The Oakland Raiders’ already slim playoff chances took a hit on Saturday when the team announced that running back Josh Jacobs will miss Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos with an illness and shoulder injury.
The rookie out of Alabama had not practiced all week and was previously listed as doubtful.
Jacobs underwent a procedure on Wednesday to treat a skin infection on his leg, but that was not the biggest reason for him to miss the regular-season finale. Head coach Jon Gruden said that his availability would come down to his fractured right shoulder, which has kept him out for two of the Raiders’ previous three games.
How can the Raiders replace Jacobs?
Despite the injury, Jacobs has put together an excellent season, and he remains the frontrunner to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
A Day 1 starter, Jacobs racked up 1,150 yards, which is 374 more than any other rookie. His seven rushing touchdowns also lead rookies, along with his 53 first downs and eight rushes of 20+ yards.
DeAndre Washington figured to fill in for Jacobs, and he racked up 138 yards and a pair of scores in his two fill-in starts this month. Jalen Richard also figures to factor in as a pass-catching back.
What do the Raiders need to do to make the playoffs?
The race for the second AFC wild card is fairly crowded and convoluted, but the Raiders need to beat the Broncos to finish .500 and have any shot at the playoffs. At that point, it’s all up to luck.
The Houston Texans have to beat the Tennessee Titans at home. The well-rested Baltimore Ravens have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. And the Indianapolis Colts have to knock off the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road.
All four games will kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET, so Jacobs and Raiders fans will have a lot to keep track of at once.
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