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2023 NFL Week 9 Injury Takeaways: Who's Been Hurt the Most?

In Week 9, quarterbacks such as Jaren Hall, Clayton Tune, Aidan O’Connell and Tyson Bagent all drew starts because of injury. I’m sure every team feels like they have had to overcome injuries to marquee players and positions during the 2023 season. 

At the halfway point of the NFL season, it’s a great time to look at which teams have endured the most injuries — not only at the number of games missed by players but also at how valuable the players they have had to replace are. To quantify that, we will look at the Total Points lost due to injuries in 2023 (using each player’s last year of games as a measure of their per-game value). For this, we’ll only use injuries sustained after roster cutdown day at the end of the preseason.

Total Points takes nearly everything SIS measures about a play and uses it to evaluate each player on a scale that allows us to compare them more easily. That scale is expected scoreboard points, so a player who averages two Total Points per game roughly contributes (or prevents) two points per game to his team.

Most Total Points Lost to Injury Through Week 9

    Teams Total Points Lost Total Games Missed
Bears 69.4 76
Panthers 67.7 62
Jets 63.0 50
Browns 61.1 30
Texans 60.5 57
Patriots 59.9 67
Lions 55.6 67
Ravens 52.6 53
Giants 51.7 52
Dolphins 49.0 49

There are plenty of takeaways from this list. The one that immediately jumps out is the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens’ success on the season. Having a combined 13-4 record while sitting on the above list is impressive. The other top eight teams combined have a winning percentage of .382, showing how difficult it is to win when having to overcome losses to valuable players.

The Lions’ most significant losses have been in the secondary and the offensive line. Penei Sewell is the only starting offensive lineman who has played every game so far for Detroit. Sewell being the mainstay has made the offensive line shuffling more manageable, because he currently ranks first in the NFL in points earned on pass-blocking snaps.

Some of the Ravens’ injuries have allowed other players to step up. S Geno Stone has emerged as a difference-maker on the back end and leads the NFL with six interceptions. Stone also ranks third among safeties in the NFL, with teammate Kyle Hamilton above him in EPA/target against.

The Cleveland Browns have one of the highest Total Points lost to injury but have far fewer total games missed than every other team on the list. That shows what type of impact players they have been playing without; Deshaun Watson, Nick Chubb and Jack Conklin headline the key players they have been without for most of the season. Thanks to a historic defense that leads the NFL in EPA/pass play (-0.28), EPA/run play (-0.21) and sack percentage (10.3 percent), they have been able to overcome those offensive losses and have a winning record at the midway point of the season.

As you may have guessed, the biggest reason the New York Jets are on this list is the loss of QB Aaron Rodgers. Seeing how the Jets' offense in 2023 operates compared with the 2021 Green Bay Packers when Nathaniel Hackett was the offensive coordinator shows how dumbed down the offense has been. Although this is a tricky comparison because Rodgers had a different surrounding cast, you would think Hackett would want to run the offense similarly.

Motion % RPO % Stacked Box Run %
2021 Packers 53% (6th) 20% (4th) 21% (28th)
2023 Jets 35% (28th) 7% (25th) 39% (8th)

Less movement in the offense and fewer opportunities for the quarterback to make quick-play decisions on his own have the defenses selling out toward the line of scrimmage. This shows how the Jets are missing Rodgers’ arm talent and his brain and an overall feel for how a successful offense should run. 

A few of the other top individual players with the most points lost due to injury this season are Justin Fields (Chicago Bears), Andrew Thomas (New York Giants), Jaycee Horn (Carolina Panthers), Budda Baker (Arizona Cardinals) and David Bakhtiari (Green Bay Packers).

In the only game Bakhtiari has played this season, the Packers scored 38 points. In the seven games he’s missed since the opener, they have yet to score more than 24 and have averaged 17.4 points per game.

On the other end of the spectrum, we can look at teams with the fewest points lost to injury this season. These teams have been relatively healthy this season and haven’t had to fill a lot of significant losses.

Fewest Total Points Lost to Injury Through Week 9

    Teams Total Points Lost Total Games Missed
Bengals 10.1 32
Jaguars 11.4 35
Buccaneers 11.7 38
Falcons 13.0 32
Rams 13.8 60

You can’t blame injury if you’re in this range of teams and lack success; you would then have to look at the quality of players and coaches that make up the organization. 

Besides the Los Angeles Rams, all of these teams are vying for the playoffs. The Rams have lost many more games than the other more fortunate teams, but the players getting hurt haven’t been as significant on average. Cooper Kupp’s injury came before the season, and Matthew Stafford has only missed one game so far.

We look forward to revisiting these tables at the end of the season to see the trends that continue and what new ones emerge as we enter the second half of the season. Injuries play a significant role in the NFL, and quantifying the production you’ve lost can help paint a better picture of the type of season a particular team is having.

Alex Vigderman, Brett Barnes and Zebadyah Ataelseed contributed to this article.