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Stephen Nicholas Hurt, Uncertain To Play Against Raiders

The Falcons' starting outside linebacker is banged up.

Kevin C. Cox - Getty Images

It wasn't all good news and moonbows coming out of Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, the Falcons may be missing Stephen Nicholas against the Raiders.

Nicholas had a lights-out start to the reason and has remained a terrific starter for the Falcons throughout the first five games, so this would be a pretty significant loss. At the moment, he has 39 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.

The ankle will be re-evaluated at mid-week, which gives me some hope. Watch the injury report closely.

The Falcons have been relying heavily on Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon out of the nickel package this season, which they've used extensively to help shut down opposing passing attacks. If Nicholas can't go, that leaves Mike Peterson as the likeliest starter outside, and Methusaleh Pete is quite simply a step down. If he has to miss the game, the Falcons may just choose to abandon the nickel for a while, double down on stopping Darren McFadden and dare Carson Palmer to beat them. Actually, that sounds like a good idea regardless of whether he plays or not.

Antone Smith was also hurt in the game and may miss at least his third contest of the season. Michael Palmer will not return, which may mean we haven't seen the last of Joe Hawley trying to scoop up passes. Yikes.

Weigh in on the injury report.