On the eve of the playoffs, some developments with the league's offensive lines. The playoff lines, that is. Most notably, the Colts might get left tackle Eric Fisher back in the lineup. And in maybe the most significant news, the Packers think they'll have all-pro David Bakhtiari.
Among the most noteworthy news items:
Kansas City left tackle Orlando Brown suffered a calf strain in warmups and missed the team's loss to Cincinnati. But Brown is practicing fully this week and will return to face the Broncos on Saturday. That's a good thing, considering his backup Lucas Niang suffered a torn patellar tendon in the game.
Left tackle Eric Fisher missed the Colts last game with three separate injuries -- knee, toe, shoulder. Sounds not ideal, but Fisher is practicing fully this week. Sounds like the Colts should have him back for their must-win game against the Jaguars.
David Bakhtiari (knee) hasn't played all season. But the Packers have activated him and he's been practicing; Green Bay might have him available in Week 18. They've been without Billy Turner (knee) for the last month, but a chance he, too, is available in the playoffs. Rust issues would be the only concern with those guys; Dennis Kelly would fill in if Turner can't go. Yosh Nijman, who's filled in for Bakhtiari, is another possibility -- nice depth on this line.
Not so coincidentally, a lot of the league's playoff teams feature the league's better lines. A whole bunch of clubs that have lesser lines were eliminated from the playoff picture long ago.
The table below ranks those playoff lines, including the teams contending for the final playoff spots in the NFC (49ers, Saints) and AFC (Colts, Chargers, Raiders). Yes, I took the liberty of leaving out the Steelers and Ravens, technically alive for the playoffs but needing the Colts to lose at Jacksonville for one of them to get in. It's possible. Let's just say if the Steelers or Ravens were included in this table, they'd be near the bottom. (With the Ravens, injuries have been more of a factor, with Ronnie Stanley missing most of the season.)
|PLAYOFF OFFENSIVE LINES|