A lot can happen between now and six weeks from now. It will be week 15, two games before the end of the 2017 NFL season. That’s how long Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is expected to last with the final week of that suspension being the week the Cowboys face the Raiders.
When I say a lot can happen, primarily I’m talking about with regard to the Raiders. By then, the Raiders could be out of playoff contention altogether, at which point Elliott’s participation wouldn’t mean much from the Raiders’ point of view. But should the Raiders still be holding out hope of securing a spot in the playoffs, it could be pretty substantial.
As a rookie last season Elliott led the NFL in rushing by a WIDE margin. His 1631 rushing yards was 318 yards more than the next highest rushing total. He hasn’t slowed down this season as he leads the league with 97.9 yards per game, putting him on pace for similar numbers to his league-leading rushing totals last season.
This suspension has been looming all season, but with appeals by both sides, dragged on just long enough to work out perfectly for the Raiders.
Elliott was granted a stay last week so he not only ran all over the Raiders’ division rival AFC West leading Chiefs, but ensured his suspension would last through his team’s meeting with the Raiders — something no one foresaw happening at the beginning of the season.
Elliott has been granted an expedited appeal and the ruling which would occur on December 1; four weeks into the suspension. But it’s considered highly unlikely to be overturned at that point.
Update 11/15: Elliott has dropped his appeal and will serve his suspension.
Replacing Elliott primarily during his time away will be Alfred Morris, but with Elliott out, former Raiders 7th overall pick Darren McFadden — who spent the season inactive for every game up to this point — will see time as well. Having him fresh (or healthy at all) late in the season could be a nice bonus for them. He’s appeared in just 3 games since the 2015 season.