It’s been awhile since the Oakland Raiders were this healthy entering game day.
They have eight players listed on the injury report, although one of them is only on there because he was sick on Wednesday. There are five players listed as probable, all of whom practiced all this week in some capacity. Oakland has two listed as questionable, which is where there is concern for the Raiders.
The first person listed as questionable is Richard Seymour, who has been on the injury report nearly every week of the season. Seymour was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday and sat out Friday, presumably as a precaution. All signs point to Seymour playing Sunday with his knee and hamstring injuries, but you have to question how effective he will be in the middle of the defensive line.
Seymour is not getting younger and his injuries have hampered his performance on the field. He is a leader on this team and he is important in the locker room, but he may not be as helpful on the field. Oakland may be better off starting Desmond Bryant at defensive tackle on Sunday, so they have a healthy lineman to help slow down Jamaal Charles.
However, by far the most crucial player on the injury report is Tyvon Branch, who is listed as questionable with neck and ankle issues. He has not practiced this week and it looks doubtful that the Raiders’ most consistent player on defense will play on Sunday. Neck injuries are especially tricky and they are one of the easiest to aggravate when playing football.
Branch is the team’s second-leading tackler with 88 stops this season. He has three games with 10 tackles or more and he has had at least five tackles in 10 of the 12 games he’s played in this season. This year is almost already a lost cause, so Oakland may be better advised to just sit Branch this weekend and let him get fully healthy for the Raiders’ playoff run next season.