The New England Patriots have placed defensive tackle Dominique Easley on the injured reserve and they are planning on moving running back LeGarrette Blount to the reserve at any moment. Patriots fans complain about how the injury bug has really affected the team, while other fans say every team is dealing with injuries.
Well, not all injuries are equal and not every team is dealing with injuries at the same rate as New England.
The website Man Games Lost tracks the number of contests missed by every player on every team to tally how injuries affect every team. Unsurprisingly, teams that are currently in the playoffs have benefit from fewer injuries, while others absolutely hammered by bad luck are generally looking towards the draft.
The following is a chart from Man Games Lost that compares a team's number of wins to the number of games lost to injury. The size of the dot represents the value of the players lost to injury.
Cincinnati is difficult to find, but they are the tiny dot immediately to the left of the Denver dot. The Bengals have had such extremely high injury luck for key players to this point in the season that the graphic can't even show them on the chart.
There are three teams vying for a bye week in the AFC (Patriots, Bengals, Broncos), and two teams with a shot in joining the Panthers with a bye in the NFC (Cardinals, Packers). You'll note that one team is unlike any of the others:
The Patriots have defied the odds by not just remaining competitive, but by dominating the field. There's no question that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has the inside edge at winning Coach of the Year due to Carolina's unblemished record, but no coach has had as much success in the face of as much adversity as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.