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How banged up are the playoff contenders?

It's a long, long season, and every team is hurting to some degree after 11 NFL games. But some are more banged up than others, which can be a deciding variable down the stretch of the playoff race.

Here's a closer look at the injury situation for the 14 teams with the best chances of making the postseason according to ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI). Teams are ranked by salary-cap dollars used on players on IR as of Week 12.

Jump to a team:
BAL | CHI | DAL | HOU | IND | KC | LAC | LAR | MIN | NE | NO | PIT | SEA | WAS


Washington Redskins

FPI playoff odds: 29.1 percent

Salary cap on IR: $36,193,501 (22.2 percent of total cap, 13 players)

Key players on IR: QB Alex Smith, RG Brandon Scherff, WR Paul Richardson. The Redskins already have activated two players off IR, so nobody else is eligible to come back -- and none of these three would have been healthy anyway.

Key injured players not on IR: RB Chris Thompson (ribs) has missed four straight games, and six overall this season; WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) has missed the past seven games. There's a chance that both players will return for Monday's game at Philadelphia. CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) has been in and out of the lineup for the past six games. His status likely will be week-to-week the rest of the season.

Why it matters: If the Redskins get Thompson and Crowder back, they can actually get a boost offensively. The Redskins need both players healthy to reduce the offensive burden on RB Adrian Peterson, who's dealing with a shoulder injury. Thompson can take over some sets that Peterson was running. They miss Scherff and his ability to pull; it has impacted the running game. Losing Smith cost them someone who doesn't turn the ball over, which helped them win six games, but McCoy is more aggressive, so there's a weekly boom/bust potential. Their defense is healthy aside from Dunbar, but the defense hasn't played well of late. -- John Keim


Seattle Seahawks

FPI playoff odds: 76.9 percent

Salary cap on IR: $22,350,049 (15 percent of total cap, 6 players)

Key players on IR: FS Earl Thomas, TE Will Dissly, RB J.D. McKissic. Thomas (broken leg) and Dissly (torn patellar tendon) suffered season-ending injuries, but McKissic is returning from the broken bone in his foot that he suffered in training camp. He'll be eligible to play Sunday against the 49ers, though it's unclear how he'll fit back into an already-stacked backfield.

Key injured players not on IR: LB K.J. Wright. It's unclear when, if at all this season, Wright will be back. He had to miss the first six games as well as the past two because of a troublesome knee that required arthroscopic surgery in late August. It didn't sound like his return would be imminent when Pete Carroll said on Nov. 16 that the team would take all the time it needed to nurse Wright's knee back to health. Carroll said of Wright on Monday: "He's still working at his rehab. He's got a process he's working on right now, but no updates about the timing of it."

Why it matters: As good as McKissic was at times last season, he might not have the same opportunity to make an impact given the state of Seattle's backfield with the trio of Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny already leaving no work for No. 4 running back C.J. Prosise. Wright's absence and potential return are more significant. The Seahawks missed him Sunday as Carolina ran for 220 yards. It will help to get Mychal Kendricks back from his suspension in Week 14, but he doesn't have nearly the experience in Seattle's defense as Wright does. -- Brady Henderson


Los Angeles Chargers

FPI playoff odds: 94.7 percent

Salary cap on IR: $19,364,053 (11.5 percent of total cap, 10 players)

Key players on IR: LB Kyzir White, TE Hunter Henry. The Chargers placed White on IR earlier this month after the rookie had a knee injury, but he could return by the end of the year. Henry suffered an ACL injury during the offseason and is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. While he's a long shot to return, the Chargers will check on Henry's health status in mid-December.

Key injured players not on IR: RB Melvin Gordon is dealing with a sprained right knee but expected to return at some point this season. Joey Bosa returned from a bruised left foot two weeks ago and is working his way back into football shape; he has totaled two sacks in two games played.

Why it matters: While the Chargers have lost key players such as LB Denzel Perryman and DT Corey Liuget for the season because of injury, most of the team's front-line players are healthy, which gives them a legitimate shot to make a deep postseason run. Having the most durable quarterback in the NFL in Philip Rivers is a plus for the Chargers as they head down the backstretch of the 2018 campaign. -- Eric D. Williams


Dallas Cowboys

FPI playoff odds: 80.1 percent

Salary cap on IR: $14,070,114 (10 percent of total cap, 10 players)

Key players on IR: C Travis Frederick, WR Terrance Williams, DE Datone Jones. The Cowboys already recalled wide receiver Noah Brown from injured reserve, leaving them one more player to get designated to return, but none is likely to get the call before the season ends. Frederick has shown improvement in recent weeks but he is not close to being ready to play in a game.

Key injured players not on IR: OT Tyron Smith (stinger, elbow), LB Sean Lee (hamstring), WR Tavon Austin (groin), DT David Irving (ankle), TE Geoff Swaim (wrist). Smith is week-to-week with his stinger, but Lee and Austin are doing more rehab work and could be back in a couple of weeks. Swaim had surgery last week and there is an outside shot he could return by the last week or two. Irving has not been around the team much as he continues to deal with off-field issues, in addition to rehabbing his high ankle sprain.

Why it matters: Smith's status is the biggest concern. He has not been able to stay healthy the past three seasons, and he missed the Thanksgiving game when the stinger flared up in pregame warm-ups. Veteran Cameron Fleming is a solid option in reserve if Smith's status remains iffy each week. The Cowboys have done a much better job withstanding injuries than they did a year ago. In the past, Lee's absence would have triggered the collapse of the defense, but rookie Leighton Vander Esch has been among the defense's best players. Austin could help in the return game and in gadget plays, but the Cowboys like how the receiver rotation has settled since the Amari Cooper trade. -- Todd Archer


Los Angeles Rams

FPI playoff odds: 100 percent

Salary cap on IR: $14,047,104 (8.7 percent of total cap, 6 players)

Key players on IR: CB Aqib Talib, WR Cooper Kupp. Talib, who underwent ankle surgery after a Week 3 victory over the Chargers, has been designated to return from IR and could be activated in time to play the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Kupp will be out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Key injured players not on IR: The Rams are in good health, with every player on the active roster available.

Why it matters: The Rams' secondary has been vulnerable in the passing game, an area Talib said he could help improve when he returns, "We get our communication in order," Talib said, "We eliminate two or three big plays a game and it will make us that much better on defense." Kupp's productivity is difficult to replace, but receiver Josh Reynolds and tight end Gerald Everett proved in Week 11 against the Chiefs that they also can be dynamic playmakers in the passing game. -- Lindsey Thiry


Chicago Bears

FPI playoff odds: 94.3 percent

Salary cap on IR: $14,045,790 (8.6 percent of total cap, 6 players)

Key players on IR: G Kyle Long, TE Dion Sims. Long (foot injury) is eligible to return from IR in Week 17, but the likeliest scenario is that he comes back for the playoffs. Sims' brief career in Chicago is probably over. The Bears already used one of their designations to return on TE Adam Shaheen. It's highly doubtful Chicago goes the same route with Sims.

Key injured players not on IR: QB Mitchell Trubisky. He is day-to-day with a right shoulder injury the Bears do not consider to be a long-term issue. Chicago might rest Trubisky again Sunday at New York in order to have him ready for its prime-time game versus the Rams in Week 14.

Why it matters: Trubisky has to be healthy for the Bears to have a shot to knock off the Rams or New Orleans in the postseason. Getting Long -- a three-time Pro Bowl selection -- back on the field would help solidify the interior of Chicago's offensive line. -- Jeff Dickerson


New Orleans Saints

FPI playoff odds: 99.9 percent

Salary cap on IR: $13,617,890 (8.9 percent of total cap, 9 players)

Key players on IR: CB Patrick Robinson, WR Ted Ginn Jr., WR Cameron Meredith. Robinson was a big loss early in the season, but veteran backup P.J. Williams has really stepped up as an efficient nickel corner in the slot. They could get a boost at receiver if Ginn is able to return from his knee injury in time for their playoff run.

Key injured players not on IR: Terron Armstead, one of the NFL's best left tackles, missed his third straight game because of a pectoral injury. But he is expected back sometime in December.

Why it matters: The Saints have not completely avoided significant injuries -- key players such as Armstead, rookie pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, Robinson and Ginn have missed time this season. But their health is about as good as a playoff contender could possibly ask for heading into December. -- Mike Triplett


Houston Texans

FPI playoff odds: 98 percent

Salary cap on IR: $12,621,484 (8 percent of total cap, 7 players)

Key players on IR: WR Will Fuller, CB Kevin Johnson, CB Kayvon Webster. This week, the Texans designated ILB Dylan Cole to return from IR, so Houston has one more spot to use, which would likely be used on Johnson or Webster. Adding either would give the Texans some much-needed depth in the secondary.

Key injured players not on IR: WR Keke Coutee. The rookie slot receiver has been effective when he has been on the field, but he has played in only six of the Texans' 11 games because of a hamstring injury. Although he came back for Houston's Week 11 win over the Redskins, he left Monday night's game against the Titans with the same injury. O'Brien said Coutee is "trending toward being able to play against Cleveland" in Week 13, which is important because the Texans don't have a lot of depth at receiver.

Why it matters: The Texans saw last season how important heath is to their team as they finished the season 4-12 with Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and D'Onta Foreman injured. While Houston does miss Fuller and the deep threat he provides, they are in a good position to overcome his injury after trading for Demaryius Thomas, who had two touchdowns Monday against the Titans. -- Sarah Barshop


Pittsburgh Steelers

FPI playoff odds: 96.2 percent

Salary cap on IR: $11,494,093 (7.5 percent of total cap, 6 players)

Key players on IR: LB Ola Adeniyi remains on IR but is practicing with the team. The Steelers could activate him if they want a fourth pass-rusher.

Key injured players not on IR: RT Marcus Gilbert has missed half the season with a knee issue. The team is hoping he plays in December, but depth is solid there. DE Stephon Tuitt (elbow) is poised to return Week 13.

Why it matters: The Steelers are the healthiest they've been in years. Most star players are ready for the stretch run. Watch for WR Eli Rogers to potentially spark the offense coming off the PUP list in the next few weeks. -- Jeremy Fowler


New England Patriots

FPI playoff odds: 99.8 percent

Salary cap on IR: $9,456,882 (5.8 percent of total cap, 10 players)

Key players on IR: OL Isaiah Wynn, LB Ja'Whaun Bentley, RB Jeremy Hill. The Patriots already have used their two designated-to-return IR spots for rookie CB Duke Dawson and RB Rex Burkhead.

Key injured players not on IR: No. 2 TE Dwayne Allen, whose primary value comes as a blocker, missed Sunday's game against the Jets with a knee injury, but the team's hope is that his return isn't far off. Meanwhile, QB Tom Brady is playing through a knee injury that he believes has a chance to heal in time, and he isn't expected to miss any time.

Why it matters: The Patriots had a late-season bye (Nov. 17) and returned with as healthy of a roster as they've had since the start of the regular season. One point Brady has made is that the team has had so much fluctuation personnel-wise on offense early in the year, so it's going to be exciting for him to see what the unit can do when top players have a chance to play together consistently. Consider that the Patriots are 4-0 and average 33.3 points per game when they have Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon on the field. When one of those players is missing, they are 4-3 and average 24.9 points per game. -- Mike Reiss


Kansas City Chiefs

FPI playoff odds: 99.9 percent

Salary cap on IR: $9,161,651 (6 percent of total cap, 8 players)

Key players on IR: G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, S Armani Watts. The Chiefs would be happy if Duvernay-Tardif, one of their top offensive linemen, returned. He broke his leg and tore ligaments in his ankle during an October game, so his ability to return by the playoffs is far less than certain. Watts is another possibility, though his return also seems less than 50-50. The Chiefs can bring only one player back after activating safety Dan Sorensen off IR earlier.

Key injured players not on IR: S Eric Berry has been on the active roster all season but has yet to play in a game. The Chiefs would have put him on IR if they didn't expect his eventual return, so look for him to be back before the end of the regular season. Center Mitch Morse should return at some point after missing time because of a concussion.

Why it matters: Berry's return would be the big prize. They've lacked for a playmaking safety all season. The returns of Duvernay-Tardif and Morse also would be welcomed. The Chiefs have started two backup offensive linemen for several weeks. -- Adam Teicher


Indianapolis Colts

FPI playoff odds: 39.8 percent

Salary cap on IR: $7,615,607 (5.7 percent of total cap, 13 players)

Key players on IR: TE Jack Doyle. Doyle's 2018 season ended when the Colts placed him on IR because of a kidney injury.

Key injured players not on IR: C Ryan Kelly, TE Erik Swoope. Kelly has been out since suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee against Tennessee on Nov. 18. The Colts expect Kelly to return at some point before the end of the season, though there's no timetable. Swoope returned to practice this week after missing four games with a knee injury. The Colts need Swoope to help offset the loss of Doyle for the season.

Why it matters: Kelly has been the anchor of an offensive line that went five straight games without giving up a sack. The stretch run won't be easy for the Colts because four of their final five games are against teams that have a defense currently ranked in the top 10 in the NFL. The Colts are taking a "Jack by committee" approach in trying to deal with losing Doyle. Eric Ebron, who is more of pass-catching tight end, will likely see an increase in snaps, and he'll be counted on to block even more. -- Mike Wells


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Lamar Jackson needs to be rostered in all leagues

Matthew Berry, Field Yates and Stephania Bell discuss expectations for Lamar Jackson and whether or not the rookie should start when Joe Flacco returns.

Baltimore Ravens

FPI playoff odds: 40.3 percent

Salary cap on IR: $6,613,940 (4.2 percent of total cap, 13 players)

Key players on IR: RB Kenneth Dixon, DL Willie Henry. Dixon (knee) is one of the two players designated to return (cornerback Maurice Canady was the other), and he has one more week before the Ravens have to decide whether to activate him. It's legitimate to ask whether Baltimore really needs Dixon. Gus Edwards has taken over the lead role in a crowded running back group that includes Alex Collins, Ty Montgomery and Buck Allen. Henry was projected to be a starter along the defensive line, but the Ravens have not really felt his absence because Michael Pierce has played so well.

Key injured players not on IR: QB Joe Flacco. He hasn't practiced since injuring his right hip against the Steelers on Nov. 4. The initial time frame for rest and recovery was three to four weeks, so the window to return is close. In order to come back, Flacco would need to convince the Ravens he's recovered by a full week of practice. But with Lamar Jackson's success, that point could be moot.

Why it matters: The presumption was that the Ravens' playoff chances would be over when they handed the starting quarterback job to a rookie. Jackson, though, has brought excitement and a new offensive identity to Baltimore. In winning his first two NFL starts, Jackson ended the Ravens' three-game losing streak and made Baltimore the favorite to capture the No. 6 seed in the AFC. If Jackson wins Sunday and improves to 3-0 as a starter, it would be difficult for the Ravens to go back to Flacco. -- Jamison Hensley


Minnesota Vikings

FPI playoff odds: 68.7 percent

Salary cap on IR: $6,607,765 (3.6 percent of total cap, 7 players)

Key players on IR: S Andrew Sendejo, G Nick Easton. Sendejo was placed on IR on Nov. 27 and is eligible to return to practice on Jan. 8. If the Vikings are still in the playoffs, Sendejo could be back to help this team get ready for a Super Bowl run. Easton was placed on IR in training camp after undergoing neck surgery and is out for the year.

Key injured players not on IR: CB Xavier Rhodes has dealt with myriad health issues this season but has missed only one game. TE David Morgan injured his knee before the bye, which caused him to miss the Bears and Packers games. His injury is not expected to keep him out for the rest of the season, though he might still need a week or two before he's ready to return. Then there's WR Adam Thielen. Despite being limited with lower back and calf injuries every week of practice following Minnesota's Week 9 bye, he has yet to miss any playing time.

Why it matters: So much of the Vikings' success last season was predicated off not dealing with constant injuries, especially on defense, where all 11 starters played in the NFC Championship Game. Minnesota has experienced more injuries this year, especially in positions where the team is already thin, like on the offensive line. Right now, the Vikings are in a good spot, where none of the players listed on the Week 13 injury report seem like a real danger to miss an extended period of time, especially going into the playoffs. -- Courtney Cronin