Compared to their opponents, the Falcons have been relatively healthy.
The Panthers were down a couple of their top pass catchers; the Packers were missing their three best offensive players in Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and David Bakhtiari.
That trend is continuing this week in Detroit. The Lions will be missing James Houston and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who were placed on injured reserve, and possibly a couple of starting linemen along with running back David Montgomery.
For Atlanta, Jeff Okudah and Cordarrelle Patterson have yet to make their 2023 debut, while Troy Andersen joined them on the sidelines last Sunday against the Packers. Fortunately, it seems they’re heading in the right direction.
Patterson, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, was left off Wednesday’s injury report altogether. The offense has been able to lean on Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson in his absence, but Patterson’s presence adds an undeniably potent dynamic to Arthur Smith’s scheme. His return will make life for Desmond Ridder that much easier.
Okudah could potentially make his Falcons debut against his former team, which is pretty poetic for a player who has dealt with injuries most of his career. I’m sure he’s eager to show the Lions they were wrong for shipping him off; it’s only natural. Okudah was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, which is a welcome sight, given the struggles of Tre Flowers.
Andersen popped up on the injury report last week with a concussion but is practicing fully already. I figured his replacement, undrafted free agent Nate Landman, would struggle next to Kaden Elliss; however, it was quite the opposite. He had several notable plays against the run and didn’t look like a fish out of water in pass coverage.
All three returning would be fantastic news for the Falcons, who will face their toughest opponent yet in the Lions.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire