New England Patriots vs New York Giants: What are notable injuries?

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Phillip Dorsett #13 of the New England Patriots reacts after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Phillip Dorsett #13 of the New England Patriots reacts after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots might have several players on their injury report, but that list is meager compared to what the New York Giants are dealing with.

There are a number of familiar faces appearing on the New England Patriots‘ official injury report this week, as given by the team’s official website. Of the seven players who showed up there, only two are completely new inclusions.

Linebacker Shilique Calhoun was a limited participant at practice on Wednesday because of an ankle injury. His status is indicated as “questionable” for Thursday’s primetime contest against the New York Giants, and while he’s been an effective piece of the Patriots defense when called upon, he’s also far from needed if rest and recovery are better options for him at this juncture.

The other fresh face on the New England injury report is Phillip Dorsett. One of the surprise breakout stars of 2019 so far, Dorsett pulled up lame early-on last week against the Washington Redskins. He was diagnosed almost immediately with a hamstring injury, and unfortunately was not able to return to the game.

Dorsett has already been ruled “out” for the Giants game, as well. While he’ll certainly be missed, his absence could be even further magnified if two other New England wide receivers are forced to sit out the game as well.

Julian Edelman (chest) and Josh Gordon (knee) were both limited participants in practice Wednesday and are listed as “questionable” to play against New York Thursday night. While Edelman played through the pain of his injury the last two weeks – it was sustained in Week 3 against the Jets – the Patriots must surely be hoping he’s not doing any further damage to himself by staying active.

Similarly, Gordon dinged up his knee a couple weeks ago and lingered on the injury report almost up until the game itself last Sunday against the ‘Skins. While he was eventually removed entirely from the list – a good sign at the time – it’s now a bad sign that he’s once again limited and showing up on the report with an injury to the same area.

If New England was forced to play without all three of its top receivers – Edelman, Gordon, and Dorsett – the Patriots’ only remaining wideouts on the current active roster would be pressed into action. That would likely mean Jakobi Meyers would be Brady’s No. 1 target, Gunner Olszewski would be the No. 2 option, and Matthew Slater – the veteran with exactly one career reception in the regular season – would be the third option.

Thankfully for the Pats, even if this doomsday scenario were to unfold, the team would most likely turn to their running backs as pass catchers if needed. James White is obviously exceptional in that regard, and even Sony Michel showed some promise last week while running smooth routes and displaying soft hands. Michel, who isn’t known for his skills in the air game, actually caught all three of his targets from Tom Brady against Washington for 32 yards.

Rex Burkhead would also be a useful player to have active if New England’s starting wideouts can’t go, but unfortunately he’s still battling an injury of his own. Burkhead missed Week 5 with a foot ailment, and his status for Week 6 is very much in doubt… despite the fact that he’s currently listed only as “questionable” on the injury report.

Realistically though, it’d be a massive shock if Edelman and Gordon didn’t grit their teeth and play through their respective problems Thursday night. Both players are veterans used to pain management, and they must know how much their offense needs them at this juncture. Besides, they’ll have a week-and-a-half of extra rest and recuperation after the game is over to get fully healthy.

Rounding out the New England injury report is a pair of safeties, Nate Ebner and Patrick Chung. Ebner has a groin injury and Chung has a heel injury; neither player was active against the Redskins last week. It may be smart to keep both on the bench for this contest, as the Giants offense doesn’t particularly look too threatening this week, given the ample injuries they’re contending with as well.

For starters, New York running back Saquon Barkley is officially “out” for the game while he continues his recovery from a high ankle sprain. His backup, Wayne Gallman, is also “out” with a concussion suffered last week against the Minnesota Vikings.

Since the Giants’ top two options at RB are both out, they’ll turn to undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman to carry the rushing load against the Patriots’ top-five run defense. With all due respect to Hilliman, he’s probably not a name you want circled in fantasy football this week as a potential waiver-wire pickup or bye week flier.

Two other major players on the New York offense – tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard – are also listed as being “out” for Thursday’s game with an MCL sprain (knee) and a concussion, respectively. The Giants’ top pass-catchers figure to be some combination of Golden Tate, Rhett Ellison, Cody Latimer, and Darius Slayton now as a result.

Finally, the Giants indicated that second-year linebacker Lorenzo Carter is “questionable” for the game with a neck injury.

Next. What could be on tap for Tom Brady this Thursday night?. dark

Add up all those injuries, and Big Blue is looking at a near-impossible task in trying to score the road upset at the always-tough Gillette Stadium this Thursday. A game against the 5-0 Patriots would have been hard enough for New York if the team was fully healthy – the fact that they’re this banged-up could be enough to manifest a massive butt-whipping in Foxborough, to boot.