Norwood & Faulk done for year, Bush out 4-6 weeks

New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush is taken off the field in a cart after sustaining an injury in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during their Monday night NFL football game in San Francisco, California September 20, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

I went to do a report on Reggie Bush’s fractured fibula and then noticed roughly 1,800 more injuries worth noting in the NFL. So here’s a rundown of six of those 1,800 injuries…

Reggie Bush, RB, Saints
Bush suffered a fracture of the upper fibula in his right leg after muffing a punt during the Saints’ 25-22 win over the 49ers last night. He doesn’t need surgery, but he’ll miss at least four-to-six weeks. DeShawn Wynn now takes over the backup duties behind Pierre Thomas.

Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts
More bad news for Gonzalez, who will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks with a high right ankle sprain. Obviously the Colts can and have gotten by without him, but this has to be frustrating for Gonzalez, who can never seem to stay healthy.

Jake Delhomme, QB, Browns
Jake the INT Machine has had a boot on his injured ankle for a week and reports state that he likely has a high ankle sprain. While head coach Eric Mangini doesn’t want to make a definitive statement either way on whether or not Delhomme will play this week, chances are Seneca Wallace will receive his second start of the year on Sunday.

Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons
Norwood tore his ACL on the opening kickoff last week against the Cardinals. He’ll be placed on IR, effectively ending his season. Jason Snelling now becomes the sole backup to Michael Turner.

Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots
The Patriots’ running back situation just got more interesting, as Faulk will miss the rest of the season due to a torn ACL. Danny Woodhead will get a look as a third-down back, but Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will see more action behind Fred Taylor now.

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Falcons’ last-minute win over Bucs could be season defining

There are moments every NFL season that could be deemed as defining for playoff contenders.

The Falcons had one of those moments in Week 12.

Atlanta lost Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and two starting offensive linemen on Sunday, but found a way to come from behind in the closing minutes to knock off division rival Tampa Bay, 20-17. Chris Redman completed 23-of-41 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns while subbing for Ryan (who hurt his foot early in the first quarter and never returned), and also found Roddy White on a 4th and goal from the 5-yard line to lift Atlanta to victory.

Outside of two separate 18-yard runs by Turner and Jerious Norwood, the Falcons had no running game, which made things tougher on Redman. It also didn’t help that starting left tackle Sam Baker and starting right guard Harvey Dahl left the game due to injuries and the Bucs revved up the pressure. Tampa produced six sacks on the day and harassed Redman for the majority of the game.

But with the game on the line, Redman was excellent. With 2:30 left on the clock and zero timeouts, he led the Falcons 59 yards for the game-winning score by taking what the Bucs gave them and methodically marching down the field. On the crucial fourth down attempt, Redman threw a bullet to White, who made an incredible catch in between defenders to secure the catch.

The Falcons have a ton of injuries, can’t defend the pass, need a new kicker (Jason Elam is horrible) and have two daunting home games against the Eagles and Saints over the next two weeks, but if they can build off the momentum they seized today, then they’ll make the playoffs. One could argue that they should have beaten a bad Tampa team by more than three points at home. But considering they were playing with several backups (including Redman), the only thing that matters is that they produced a victory. And with winnable games against the Jets, Bills and Bucs down the stretch, if they can find a way to beat either the Eagles or Saints over the next two weeks then a 10-win season is a possibility.

Speaking of Tampa, Josh Freeman (20-of-29 for 250 yards, 2 TDs) played very well and the defense responded to Morris calling the plays for the first time this season. But Morris’ decision to attempt a long field goal late in the fourth quarter set the Falcons up with prime field position to mount their comeback. Had Morris decided to punt, the Falcons would have had to drive the length of the field with no timeouts. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the decision to attempt the field goal doomed the Bucs.

2009 NFL Week 11 Picks & Predictions

Here are my locks (locks, ha!) for Week 11 in the NFL:

Chargers (6-3) at Broncos (6-3), 4:15PM ET
Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is questionable this week with an ankle injury, which means Chris Simms could make his first start of the season. Simms looked Brady Quinn-like bad in a loss to the Redskins last week and I wouldn’t expect much out of him if I were a Broncos fan. If Simms starts, I fully expect the Chargers to load up to stop Knowshon Moreno and force the former Bucs’ QB to beat them through the air. It’s not going to happen and even if Orton does start, how effective can he be on a bum ankle? About as effective as he was last year for the Bears on a bum ankle? The Chargers are hot, have revenge on their minds and are eyeing sole possession of first place in the AFC West. Plus, Philip Rivers is playing just as well as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Kurt Warner. I’m taking the Chargers to win outright and to cover.
Odds: Chargers –2.5.
Prediction: Chargers 31, Broncos 16.

Redskins (3-6) at Cowboys (6-3), 1:00PM ET
Now that the Cowboys have once again established that they’re still the same inconsistent team under Wade Phillips as they’ve always been, I’m wondering if the Redskins can pull off a huge upset this week in Dallas. Then again, without the brutal play of Chris Simms’ aiding them in victory, I can’t see Washington winning this weekend. In fact, I see this game being a blow out since the Redskins will once again be without running back Clinton Portis and Albert Haynesworth is doubtful to play as well. The Redskins have shown the ability to stop the pass, but if the Cowboys can control this game with Marion Barber and Felix Jones then Washington doesn’t stand a chance. Dallas’ offense should rebound from its horrid performance last week as long as the ground attack can help set things up for Tony Romo and the passing game. Washington just doesn’t have the players to compete with Dallas for four quarters and given how bad the Redskins’ O-line has played this season, they’re going to have trouble stopping the Cowboys’ solid pass rush.
Odds: Cowboys –11
Prediction: Cowboys 34, Redskins 13.

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Turner has high ankle sprain; Ryan, Norwood and Snelling must step up

Jay Glazer of reports that Michael Turner has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, although the Falcons are apparently “very optimistic” that the injury won’t keep their star back out too long.

High ankle sprains can sideline players for as little as 2-3 weeks or as long as six months depending on the severity of the injury. In Turner’s case, it sounds like he’ll only be out a couple of weeks but who knows at this point. The Falcons will be fighting for a playoff spot the rest of the season, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Turner came back earlier than expected.

Atlanta has two capable backs in Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling, although the former can never stay healthy. Norwood has battled concussions and a hip injury for much of the season and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the field.

When healthy, Norwood is a lighting rod and a threat to score every time he gets his hands on the ball, while Snelling looked good on Sunday in the team’s loss to the Panthers. He’s kind of a poor man’s Turner in that he’s a load to bring down, but he has surprising quickness and is a good receiver out of the backfield.

The Falcons could certainly do worse than a combination of Snelling and Norwood – much worse. But the problem is that if Norwood can’t stay healthy, Snelling isn’t the same back as Turner is. He’s more than serviceable, but he’s never been counted on to carry the full load, so Norwood has to recover quickly or else the Falcons’ season could slip away in a hurry.

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Falcons’ defense steps up in win over Bears

Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and the rest of the Falcons’ potent offense may get more attention, but Atlanta can thank its defense for the team starting the season 4-1.

The Falcons beat the Bears 21-14 on Sunday night, as Atlanta’s defense forced three turnovers and stopped Chicago on a 4th-and-6 attempt from the 10-yard line with only 34 seconds remaining. The Falcons also held Matt Forte to only 23 yards on 15 carries.

But while Atlanta’s defense deserves credit for its effort on Sunday night, this game was more about Chicago squandering opportunities. Jay Cutler threw an interception to kill a potential scoring drive in the first quarter and then Forte cost the Bears another opportunity with a fumble at Atlanta’s 1-yard line in the third. The Bears moved the ball at will at times, but often shot themselves in the foot with turnovers or costly penalties.

For two teams that are supposed to contender for a playoff spot in the NFC, this wasn’t a very cleanly played game on either side. The Falcons turned the ball over twice and would have added another had Ryan not pounced on a Turner fumble in the second quarter. Neither team was very impressive and while Atlanta won, I can’t say the Falcons are definitively better than the Bears are after this performance.

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