Bryant, Gurley among biggest question marks
By all accounts, the Cowboys are rolling with Dak Prescott as their main signal-caller moving forward. Yet the Lone Star State’s newest darling isn’t likely to have his top receiving target operating at 100 percent this afternoon.
Dez Bryant leads a laundry list of NFL stars with assorted physical maladies. On the heels of a nine-catch, 116-yard performance at Pittsburgh, No. 88 tweaked his back late in the week. Coach Jason Garrett limited the two-time Pro Bowler’s practice reps on Friday. Nonetheless, expect Bryant to line up on the outside at AT&T Stadium and present plenty of problems for the Ravens’ Jimmy Smith-less secondary.
Tony Romo, too, comes into the Dallas-Baltimore affair with a questionable tag. He’ll probably be available to back up Prescott, though, shortly after publicly passing the baton to the rookie sensation. Beginning in 2017, Romo has three years remaining on his contract.
Another well-compensated veteran, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews, appears ready to return from a three-game absence against Washington. Unfortunately, Mike McCarthy’s gang still misses Eddie Lacy, Sam Shields and a host of others. Meanwhile, the 5-3-1 Redskins keep surging in the NFC East. Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes last weekend as the squad picked up a 26-20 victory over Minnesota.
The team that sits right behind Washington in the standings, however, could face a rather thorny predicament. Philadelphia’s Jordan Matthews (questionable) continues to wrestle with a balky back. In addition, intermediate option Zach Ertz feels impeded by a hamstring issue. Such uncertainty on the medical front won’t help calm jitters in advance of a tough challenge at Seattle.
Elsewhere in the NFC West, Rams running back Todd Gurley’s thigh ailment threatens to put additional pressure on Jared Goff. The No. 1 overall selection in April’s draft will make his first career start vs. the Dolphins. While Miami carries a four-game winning streak into the Coliseum, defensive coordinator Vance Joseph shouldn’t count on Mario Williams too much. The right end’s ankle remains a hindrance.
Shifting to the AFC, the most impactful injury undoubtedly belongs to New England’s Rob Gronkowski. The tight end recently suffered a punctured lung on a crushing hit by the Seahawks’ Earl Thomas. Look for Martellus Bennett to inherit the bulk of Gronkowski’s usual responsibilities.