Here are the main injuries we're monitoring after a very busy Week 9 Sunday.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (collarbone): Eagles fans, if you liked Mark Sanchez's backup performance against the Houston Texans (15-of-22 for 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions), you're about to get more of that. If you didn't ... well, pray that Chip Kelly has a way to make the Sanchize look like a top-tier quarterback. Foles, who was hurt when he was sacked by Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus, is projected to be out at least a month with a broken collarbone, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, and Sanchez would be the man to replace him.
The Eagles' quarterback has been under attack for most of the season as his relatively immobile style does not mesh with the injuries that have seriously depleted the Eagles' offensive line. While Sanchez is a bit more mobile, his accuracy and decision-making could be an issue in the long term. The exact length of Foles' time away from the field will be determined by an MRI on Monday.
DeMeco Ryans, LB, Philadelphia Eagles (Achilles tendon): Ryans played for the Texans from 2006 through '11, and it was a measure of the respect that the veteran holds throughout the NFL that players from both teams came out to give him support when Ryans reportedly suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' win over Houston.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with DeMeco right now," Texans center Chris Myers said. "Obviously you saw the reaction from both sides, both teams, all of the fans when he went down. With an injury like that you just want to be able to have him be OK. I hope it is not too serious. Obviously he made his name for himself here in Houston. When he was here he was our captain. We call him ‘cap’ and he will always be that in my mind. When you cut down to X’s and O’s we are playing against him. When something like that happens you are there for him."
Ryans, who was injured as he returned a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception, will likely be out for the rest of the season, which is a big, big hit for Philadelphia's defense. Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho will likely take the snaps in Ryans' absence.
"You know what DeMeco means to this team, so I think he’s the true leader," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said. "We talk about it all the time. He’s Mufasa, you know, he’s our guy. When a warrior goes down, you pick up his shield and go play in honor of him and I think that’s what our guys did."
Todd Herremans, OG, Philadelphia Eagles (ankle): When asked about the severity of Herremans' injury and how long he might be out, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly replied, "Todd hurt his ankle. I think it’s the ankle on the same side as the elbow so he’s kind of a one-armed one-legged man."
Herremans was already dealing with a torn biceps, and he had to leave the Texans game with an ankle issue. Philly's line should be better as center Jason Kelce and guard Evan Mathis cycle back in, but losing Herremans would obviously be a step back. He's one of the best in the game.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (groin): Foster, who has firmly established himself as the pointman in Houston's offense with another incredible season, left the loss to the Eagles in the third quarter with a non-contact groin injury that has some in the Texans organization feeling "pessimistic" about his return to form. As head coach Bill O'Brien noted after the game, the bye week comes at a good time for the Texans. If Foster is out for any length of time, rookie Alfred Blue becomes the main man.
Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers (knee): Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after the Steelers' Sunday night win over the Baltimore Ravens that Polamalu suffered a sprained knee late in the first half.
Ryan Shazier, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (ankle): Shazier also suffered an ankle injury in the first half. The rookie linebacker was in a walking boot after the game, but the injury is considered minor.
Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos (back): Welker took a big hit to the back on a play that turned into a Peyton Manning interception in Denver's blowout loss to the Patriots on Sunday, but from all reports, he may have returned to the game if things weren't out of hand. After the game, Welker said that the hit was part of a "bang-bang" play, and gave no other prognosis regarding his availability. The Broncos travel to Oakland this week for a game against the Raiders.
Nate Irving, LB, Denver Broncos (knee): The news could be worse for Irving, one of Denver's truly unheralded defensive stars, who suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter of the Patriots game. The initial diagnosis, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, is a sprained MCL that isn't considered season-ending. This has been a breakout season for the third-round pick in 2011 from North Carolina State.
"I don't remember how it happened," Irving said said after the game, per the Denver Post. "Not a good break. Not a good day."