Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos, foot: Siemian has a foot sprain that will sideline him this week. He spent the better part of the week in a walking boot and was unable to do enough when testing it Friday to convince the medical staff he should play. He has been fit with an orthotic device for his cleats, but that won’t matter for this week. Paxton Lynch is expected to start in his place.
Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills, knee: Woods remains out with a knee injury, but he is off crutches and told reporters this week he hopes to return before the end of the season.
DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers, knee: Williams has not yet returned to practice since undergoing knee surgery and remains inactive this week.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Pittsburgh Steelers, foot: Heyward-Bey was still not able to practice at all this week due to his injured foot and has already been ruled out for Sunday. This will be his fourth consecutive missed game.
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I don’t see Denver coming into Jacksonville and blowing the Jags out to the point of having a huge lead (taking away junk-time scoring), but certainly this will be tough. The Broncos have held opposing wide receivers to fewer than nine points in five of their past nine games and while, yes, Hill had himself a day last week and yes, Robinson is capable of going off at any moment, given what we’ve seen of both the Denver secondary and the Bortles/Robinson connection this season, A-Rob is merely a WR3 for me this week, not the WR1 he was drafted as.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos: See, here’s some love, Jags fans. The best defense in the NFL the past four games in terms of passing yards allowed per game belongs to the Jaguars, and they have allowed the second-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards this season. It’s hard to get a big pass play on them, their corners are playing pretty well this season and while Sanders had the huge game last week against Kansas City, that was his first score since Week 4. Since Week 5, the Jags have allowed just five wide receiver touchdowns and, as of this writing (early Thursday morning), Trevor Siemian missed practice and is banged-up. Maybe he plays, but there’s a chance he does so at less than 100 percent, which doesn’t help either. On the road at Jacksonville, I expect a run-heavy game script for the Broncos, making Sanders just a WR3 for me this week.
Todd Gurley, Rams: A rookie quarterback making his third start ever on the road in Foxboro, Massachusetts — what could go wrong? Expect the Patriots to stack the box to stop Gurley, as teams have done all season. Gurley is averaging just 1.63 yards before first contact per carry this season (third worst in the NFL), and wouldn’t you know it, the Patriots are allowing the third-fewest yards before first contact per carry this season. Also, they have not allowed a running back to rush for a score in eight of their past nine games.