Written by: Dr. Matt Provencher

Injury Round Up

The Banged Up Score (BUS)

By Dr. Matt Provencher

FOX Sports Injury & Performance Analyst

When it comes to success in the NFL, health can tell us a lot.

Teams that can stay less banged-up often make it to the playoffs and win championships.

As usual in 2022, some teams have been forced to pivot and adjust when game-changing athletes have been injured. Players such as T.J. WattJavonte WilliamsDak Prescott and Trey Lance are just a few of the notable names who already have felt the impact of injuries this year.

Going into last week, the five healthiest teams based on The Predictors' "Banged Up Score" (BUS™) — which includes a variety of factors such as injury reports, IR designations and factors that consider the specific players included on those reports — were as follows:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars — BUS: 93.9 / Record: 2-2
Week 5 opponent: vs. TexansSunday, 1 p.m. ET

2. Minnesota Vikings — BUS: 88.5 / Record: 3-1
Week 5 opponent: vs. Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App

3. Green Bay Packers — BUS: 86.7 / Record: 3-1
Week 5 opponent: vs. Giants in London, Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET

4. Kansas City Chiefs — BUS: 84.1 / Record: 3-1
Week 5 opponent: vs. RaidersMonday, 8:15 p.m. ET

5. Philadelphia Eagles — BUS: 82.5 / Record: 4-0
Week 5 opponent: at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App

If there is one common theme about the teams listed above, it’s the fact every one of them is at least tied for their division lead.

Yes, we understand that at 2-2 there are a lot of factors in play and that there is still a long season ahead. But it remains true that health plays a major role in performance and outcomes, and that includes when players come back from injury and how they do upon return.

NFL Healthiest Teams Rankings entering Week 4, per @sportsdocmatt:

3 GB
4 KC
10 MIA
11 LV
12 CIN
13 SEA
14 CAR
15 LAR
16 TB
17 WAS
18 NYG
19 ATL
20 HOU
21 CHI
22 DEN
23 NE
24 LAC
25 BUF
26 ARI
27 TEN
28 NO
29 CLE
30 DET
31 SF
32 BAL pic.twitter.com/NYTL3ufJKI

— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 2, 2022

The Jaguars have been playing better than they have in recent years, and both Doug Pederson's coaching and having better talent on the field have something to do with that. They were also very banged up last season, with players such as D.J. CharkTravis Etienne and James Robinson all finding their way onto the injured reserve list.

The Packers have been able to stay healthy, and despite trading Davante Adams, they have managed a 3-1 record that could turn into 6-1 based on their strength of schedule over the next few games. You also can’t forget the Eagles, who are the only remaining undefeated team and are staying healthy as they do it.

On the flip side, some teams haven’t been so lucky. Injuries have plagued them, including holdovers from last season.

Some have had guys step up into starting roles (and in the case of the 49ers, back into starting roles) and shine, while others find themselves lost on what to do at those positions.

The five most banged-up teams going into last week, starting with the most injured were:

1. Baltimore Ravens — BUS: 62.6 / Record: 2-2
Week 5 opponent: vs. BengalsSunday, 1 p.m. ET

2. San Francisco 49ers — BUS: 62.8 / Record: 2-2
Week 5 opponent: at PanthersSunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

3. Detroit Lions — BUS: 64.3 / Record: 1-3
Week 5 opponent: at PatriotsSunday, 1 p.m. ET

4. Cleveland Browns — BUS: 64.4 / Record: 2-2
Week 5 opponent: vs. BrownsSunday, 1 p.m. ET

5. New Orleans Saints — BUS: 65.2 / Record: 1-3
Week 5 opponent: vs. Seahawks, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App

As we take a deeper look into unhealthy teams, another theme emerges. The teams listed are either at the bottom of their respective divisions or are in a division where they are in a three- or four-team tie.

The 49ers could very well have a worse record if they didn’t have a starting QB as their backup, easily sliding Jimmy Garoppolo back onto the field after Trey Lance had his season-ending injury.

The Saints could possibly have a few more in the win column if it weren’t for injuries to Michael ThomasJarvis Landry and Jameis Winston.

Detroit is still putting up offensive numbers, but think where the Lions could be if they didn’t have playmakers such as D’Andre SwiftJameson WilliamsAmon-Ra St. Brown and Chark sitting on their bench. Injuries can be overcome at times, but prove every year to crush the playoff dreams of many teams.

The thing to remember is that as the season rolls on, injuries become more and more important. Little bumps and bruises become performance decreasing nagging soreness. Mild swelling turns into moderate to severe swelling. Things start to add up and records start to go down, while healthy teams emerge as winners.

Game of the Week preview

That brings us to this week’s BUS game of the week, the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the Arizona Cardinals (Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

The #Cardinals are debuting their alternate black jerseys and helmets against the Eagles on Sunday 👀🔥

📺: FOX 4:25pm ET | 📸: @AZCardinals pic.twitter.com/fCYbvK2iTi

— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 6, 2022

Philadelphia has started strong this season, sitting atop the NFC East at 4-0. Jalen Hurts is leading his offense with 1,120 yards passing and 205 yards rushing, making him No. 2 on the team in rushing yards behind Miles Sanders (356).

His targets include newcomer A.J. Brown, who has hauled in 25 receptions for 405 yards, as well as DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.

The Eagles defense is first in sacks and 10th in points allowed. This unit shows up, makes plays and lets the offense go to work.

On the other side, Arizona has struggled. Sitting at 2-2 in the NFC West, though, the Cardinals are in OK shape given that the rest of division is also 2-2.

Kyler Murray has shown that he can escape the pocket and keep plays alive. He has 91 rushing yards through four games, which is only 18 less than last year around the same time, plus 991 yards passing. James Conner only has one TD through four games compared to four last year at this time.

The addition of big-play receiver Marquise Brown has been good, as he has logged 339 yards on 30 receptions, but the suspension of DeAndre Hopkins for PEDs still looms. Luckily, he will be eligible to play in Week 7.

The Arizona defense has allowed 25.8 points per game. They have four sacks through four games which is the fewest in the league. The departure of Chandler Jones has caused Arizona's pass rush to struggle some. In Week 4, the Cardinals defense was able to find some light against the Carolina Panthers forcing three turnovers, but the question remains … can they sustain the momentum?

Regarding health, the Eagles have remained among the top five healthiest teams this season. The injury report has included some impact players, including Avonte Maddox and Boston Scott, but they have been able to overcome these injuries while they are out. Injuries to Derek Barnett, and prior to the season to players like Brett Toth and Tyree Jackson, have certainly affected depth at positions.

But overall, Philadelphia has stayed relatively healthy, never dropping below a BUS of 82.5.

Though the Eagles have seen small variability — 89.2 BUS in Week 1, 85.9 in Week 2, 87.1 in Week 3 and 82.5 in Week 4 — they are steadily winning games with their best talent on the field.

The Cardinals' health, on the other hand, has found them on the wrong half of the health rankings. With injuries to key players such as Watt, Brown and Byron Murphy, the team's efficiency has dwindled. Missing players such as Rondale Moore and A.J. Green has given Murray fewer weapons on the field.

When is Dak coming back? How was JJ Watt able to play this week? Will we see OBJ this season? And when will we see Tua again?@JayGlazer answers your NFL Week 4 questions in this #AskGlazer pic.twitter.com/qTokbAPuE1

— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 3, 2022

Arizona started off the year with a 74.8 BUS and has only gotten worse since — 74.2 in Week 2, 73.8 in Week 3 and 68.3 last week. At 2-2 despite all of this, the Cardinals have a good chance to improve as they hopefully get players back.

As we enter Week 5, the injury scale is tipped in the Eagles' favor. The Cardinals will have to be creative if they don’t want to drop below .500.

As we approach Sunday, make sure to check out thepredictors.com, as well as @NFLonFOX on Twitter, to get the latest news on which players will be healthy enough to play.

Renowned orthopedist Dr. Matt Provencher and his company, ThePredictors.com, deliver data-driven injury insights to football fans. In this first-of-a-kind role as Athlete Injury and Performance Analyst for FOX Sports’ digital platforms, Provencher provides important predictive player health and recovery information about post-injury performance, the impact of weather, field conditions and more.