The 2023 NFL season got started Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, and it didn't go so well for the home team.
Kansas City wasn't able to overcome the absences of tight end Travis Kelce (knee), who missed a game for the first time since his rookie season in 2013, and defensive tackle Chris Jones (contract dispute). Will other teams be able to compensate without key players? The Los Angeles Rams will be without wide receiver Cooper Kupp (hamstring), who missed eight games last season, and a couple of other teams will be without top receiving targets.
The news was better for the Cincinnati Bengals. When quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a calf injury at training camp in late July, there was fear of him missing regular-season action. Now, six weeks later, he's not only ready to start the opener, but he'll do so having signed a record-breaking contract extension.
Here are more injury updates from our NFL Nation reporters as we head toward Sunday's matchups:
Coach Sean McVay ruled out Kupp for Sunday in Seattle, saying the Rams were going to make sure they didn't "rush" the wide receiver back from the injury. Kupp first injured a hamstring in a training camp practice on Aug. 1 and experienced a setback last week. McVay didn't rule out putting Kupp on injured reserve before Saturday, but he said the team wants to "give him a little bit of time" before it makes that decision.
-- Sarah Barshop
Kittle is listed as questionable for Sunday against the Steelers. He first suffered the injury midway through training camp, but he returned in time for the preseason finale, in which he had a setback. Kittle did return to practice this week, participating on a limited basis. For his part, Kittle said he feels "wonderful" and made it clear he intends to play against the Steelers, but the fact he wasn't fully cleared Friday and has already dealt with one setback from the same injury means the Niners won't take any risks if they feel he could have another setback by playing. If he can't go, expect Ross Dwelley and Charlie Woerner to have larger roles.
-- Nick Wagoner
Walker popped up on Seattle's injury report Thursday as a limited participant and was limited again Friday, but he doesn't have a game designation for Sunday, meaning there's no question that he'll play. Walker missed two weeks early in camp with a groin injury, the same issue that was listed as the reason for his limited participation the past two days. But coach Pete Carroll said Seattle's RB1 is "fine," adding: "He's been screaming out here. He's been great."
-- Brady Henderson
Injury: Stevenson (illness), Parker (knee)
Stevenson didn't practice Friday after being a full participant Wednesday and Thursday. Those around the team didn't seem to have major concern that the illness would threaten Stevenson's availability for Sunday's season opener against the Eagles, but the club officially listed him as questionable. Ezekiel Elliott would bump up to the top spot on the RB depth chart if Stevenson's illness lingers.
After practicing throughout training camp, and positioning himself as the team's No. 1 receiver, Parker injured a knee two weeks ago (presumably in practice) and has been limited since. So the Patriots have planned for the opener with the strong possibility he wasn't going to be available, which projects to thrust JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne into the top spots on the depth chart, with rookies Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte next in line. Tyquan Thornton, the 2022 second-round draft pick, would have been in the mix if not for having landed on injured reserve (shoulder).
-- Mike Reiss
The Panthers could be without their top two wide receivers with Thielen questionable and DJ Chark Jr. (hamstring) already ruled out. That means the starters could be rookie Jonathan Mingo, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Terrace Marshall Jr., who missed much of the past few weeks with a back injury. Not ideal when you're starting a rookie quarterback, even one as polished as Bryce Young. Look for a lot of short throws to running back Miles Sanders and tight end Hayden Hurst.
-- David Newton
Andrews, who has missed only one game because of injury in his first five NFL seasons, was noncommittal when asked if he would play in the opener. "For me, like I said, I'm just taking it day by day," Andrews said. "God willing, I'll be out there." He was listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week. If Andrews doesn't play, Isaiah Likely becomes the No.1 tight end in the passing game.
-- Jamison Hensley
The Colts remain thin at running back with Jonathan Taylor still on the physically unable to perform list, so Moss' availability looms large. He was limited for a third consecutive day in Friday's practice and his conditioning is still a question. So, the Colts seem likely to lean more heavily on third-year back Deon Jackson against the Jaguars.
-- Stephen Holder
Burks sprained an LCL during joint practices with the Vikings last month. The injury was initially feared to be much worse. The LCL sprain kept Burks out of 12 consecutive practices. He resurfaced on the field last week and has gradually worked his way back to where he was seen going full speed in drills. The Titans had him listed as a full participant in practice all week. Expect Burks to play Sunday vs. the Saints.
-- Turron Davenport
Davenport, who signed a one-year contract worth $13 million in free agency and is slated to start, suffered an ankle injury Thursday and was added to the participation report Friday. He'll be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Kevin O'Connell did not seem too concerned, calling the injury "a little bit of a tweak." But when asked if the injury could impact Davenport's playing time, O'Connell said: "If he's able to go, he'll be able to handle his full responsibilities." If he can't play Sunday, Davenport's snaps are likely to be transferred to backup outside linebackers D.J. Wonnum and Pat Jones II.
-- Kevin Seifert
Smith suffered the injury during Monday's practice and did not work the rest of the week, focusing on his rehab. He started every game as a rookie and played 98.5% of the snaps. With left tackle Tyron Smith battling an ankle injury that cropped up during the week, the left side of the line is a question. Chuma Edoga, who suffered a knee injury in camp, is the likely starter if Tyler Smith doesn't play. The Cowboys have had to play musical chairs on the offensive line since coach Mike McCarthy arrived in 2020, and it looks like they'll have to do the same to start in 2023. The Cowboys don't want to risk Tyler Smith for the long term, so they will be conservative with their approach.
-- Todd Archer
Injury: Brisker (groin), Jackson (ankle), Davis (personal reasons)
The back end of the Bears' defense is at full health for the Packers game after Brisker and Jackson spent multiple weeks sidelined. Davis returned to practice Friday from a personal absence and carries no injury designation. The Bears' O-line entered training camp healthy and was forced to shuffle because of multiple injuries, but it appears to be in a stable spot for Week 1.
-- Courtney Cronin
Okudah is out with a foot injury that he suffered during training camp. While he has not practiced, Falcons coach Arthur Smith said Okudah is "close" and they are playing "the long game" with his health. Tre Flowers is expected to start in his place. RB Cordarrelle Patterson is questionable with a thigh injury after practicing on a limited basis all week.
-- Michael Rothstein
Lattimore is back after tweaking a knee in joint practices against the Chargers during the preseason. He fully participated in the past two practices. That's a big relief for the Saints, as Lattimore is their best outside corner and didn't play for more than half of the 2022 season because of injury.
-- Katherine Terrell
Injury: Knee, ankle, back
The Dolphins will be without their best offensive lineman Sunday as Armstead works his way back from both offseason knee surgery and a leg injury he suffered during joint practices with the Houston Texans three weeks ago. The Chargers present an unfortunate matchup for Miami without its starting left tackle, with pass-rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack both active. Expect Kendall Lamm to start in Armstead's place.
-- Marcel Louis-Jacques
Injury: Personal reasons
With Jones not expected to play, first-round draft pick Tyree Wilson should split reps at edge rusher across from two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby with Malcolm Koonce. Wilson, drafted with the No. 7 overall pick, was still recovering from a right foot injury suffered at Texas Tech and did not start practicing with the Raiders until Aug. 16. He played just 12 defensive snaps in the preseason game at Dallas. Still, Wilson impressed with his unique blend of power and speed.
-- Paul Gutierrez