By Matthew Asher
The best part about playing a Thursday night game is the 10 days off the team has until their next game. Just like the previous weeks this season for Atlanta, the Falcons are very light on injuries, this week only listing five players. The only real worry is that three of the five players take a decent number of snaps per game so if they can’t play, expect a heavy dose of backups.READ MORE: Officials Prepare For 2021 SEC Championship At Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta
The wide receiver position is where the majority of Atlanta’s injured players are listed this week. Harry Douglas (foot), Devin Hester (ankle) and Roddy White (hamstring) fill out the wide receiver position while running back Antone Smith (hamstring) completes the offensive side of injuries.
Hester and Smith were fully participated in every practice this week. Douglas practiced both Wednesday and Thursday without issue but was limited on Friday’s practice. White was the exact opposite of Douglas as he was limited Wednesday and Thursday but back to full participation on Friday.
These four men are responsible for 32 receptions, totaling 434 receiving yards and three touchdowns – if you include the rushing yards by both Smith and Hester add another 77 yards and one touchdown to the mix. The good news is that Matt Ryan has done an excellent job of spreading around his passes so missing one or two players might not be as big a deal as initially thought. The better news is that with the exception of Douglas, all the Falcons are listed as Probable. Douglas is the only one listed as Questionable.
Linebacker Prince Shembo (calf) is the lone defensive player listed this week. The former Fighting Irish rookie is currently listed as Joplo Bartu’s backup, so if Shembo can’t play, it shouldn’t be a huge issue as he’s been used sparingly this season. Shembo was limited in practice on Wednesday but was able to fully participate both Thursday and Friday and is also listed as probable.READ MORE: NFL Week 13 AFC East Preview: CBS Boston's Levan Reid Calls AFC East Title Fight A Battle Of 'Big Brother Vs Little Brother'
As for the Vikings, they have nine players listed this week and that’s not taking Adrian Peterson’s suspension into the equation. Tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin) and linebacker Chad Greenway (hand/rib) are both listed as out for this game as they didn’t practice at all this week. Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) is the lone Minnesota player listed as questionable. He didn’t practice on Wednesday, but was able to practice in a limited amount both Thursday and Friday.
The rest of the Vikings are all listed as probable with four on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackles Linval Joseph (shoulder) and Sharrif Floyd (shoulder), safety Harrison Smith (knee) and linebackers Brandon Watts (knee) and Michael Mauti (foot) round out the defensive players. Wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) is the lone offensive player who is listed as probable. All five men practiced in varying degrees this week except for Friday in which they all fully participated.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 pm ET. #RiseUp
- 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
For more Falcons news and updates, visit Falcons Central.MORE NEWS: SportsLine Week 13 AFC West Picks: 'Denver Designed Well To Stop What Kansas City Does,' Says Larry Hartstein
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.