10 Injuries That Could Cause Problems In 2014 NFL Playoffs
10 Big-Name Injuries to Keep an Eye On
With the 2013 NFL regular season officially over and the 2014 NFL playoffs ready to begin, it is time for teams to put together the ultimate game plan to reach the promise land. Of course, a giant hiccup in many plans for the 12 playoff teams is the injuries that could affect the outcome of the various contests.
All 12 playoff teams have various injuries that they must deal with. With that being said, it will be injuries to key players that could have the biggest impact. More specifically, it will be injuries to the big-name players that will gain the most attention and create the most storylines.
Injuries are an unfortunate part about football, especially this time of year. Ideally, fans want every single playoff team to be completely healthy in order to showcase which team is truly the best. However, that simply will not be the case this time around, as several teams are banged up. It will be interesting to see which teams can overcome their various injuries and still put a resilient product on the field. In my opinion, those teams that can overcome big injuries will be the ones who will be making noise in the Super Bowl.
Make sure to click through the slideshow to see 10 big-name injuries to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks. Also, make sure to comment below on any injuries that concern you personally or any injuries to key players that you believe could be a factor during the playoffs.
Everyone is very familiar with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ fractured collarbone. Even though the superstar was not 100 percent, the Green Bay Packers elected to play him against the Chicago Bears in the NFC North title game, which clearly was a good idea. Rodgers had to knock some rust off before he could lead the Packers to victory. He may have looked good in the fourth quarter, but his injury is most definitely going to be worth keeping an eye on.
Wide receiver Steve Smith didn’t practice all week or suit up in the season finale for the Carolina Panthers. He’s expected to return for the playoffs in two weeks, but his knee will have a say in how much he will be able to accomplish on the field.
Wes Welker has been held out the last three contests because of a concussion. The good news is he should be ready for the playoffs in two weeks. I’m not too worried about the wide receiver, but a wrong hit could put a damper on his productivity.
Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews is questionable for the playoffs after he underwent a second surgery on his thumb. This could be a huge loss for the Packers who have struggled at times to get to the quarterback without their elite pass rusher on the field.
Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart hasn’t played since he injured his knee on Dec. 8. Carolina is hopeful that Stewart will be able to return for the playoffs. However, there’s no indication quite yet if that will be a possibility. Regardless, Stewart is someone fans will want to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks.
The health status of Eddie Lacy will go a long ways to deciding if the Packers will be able to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round. Lacy has been playing on a badly sprained ankle the past few weeks. He has been limited at times in games while his production has fallen off a bit. The Packers do have James Starks playing at a high level, but they clearly need Lacy in order to win.
49ers running back Frank Gore was limited in practice all last week due to a knee injury. He was only able to rush for 13 yards on 14 carries in Week 17, which is certainly a bit of a concern heading into the playoffs.
Defensive back Vontae Davis is the top cover corner for the Indianapolis Colts. His exit Sunday with a reoccurring groin injury could create all sorts of problems for the Colts’ secondary. As of right now, there’s no indication how much the injury will affect his ability to play.
Tom Brady can’t afford to lose any weapons entering the playoffs. Unfortunately, wide receiver Aaron Dobson could be a player Brady must play without. Dobson left Sunday’s contest with a foot injury and his playoff status could be in doubt.
Carlos Rogers is another player 49ers fans will want to keep an eye on the next few days. The talented cornerback pulled up with a hamstring injury in the season finale on Sunday. He will undergo an MRI on Monday to find out the severity of the injury. With Rodgers and the deadly passing attack, San Francisco can’t afford to miss Rogers.