As week 1 dawns, the optimism of most teams depends on the health of their rosters. A few star players whose status was murky this week, including Giants backer Saquon Barkley, Chargers backer Austin Ekeler and Colts goaltender Quenton Nelson, are all set to go.
Elsewhere, the absence of injured players will temper their teams’ game plans.
Notable injuries during the 1 p.m. Eastern games:
Jets at the Carolina Panthers
Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (reserve / Covid-19) will miss Sunday’s season opener, while wide receiver Keelan Cole (knee) will be a decision to be made during the game. And the Panthers will be without receiver Shi Smith, who missed practice this week with a shoulder injury.
Los Angeles Chargers to Washington Football Team
The Washington football team placed wide receiver Curtis Samuel on the injured reserve list earlier this week, so he will miss at least three weeks to heal a groin injury.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans
The Titans will be without kicker Sam Ficken, who is on the injured reserve list due to a groin injury.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts
Veteran Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes (calf) will miss Sunday’s opener, along with wide receiver TY Hilton, who aggravated a lingering neck injury during training last month. Hilton, the Colts’ top receiver, is set to miss the start of the regular season.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is out for his first game of the season against the Jaguars. Watson, who has 22 sexual misconduct civil lawsuits filed against him, is not expected to press charges for Houston this season. (He denied the charges.) Tyrod Taylor will start in his stead. Houston will also miss kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (leg), as well as defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. (thigh).
The Jaguars will be without cornerback Tre Herndon, who suffers from a knee injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
Bills running back Zack Moss was not on the team’s injury report heading into Sunday’s game against the Steelers, but he will miss the team’s opener.
Notable injuries during the 4:25 p.m. Eastern games:
Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who tore anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season, will not play against the Chiefs. Beckham had been a game-time decision but was ruled out about an hour before kick-off after taking the field for warm-ups. Chiefs’ safety Tyrann Mathieu will also miss the game despite being activated from the team’s reserve / Covid-19 injured list on Saturday.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams, who is treating a foot injury, is would have shouldn’t be playing against the Patriots.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints will be without wide receiver Michael Thomas for the start of the season after undergoing ankle surgery in June. They will also miss wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith (hamstrings).
Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants
Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf) is absent.