Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will reportedly miss his sixth straight game of the regular season due to a nagging thigh injury.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule told media Wednesday that McCaffrey was doubtful to play on Sunday. After McCaffrey missed Wednesday's practice, Rhule said his Pro Bowl running back would need some more practice time under his belt before getting back to game action.
That means Mike Davis will likely continue starting for the Panthers. In McCaffrey's extended absence, Davis has rushed for over 600 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
McCaffrey, who led the league in total yards gained from scrimmage (2,392) as a 2019-20 First-Team All-Pro selection, hasn't been as effective playing against Washington in the past. In his two games against the Burgundy and Gold, both losses, McCaffrey notched 168 total yards and no scores.
Still, in what'll be another must-win contest for Washington, McCaffrey's absence comes as welcome news for defensive game-planning. Jack Del Rio's defensive will avoid having to slow down football's best pass-catcher out of the backfield.
Del Rio's defense has also played some top-notch football during the team's four-game winning streak. Only three teams give up fewer yards per game heading into Week 16 action (Rams, Steelers, Saints). Though Washington ranks towards the middle of the pack when it comes to defending the running (13th), Rivera and company would probably always take going up against Davis rather than a fully recovered McCaffrey.
Now with Chase Young officially named a Pro Bowler in his debut season, along with stalwarts like linebacker and the team's leading tackler Jon Bostic and leading pass-rusher in Montez Sweat, the Burgundy and Gold have relied on their defensive front seven to provide an impact.
With a one-game lead on the NFC East, Washington will want to pick up their seventh win of the season before playing Philadelphia the final week of the season.
Though perhaps an expected update that McCaffrey likely won't suit up against Washington, it's still a beneficial one.