Week 16 actives/inactives: Jones, Newton both starting; Haden sitting
Who's in and who's out for Week 16 of the NFL season? We're tracking all the key actives and inactives for this Sunday's action.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys (hand): The league's leading rusher underwent surgery on his left hand following Week 15, and he'll suit up on Sunday, with Dallas in position to clinch the NFC East with a win over Indianapolis. How much Murray actually sees the field is up in the air, with the Cowboys reportedly worried about how the hand injury will affect his pass-blocking abilities.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills (collarbone): Still very much alive in the wild-card race, the Bills get Spiller back off IR-designated to return just in time for Week 16. Spiller has missed seven games since initially suffering the injury.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons (hip): The Falcons lost last week with Jones sidelined, so they now have to finish 2-0 to get a shot at the postseason. Jones is clearly at less than full strength, but he'll try to help out Sunday.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texas (ankle): Hopkins missed practice Wednesday through Friday, leaving him as a game-time decision at best. The extra rest paid off, which is good news for Case Keenum, the Texans' fourth starting quarterback of the season.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs (flu): The Chiefs are in must-win mode Sunday at Pittsburgh. Fortunately for them, Bowe will be available after sitting out the entire week with an illness. Bowe's 51 receptions are second on the team to Travis Kelce's 56, although neither Bowe nor any other Kansas City receiver has scored a touchdown yet this season.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (back): Less than two weeks removed from a rather serious car accident, Newton will be back in Carolina's lineup Sunday. The Panthers' quarterback already has been wearing a protective flak jacket this season, on account of a rib injury, and he will don that extra padding again.
“He did a lot of turning and twisting. We put a lot of pressure on it," Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said of Newton's practice schedule this week, via the Charlotte Observer. "We had him do some things on purpose, and he seemed to be right on track. He’s had no ill effects every morning."
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Jets (toe): A boost for the Jets up front comes in the form of Wilkerson, their anchor along the D-line. He has played just once since Week 10 due to turf toe.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts (hamstring): It would have been a minor upset to see Hilton in the lineup -- he missed multiple practices this week. Also, the Colts already have the AFC South wrapped up and will need a lot of help to reach a first-round bye. It's a break for the Cowboys instead. Hilton has 82 catches and has been targeted 129 times by Andrew Luck this season, both team highs.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots (shoulder) and Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots (head): Can New England dodge the Jets' upset attempt minus a couple of key offensive contributors? Look for former SI cover boy Jonas Gray to see another uptick in carries, while Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen will be asked to fill Edelman's shoes when the Patriots take to the air.
Joe Haden, CB, Browns (shoulder): Cleveland was eliminated from playoff contention by San Diego's Saturday win, meaning there's little reason to push Haden. His absence could be promising for the Panthers' passing attack.
Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers (knee) and Ike Taylor, CB, Steelers (knee, arm): Potentially more good news for Bowe and the Chiefs' offense. Pittsburgh will be without two longtime starters in the secondary -- both Polamalu and Taylor had been listed as doubtful headed into Sunday.