The Ravens and Falcons are among many teams that are facing must win games, but these two teams are also facing key injuries that may kill their chances of making the playoffs.
Ravens and Falcons Playoff Scenarios
The Baltimore Ravens are facing two scenarios on Sunday to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Ravens clinch a spot in the playoffs:
- with a win, plus a San Diego Chargers loss or tie
- a tie plus a Chargers loss.
The Atlanta Falcons clinch the NFC South with a win over the Carolina Panthers, which will put them in the playoffs.
Ravens RT Rick Wagner Moves to Injured Reserve
Right tackle Rick Wagner suffered a right foot injury last Sunday in Houston. The Ravens inserted undrafted rookie James Hurst on Sunday, but the rookie had a very tough time with J. J. Watt, who many consider should be the NFL's Defensive MVP.
To make matters even worse for the Ravens, left tackle Eugene Monroe had to leave the game with a lower left leg injury in the 4th quarter. This forced the Ravens to move Hurst to left tackle, insert rookie guard John Urschel at right guard and move pro bowl right guard Marshal Yanda to right tackle.
When I look at the Baltimore Ravens depth in the offensive line, Hurst is the worst athlete of the bunch and would be the last resort I would use. He has good size, but he does not move well. His 40 time is listed at 5.59, which is way too slow to face a good defensive linemen like Watt, or former Ravens pass rusher Paul Kruger, who now plays for the Browns. Kruger has 10 sacks so far this season.
With the injury to Eugene Monroe and not knowing his status for Sunday the Ravens have two choices as to what they can do with their offensive line:
- If Monroe can play, insert Urschel at right guard and move Yanda to right tackle. This would be the best possible lineup for the Ravens.
- If Monroe can't play, insert Urschel at right guard and move Yanda to right tackle. Then I would let offensive line coach Juan Castillo figure out who would be the best fit at left tackle other than Hurst. Personally, I would put Gino Gradkowski at left guard and move Kelechi Osemele to left tackle.
Falcons Safety William Moore On IR Due To ShoulderStarting strong safety William Moore has been placed on IR due to a shoulder injury.
Strong safety William Moore had to be placed on the injured reserve list for the second time this season after he reinjured his right shoulder in Sundays win versus the Saints.
Moore previously separated the shoulder during a Week 4 loss at Minnesota. He was placed on IR with a designation to return and missed seven games.
With the NFC South title and playoffs on the line the Falcons would love to have all their bullets for their gun, but they have to play the had they were dealt.
Oh, by the way, the Carolina Panthers have the 8th best running offense in the NFL.
The good news for the Falcons is that they already know who will take Moore's spot at strong safety. Second year strong safety Kemal Ishmael will reassume the starting role that he was filling while Moore was out earlier this season.
Ishmael does lead the team with 4 interceptions and is second on the team in tackles with 91.
He has the prototype size and speed to play the strong safety spot and will need to be on his A game on Sunday versus the Panthers.
The Falcons also moved up safety Sean Baker from the practice squad to take Moore's spot. Baker has the prototype size and speed needed to play safety in the NFL.