The New Orleans Saints got both good and bad news on the injury front Friday as they prepare to host the 12-1 Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) on Sunday. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees is set to return to the lineup after missing four games with broken ribs and a lung injury.
The Saints were 3-1 without Brees, but Taysom Hill struggled to get the wide receivers involved in the passing game.
The bad news comes with one of those wide receivers as Michael Thomas has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Thomas didn’t practice all week and has battled injuries all season, playing in just seven games. He has just two games of at least 100 yards on the season and no touchdowns.
Without Thomas, the Saints will rely on Emmanuel Sanders and Tre’Quan Smith, with Brees likely also involving tight ends Jared Cook and Hill along with running back Alvin Kamara.
While Brees returns to quarterback the Saints, it appears the Washington Football Team, Detroit Lions and New York Giants will not be so lucky to get their starters under center.
Alex Smith has already been ruled out for Washington (+5.5) as it hosts Seattle in a pivotal game in the race for the NFC East title. Smith left last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers with an injury, and former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins helped Washington hold onto its lead. Haskins was removed as the starter in Week 4.
The Detroit Lions (+11) play the Tennessee Titans and will likely do so without quarterback Matthew Stafford. The veteran has not missed a start this season but left last Sunday’s game against Green Bay with rib and thumb injuries. He has not had a full day of practice yet this week.
If Stafford cannot play, veteran backup Chase Daniel will start against the Titans. The Lions will also be without star wideout Kenny Golladay (hip) for a seventh straight game.
The New York Giants (+6.5) host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday Night Football but don’t expect to have quarterback Daniel Jones available. Jones missed the Giants game two weeks ago before returning in the Week 14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
He has been severely limited in practice all week with ankle and hamstring injuries. Colt McCoy will start in his place if Jones cannot play.
Running Back Injuries
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones had finger surgery on Monday and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. The Buccaneers could feature Leonard Fournette against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta will again be without star wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring).
The Denver Broncos (+6) play the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills on Saturday and have both Melvin Gordon III and Phillip Lindsay listed as questionable. Gordon has a shoulder injury, while Lindsay is battling a hip injury.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was hopeful of returning this week against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. But he didn’t practice on Thursday and is expected to miss another game with a thigh injury.
McCaffrey has played just three games this season with 225 rushing yards, 149 receiving yards and six total touchdowns.