While they’re not playing on Thursday, Atlanta and Detroit’s Saturday game can still be considered a short week. Even with the same number of practices, without the Saturday before the game to treat any lingering injuries, both teams would be wise to go a little easy regarding practice reps.
A few weeks ago Coach Smith said he wasn’t going to bench his starters the final few weeks of the regular season, he is making sure that the backups get lots of reps this late in the season. “This time of year as you get closer to the end of the season that seems to happen more and more,” Smith said. “They’re a different team than where they were in week one just like we were.”
Both the Falcons and the Lions have seven players listed on their respective injury reports. It’s interesting that Atlanta has six questionables and one probable while Detroit has six probables and just one questionable.
Backup wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) is the only Falcon listed as probable for the game. He was limited in practice on Wednesday but was able to fully participate on both Thursday and Friday.
The remaining six Falcons are all listed as questionable. Defensive end backup Cliff Matthews (hamstring) and starting strong safety William Moore (hamstring) were the only two Falcons on the report to not participate in any of this week’s practices.
Starting wide receiver Roddy White (knee) was the only other Falcon listed to not participate in Monday’s practice. He was limited in practice the other two days.
Starting offensive tackle Tyson Clabo (thigh), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (ribs) and backup corner Chris Owens (hamstring) were all limited in all three days of practice.
Safety Louis Delmas (knee) is the only Lion listed as questionable. He was limited in practice throughout the week. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) is listed as probable, but he didn’t participate in practice this week.
Of the five remaining Lions, two of them were able to fully participate in practices: cornerbacks Don Carey (knee) and Chris Houston (hamstring). Running back Mikel Leshoure (calf), linebacker DeAndrey Levy (ankle) and All-Pro wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson were limited in practice throughout the week.
Of course, the big story with Johnson is the possibility of him breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season reception yards record. Calvin needs fewer than 190 receiving yards in the final two games to break Rice’s record. Johnson has averaged nearly 120 receiving yards through the first fourteen games. At his current pace, Johnson would break the record in Week 17 when he makes his fourth catch of the game.
- 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.