Carroll: Playoff Teams

Welcome to the playoffs. Now that we've eliminated 20 teams, we'll do the Injury Report a little differently. We'll cover each team left with a chance at Miami, keeping our focus on the fantasy implications of injuries. Sure, you can use this "for entertainment purposes" or to figure out if your team is going to have their fortunes change due to the loss of a player. There's no time for recovery now unless your team is one of the lucky four that got a bye. Those now get a decided advantage, one that the "rust factor" doesn't tarnish. Let's take a look at the playoff injuries:

SEAHAWKS: No team is going to be more affected by injuries than the Seahawks. The defensive backfield is down both starting corners and faces the Cowboys, a team that creates matchup problems for everyone. One observer said that after the loss of Kelly Herndon, the Seattle backfield looked like "someone was playing them on Madden at the rookie setting." Herndon's broken ankle combined with the Marcus Trufant high ankle sprain and it's clear that this is a big problem. Add in that even the backup, Jimmy Williams, is out with a knee sprain and it's worse. Their speedy LB, LeRoy Hill, left the game with a concussion and will be evaluated throughout the week, though early indications are that he will play. D.J. Hackett is less clear. While early indications are that he should play, a strained groin forced Matt Hasselbeck's new favorite target out of the game and his loss could be devastating, especially if Darrell Jackson is not able to go and if Marcus Robinson isn't added. All this is just the acute problem. The Seahawks are still dealing with a hobbled Shaun Alexander who has proven effective even injured and a mix-and-match line that alone could explain why the Seahawks are down from last year.

COWBOYS: Once again, the Cowboys allow me to make a point. This team is in this column in large part due to their team health. While data is very difficult to find going back far enough, it appears that Bill Parcells holds some kind of advantage in keeping his players healthy. He's changed teams and trainers without changing the fact that his teams keep their players on the field. I don't know why, but maybe someone who's been watching him does or maybe it's something we can watch for if Parcells sticks around. The team has no significant injuries and figures to go as far as its talent takes it.