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Injuries are a part of the NFL, and the teams that last the longest in a given season are not only the most talented but also tend to be the luckiest when it comes to staying healthy. Some teams have already been ravaged, like the 49ers, Cowboys and Eagles.
And that's excluding the countless individual players and position groups that were forced to isolate due to positive COVID-19 tests. This has caused a ripple effect of availability and panic among fantasy football owners trying to establish order in a season ripe with chaos.
Fantasy aside, NFL teams deal with significant injuries on a weekly (and daily) basis, and perhaps never more than 2020 has the "next man up" mentality been so prevalent. There are plenty of household names on the injury report heading into Week 8 action, but we're going to take a look at a few whose absences shouldn't have an impact on the eventual outcome of their games.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Yes, Aaron Jones' seven total touchdowns trail only Todd Gurley's eight after the latter found paydirt Thursday night to kick off the week. And yes, Jones has emerged into a top back in the NFL as he enters free agency.
But with the Packers sitting at 5-1 and in control of the NFC North, they can afford to let Jones' calf fully heal and turn bell cow duties over to Jamaal Williams. Williams posted more than 100 total yards and a score a week ago in the team's win over Houston.
With Aaron Rodgers playing at an MVP level, the Packers should have no problem with the Vikings at home, even without the other Aaron on the field.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Like Jones, Miles Sanders will miss his second straight game due to a knee injury he suffered on a long run against the Ravens a couple of weeks ago. The Eagles running back was also held out of the season opener with a nagging hamstring injury, but that was supposed to be more precautionary.
Similar logic applies Sunday as it did then, even though the Eagles blew a 17-0 lead to Washington in Week 1 and ended up losing. Philadelphia was able to sneak by the Giants last Thursday without Sanders, and it should handle Dallas with the division lead on the line Sunday night.
The Cowboys are down to third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci, with Andy Dalton still dealing with a concussion from last Sunday's game in Washington.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
This season has been a major disappointment for the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Michael Thomas. The wideout hasn't played since Week 1, missing the majority of the season with ankle and hamstring injuries, and he was also forced to miss a game due to disciplinary reasons.
The Saints will also be without Emmanuel Sanders, who will miss his second straight game after testing positive for the coronavirus. That means New Orleans will again rely primarily on Alvin Kamara, but that's nothing new.
The Saints are 4-2 and are in the Windy City for a compelling collision with Chicago. The Bears will also be without their top wideout, Allen Robinson, limiting their already limited offense even more, with Tarik Cohen also lost for the season.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Julian Edelman appears on this list for a different reason than those above him. Sadly, it might not matter if the Patriots wide receiver suited up against the Bills this Sunday, as New England is mired in its first three-game losing streak in 18 years and is staring down the barrel of a fourth straight loss.
Edelman underwent a precautionary standard knee procedure Thursday morning and will miss some period of time. But aside from a Week 2 anomaly against the Seahawks, Edelman has been hampered by the knee, producing pedestrian numbers while trying to establish a rapport with Cam Newton. Newton has struggled and is in danger of losing his starting job.
Other injuries worth monitoring for impact: Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, and Tyler Higbee.