By Matthew Asher
Typically when a team has a bye week, that’s the chance for the injured players to heal up with a much better chance of returning the following week. Even with the additional week of recovery, it appears as though the Raiders will not have the good luck of having those banged-up players return.
While Atlanta has yet to have their bye week, they still have fewer players listed both on the injury report and those listed as out for this week’s game. Atlanta has just two players listed as out of the eleven on the injury report. Out of Oakland’s twelve players on the report, three are definitely out for the game.
The two Falcons out for Sunday’s game are running back Antone Smith (hamstring) and tight end Michael Palmer (shoulder). Antone re-injured his hamstring last week against Washington on the team’s first punt coverage play and Palmer has been declared as out since the week began.
Seven of the other nine Falcons are fortunately listed as probable. They are wide receivers Kevin Cone (knee) and Drew Davis (knee), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh), center Todd McClure (pectoral), safety William Moore (hip), guard Garrett Reynolds (back) and cornerback Dunta Robinson (shoulder). While all seven were limited in practice on Wednesday, by Friday all seven were able to fully participate in practice.
The final two Falcons are both listed as questionable. They are defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (groin) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (ankle). Both men were limited in practice throughout the week with Nicholas not even being able to participate on Wednesday.
The three Raiders listed as out for the game are tackle Khalif Barnes (groin), tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot). All three men did not participate in practice this week.
Eight of the nine other Raiders are listed as probable for the game. Running backs Taiwan Jones (shoulder) and Darren McFadden (shoulder), center Alex Parsons (shoulder), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) were all able to fully participate in practice.
The other two raiders listed as probable were both limited in practice throughout the week. They are defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (groin). Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (foot) is the only Raider listed as questionable. He was limited in practice during the week.
While two of the Raider’s potential offensive weapons (McFadden and Heyward-Bey) are on the injury report, Falcons coach Mike Smith knows they can still be dangerous even if they are banged-up.
Regarding McFadden, Smith knows what a unique player Atlanta must contend with. “When I say it’s very unique, he’s got the speed to go the distance. He can lower the shoulder and run,” Smith said. “I think he has very good vision. He’s a guy that can stop and start and put his foot in the ground and go. He creates some issues. He had some explosive runs in the first four ball games. They should be fresh coming off the bye week.”
Just like McFadden, Heyward-Bey has the same type of explosiveness and should still be considered dangerous. “He can flat run. He’s probably one of the faster guys in the NFL. Track speed at the combine,” Smith said. “I know he’s missed some time this year with some injuries, but you’ve got to make sure he doesn’t get behind you and Carson can get the ball down the field.”
If Atlanta wins this game, not only will they be 6-0, but they will have swept the AFC West division this season. Kickoff is at 1pm at the Georgia Dome.
- Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
- Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
- Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
- Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.