.
Injuries: RB Jamal Lewis (ankle), TE Todd Heap (ankle), OT Orlando Brown (knee)
Analysis: Lewis missed last week's game due to a sprained ankle and is listed as doubtful for this week's game against Cincinnati. Third-year RB Chester Taylor, who is on the last year of his contract, looks to start again for him.
Heap hasn't played since week two against Pittsburgh after suffering a badly sprained ankle. He has made significant progress in recent weeks and if he can practice fully this week, he'll likely play on Sunday against Cincinnati.
Brown has been limited by a sore knee for several weeks and was inactive for last week's game. The coaches have decided to go with journeyman OT Ethan Brooks until Brown is ready to play.
Injury: RB Duce Staley (hamstring), WR Plaxico Burress (hamstring), CB Chad Scott (knee)
Analysis: Staley has missed the last four games due to a hamstring injury suffered during practice on Friday November 5. Staley returned to full practice last week but was inactive on Sunday due to the condition of the field. With the game being played in a warmer climate, he should be able to play on Sunday night at Jacksonville. However, they won't give him a lot of carries since he has missed so much playing time. Look for them to split the carries between Staley and veteran RB Jerome Bettis in the game.
Injury: QB Steve McNair (sternum), RB Chris Brown (toe), DT Albert Haynesworth (elbow)
Analysis: McNair continues to have issues with a bruised sternum which was originally injured in their game at Minnesota on October 24. The injury won't likely heal fully until after the season is over because he continues to have it banged during game situations.
Brown has been limited by a turf toe injury since he suffered the injury also during the game at Minnesota. He hasn't played in their last two games and is listed as questionable for this week's game at Indianapolis. The problem is that he has only been able to run and hasn't been able to practice fully for weeks. The good news is veteran RB Antowain Smith has performed well in Brown's absence but they miss Brown's explosiveness.
Haynesworth suffered an elbow injury three weeks ago against Chicago and hasn't played since. His absence has been felt against the run but they got a good performance from rookie DT Randy Starks last week at Houston.
Injury Analysis For Week 13
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