By Curt Macysyn
The Denver Broncos must be living right, not only did the team get to play the NFL season opener on September 5, Orange Crush was able to kick off the 2013 campaign at home. The privilege of hosting the inaugural game, normally reserved for the defending Super Bowl champion, was switched to the Mile High City because of a scheduling conflict in Baltimore.
When the Broncos put away the champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27, it meant the team had a full 10 days to recover from injuries, a huge advantage as teams move into the heart of their September schedules. Meanwhile, the New York Football Giants traveled to Dallas to play a late game on Sunday, lost to the Cowboys 36-31 and sustained key injuries in the contest as well.
It appears unlikely that the Broncos will get back veteran cornerback Champ Bailey from a foot sprain that has plagued him since training camp, as he has not been a practice participant all week. Bailey’s place in the lineup was taken by backup defensive back Chris Harris, who had an interception of Joe Flacco last Thursday night.
Of particular concern for the Broncos remains the availability of a pair of defensive starters for the Orange Crush. Middle linebacker Wesley Woodyard injured his ankle against the Ravens and has not practiced this week. The sixth year man from Kentucky had ten tackles in the opening night victory. On the other hand, starting safety Duke Ihenacho was a full participant in practice, and his availability for this week looks probable. Inhenacho was nursing a thigh injury.
On the offensive side of the ball, backup tight end Joel Dressen (knee) did not participate, and a pair of wide receivers, Wes Welker and Eric Decker, were limited in practice. Welker has been plagued with a right ankle injury since the preseason, but caught two touchdown passes against the Ravens. Expect Welker to play on Sunday. Reserve wideout Eric Decker has been limited in practice (shoulder) this week but also will most likely play on Sunday.
New York Giants
The New York Giants lost a pair of starters in their 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys opening night. Both middle linebacker Dan Connor (neck) and Prince Amukamara (concussion) left the game and did not return. On Wednesday, Giants head Tom Coughlin expressed optimism that Amukamara would pass the NFL concussion protocols and be able to play, but Connor was placed on seasoning ending injured reserve. Ironically, Dallas owner Jerry Jones complained that New York was faking injuries to slow down the Cowboys offense, so perhaps the G-men are faking injured reserve reports as well. To replace Connor, the Giants claimed Allen Bradford who was waived by the Seattle Seahawks. Bradford was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a running back in 2011. Because Big Blue is down to four linebackers, he may have to suit up on Sunday.
On the plus side, starting center David Baas (knee) was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to speculation that he may play on Sunday. The return of Baas would boost the Giants offensive line that saw Kevin Boothe and James Brewer struggle at new positions. If Baas is a go, then Boothe can slide back to guard.
David Diehl remains out after undergoing thumb surgery in August, but he remains on the active roster.
For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.