NFL Top 5: Key Week 6 injuries
The New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions could all be down star players as they take to the field for Week 6. With statuses still in doubt, bettors will want to keep an eye on all three teams - as well as several others that face major injury issues.
Here's a look at the five biggest injury impacts entering the bulk of Week 6:
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (questionable, back/forearm)
The ongoing Gronkowski saga took another bizarre turn this week. It was widely reported that the versatile tight end was expected to return to action this week, but his status remains in limbo as doctors have yet to clear him for a return to action. Gronkowski's problematic forearm injury hasn't healed to their satisfaction, leaving Tom Brady's top receiving target as a lessor factor even if he is somehow cleared prior to Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots are installed as one-point favorites for Sunday's tilt with the visiting New Orleans Saints. The over/under is set at 50.5.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (questionable, hamstring)
Vick returned to practice as a full participant Friday, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Vick is still doubtful to take the field as he nurses a strained hamstring. There's still a chance Vick may remain active as the emergency backup to Nick Foles. Regardless, bettors should proceed as if Foles will play the entire game as the Eagles look to rest Vick in preparation for a Week 7 showdown with Dallas.
The Eagles are listed as one-point underdogs Sunday against Tampa Bay, with the over/under at 45.5.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions (questionable, knee)
There is hope for Lions fans this week, with beat writer Tim Twentyman reporting that last year's league leader in receiving yards will be in the lineup Sunday. Johnson missed last week's game with a knee injury but participated in the open portion of Friday's practice. Head coach Jim Schwartz remains noncommittal, suggesting that Johnson will be a game-time decision.
The Lions are one-point favorites for Sunday afternoon's showdown with the host Cleveland Browns. The over/under is set at 44.
Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders (questionable, hamstring)
McFadden's status remains shrouded in mystery; the veterain running back practiced every day this week, but San Fransico Chronicle reporter Vic Tafur writes that he doesn't get the sense McFadden is ready to return to game action. The injury-prone 26-year-old told reporters he felt "pretty close" to full speed. McFadden's absence would mean a large workload for Rashad Jennings, who is returning from his own hamstring injury but is expected to play.
The Raiders go into Sunday's game against the host Kansas City Chiefs as 9.5-point underdogs. The over/under is 41.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (probable, concussion)
Mathews was knocked silly in last weekend's game against the Oakland Raiders but has progressed nicely throughout the week and was a full participant in Saturday's practice. He passed the final hurdle Saturday when he cleared his concussion protocol. Mathews will be installed as San Diego's feature back, though he's a distant third on the pecking order on passing downs to the red-hot Danny Woodhead and veteran Ronnie Brown.
The Chargers find themselves a one-point favorite for the Monday nighter against visiting Indianapolis. The over/under is set at 50.