From this point on for 2020, all NFL teams will be under the intensive COVID protocol — instead of, you know, the ones who kept infecting each other — as Week 11 NFL matchups are mostly posted at the sportsbook and the season plods on. Our NFL injury report details the 100+ players with asterisks hung by their names, and figure out who’s really playing and who will have an impact on their respective NFL betting odds and give you NFL picks, both side and total, for each game.
Philadelphia Eagles (47½) at Cleveland Browns (-3)
Last week, the Eagles came into Sunday as the betting market’s darling, returning a number of offensive players from injury. Their return seemed a little premature once they hit the field and managed to score only 17 points on the Giants.
This week, they’re contending with a revolving COVID-IR door that’s consumed a few players. First, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside tested positive and he’s now on the reserve list, joining RB Corey Clement and DE Vinny Curry, who are on the list as close contacts (for separate exposures). WR John Hightower was listed with an illness, but it’s apparently unrelated.
As for traditional, old-fashioned physical injuries, the Eagles placed back up CB Craig James (shoulder) on IR last week. They’ve only declared special-teams’ S Rudy Ford (hamstring) as out. The team is optimistic about the return this week of LG Isaac Seumalo, who they activated from the IR Friday. His return would compliment that of LT Lane Johnson last week.
Also, don’t expect TE Zach Ertz on the field this week even though he’s now active. It’s suggested he’ll be practicing for the week before this return.
Just as things are looking promising for the Browns, with RB Nick Chubb returning to action last game, they pop a tire in a COVID pothole. They might have even bent the rim, as the facility shut down on Monday, and by the end of the week, they moved DE Myles Garrett to the COVID-IR (IR-C) putting him out for at least this Sunday.
Also slated to miss this week, still on IR-C are RG Chris Hubbard and FB Andy Janovich. Two other players should be lifted from that list on Saturday, with RT Jack Conklin and K Cody Parkey set to clear if they test negative.
If Conklin can be taken from the IR-C list by game time, the Browns will have dodged an O-line bullet that had LG Joel Bitonio (elbow), C J.C. Tretter (knee) and RG Wyatt Teller (calf) on the injury report leading into Friday. Now, Bitonio and Tretter are cleared of a designation, and the team expects to have Teller ready despite the questionable tag.
In other injuries, LB Mack Wilson (hip) and DT Sheldon Richardson (knee) are both questionable game-day decisions. They also expect backup OLB Jacob Phillips (knee) to return to play this week.
Once again, bettors came in support of the Eagles, assuming they’re going to improve with enough practice for their starters. Further, the Browns are in worse shape than last week with a number of outstanding IR-C issues still pending.
Expect their game plan to be ground-ball/pound-ball and a correlation between a Browns’ win and the under, or an Eagles’ win and the over. We’ll take Cleveland -3 at the cheap price here. Their O-line issues should be in check and even without Garrett should be able to handle Philadelphia. By the same reasoning, lean under 47½ and don’t expect it will go any higher.
Atlanta Falcons (49) at New Orleans Saints (-3½)
No doubt an effect of coming off their bye week, the Atlanta Falcons have no players with an injury designation. That means the return of WR Calvin Ridley, though the team has to play coy about it and say they’ll monitor him through Saturday. The lack of Falcons’ news is more than offset by the mess the Saints are in.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints dragged QB Drew Brees to IR on Friday. He kicked and screamed the entire way, but he’s out for at least three weeks. Even before making the IR-move official, New Orleans’ coach Sean Payton has been playing media pundits like a ukulele on who he’s putting under center. Stick a thumbtack in the debate between Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston for the moment; it’s all we’ll hear between now and Sunday.
The Saints otherwise improve on their injury profile as the week comes to an end, with RB Alvin Kamara and (remarkably) WR Tre’Quan Smith removed from the injury list. On the downside, the team ruled out TE Josh Hill and, for the second consecutive week, RB Dwayne Washington.
The only questionable Saints player coming in is CB Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) who was limited in practice the entire week. We’d expect him to go. Alternating quarterback theory is still a developing story for New Orleans, but we’ll guess that the earlier report — that Taysom Hill will start with the intention of playing all the snaps, with Winston as a traditional backup — is correct. So we also expect Payton to say that’s not (necessarily) the case until the teams come out to the field for pregame warmups.
At some point, you’d expect the line to fall low enough to bring support for the Saints. It’s gone from -6½ down to -3½ and we’re still waiting. We’ll chase what’s left of the points and lean Atlanta +3½, though the moneyline of +165 is probably a better play. The 1-7 Falcons beat the 7-1 Saints, 26-9, last year in the Superdome. Brees played quarterback that day.
As for the total, slight lean to under 49½. Who knows what kind of game plan we’ll see with the introduction of a full-time Taysom Hill.
Detroit Lions (OTB) at Carolina Panthers (OTB)
First off, QB Matthew Stafford will play with an injured thumb on his throwing hand, an apparent partial ligament tear. His Friday practice cleared him for Sunday’s action, and it’s assumed his performance hasn’t suffered enough to cast an eye at backup Chase Daniel.
Stafford will be lacking his favorite receiver again this week as WR Kenny Golladay passes what would have been the IR threshold sitting on his injured hip. The team also deemed both WR Danny Amendola (hip) and RB D’Andre Swift (concussion) unavailable. Swift was a bit of a midweek shocker as he started the practice week concussion free.
The Lions list several players questionable. Among them, DE Da’Shawn Hand (groin), MLB Jarrad Davis (knee) and DE Austin Bryant (thigh) were all limited during the practice week. While they are likely to play and should be checked to see if they’re inactive, it’s not as promising for S Will Harris who showed up on Friday’s report, limited with a groin injury.
Other players probable to return this Sunday after missing the last game are DT Nick Williams (shoulder) and LB Jarrad Davis (knee), along with RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) despite Vaitai still having a questionable designation.
Coach Matt Rhule says that he’s not sure if QB Teddy Bridgewater will start but he sure hopes so. If not, the football world will get more tape on P.J. Walker or Will Grier.
What is certain, whoever’s under center won’t be able to dump the ball to RB Christian McCaffrey, as his season is shortened due to an AC-joint injury. As good as out, known here as “doubtful,” are LT Russell Okung (calf) and RG John Miller (knee) on the O-line. They played without Okung last week and now have to shore up the line without Miller, who got dinged on the same play as injured Bridgewater last Sunday. Also on defense, the team declared CB Donte Jackson (toe) doubtful as well.
The Panthers list a half-dozen others as questionable, all having limited practice during the week. They are: CB Rasul Douglas (ankle), DE Yetur Gross-Matos (shoulder), OLB Marquis Haynes (shoulder), TE Chris Manhertz (shoulder), MLB Tahir Whitehead (ribs) and S Sam Franklin (ankle). Check the inactives to see if any are benched, but we’d expect all to be able to play as they did last week.
Post a line you filthy animals! While we wait patiently for the sportsbook to post odds for rotation number 455/456, let’s give Teddy a fistful of points more than P.J. Walker and just make Detroit a short road dog. Are we that worried it’ll be Will Grier?
And we wait …
New England Patriots (-2) at Houston Texans (49)
New England Patriots
Fill it up, Bill! Put the entire roster on a list. We’ll chew through it. Because they’re the Patriots, there are 15 players listed questionable, all practiced limited throughout the week, and maybe three of them won’t be active on Sunday.
New to the injury report, meaning they played last week, are DT Lawrence Guy (shoulder), DT Adam Butler (shoulder), LB Terez Hall (shoulder), WR Matthew Slater (knee), and WR N’Keal Harry (shoulder).
The others are all players who are in the exact same position this week as last: limited practice, questionable designation and went on to play in full Week 10. They are: K Nick Folk (back), DE Deatrich Wise (knee), LB John Simon (elbow), RG Shaq Mason (calf), LG Joe Thuney (ankle), LT Isaiah Wynn (ankle), RB Damien Harris (ankle) and TE Ryan Izzo (hamstring).
The Patriots’ injury smokescreen grows boring. Check the inactives at game time and we’ll set the over-under of benched players from this list at 2½. Two names of note to pay attention to on that list would be LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (groin) and CB Stephon Gilmore (knee) who the team hopes to return this week.
Finally, expect the Pats to activate RB Sony Michel at the last second on Saturday to have him ready. Do not expect the same for WR Julian Edleman, as he is likely weeks away.
Since last week, the team dispatched LB Dylan Cole (back) and RB David Johnson (concussion) to IR. Add to the missing bodies this week, S Michael Thomas declared out with a shoulder injury.
Houston lists seven players questionable for Sunday. Foremost among the names of interest are RB Duke Johnson (illness), P Bryan Anger (quadriceps), and LT Laremy Tunsil (illness), all of whom practiced in a limited fashion on Friday and should be expected to play. Coach Romeo Crennel says he has his fingers crossed for Anger, which is a terrible strategy for preparing for not having a punter — so we’ll check on Saturday to see what the Texans are up to on special teams and O-line. Tunsil also didn’t practice on Friday, but the team says his illness is non-COVID and they’re hoping he feels better by Sunday.
Also listed questionable but likely to play again this week are WR Kenny Stills (back) and S Michael Thomas (shoulder). Same for a few players who missed the last game, namely LG Senio Kelemete (concussion), DE Charles Omenihu (leg), and potentially OLB Jacob Martin. Martin is returning from IR-C, but was listed questionable for undisclosed reasons.
It’s hard to imagine there will be much market support for Houston here, but we’ve been wrong plenty before. The only side we’d want here is the Patriots who believe they’re going to win that seventh wildcard spot because Bill Belichick doesn’t know any better. But he knows better than Romeo Crennel, and we’ll lean New England -2 in the battle of oldest-ever coaches.
The move on the total, opening at 47 and now bet up to 49, is baffling. We’ll play under 49 all day long and call this as one of the shorter of the day’s games.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10½) at Jacksonville Jaguars (46)
Pittsburgh returns in better shape this week than last, having cleared a number of players off the IR-C and back into playing shape from last week. This Sunday, they have only a few backups declared out for the game. RB Trey Edmunds (hamstring), LB Jayrone Elliott (illness) and RB Jaylen Samuels (quadriceps) will be inactive.
On the other hand, they’ll be returning a number of players who could not go last Sunday. On the defense, CB Mike Hilton, DE Isaiah Buggs, DE Isaiah Buggs, and NT Tyson Alualu should be back. On offense, they should also return RB Anthony McFarland.
Don’t expect to see DE Chris Wormley. Though he’s been activated, it’s not likely he plays Sunday on a short practice week coming back from IR.
On Monday, Jacksonville named QB Jake Luton the starter. Sadly for him, later in the week, they also declared WR Laviska Shenault out. Also scratched this week is TE James O’Shaughnessy (knee).
They’ll be swapping corners this week on the injury carousel. CB C.J. Henderson (groin) is off to the IR, while CB D.J. Hayden (hamstring) was removed from it. However much a downgrade, it’s expected Hayden will be filling in starting Sunday. Also lost was backup S Josh Jones whose chest did not improve last week, and has been sent to the injured reserve.
Listed questionable and a game-time decision to play are CB Sidney Jones (Achilles) and WR Collin Johnson (hammy). Jones didn’t practice on Friday, and Johnson was limited through the week.
The Jags also return a slew of other names who missed the previous week. OLB Dakota Allen (ankle), DT Doug Costin, backup RB Devine Ozigbo (hamstring), and starting C Brandon Linder (back) should all return to the field.
The early betting market isn’t buying into the plucky Jaguars hype, huh? Having opened as double-digit dogs, there wasn’t a mad scramble for the points, and the line is now 10½. But how do you not suck it up and take the points? Pittsburgh’s practically described the narrative of how the Jags play them tough, the total is super low, Tomlin plays down to crappy competitions — the list goes on.
Play Jacksonville +10½ and a slight lean to over 46 with the hopes that it’s the lazy first-half Pittsburgh team that shows up Sunday. Hope Jake Luton’s good on his feet. And, you know, survives until the end of the game.
Cincinnati Bengals (47) at Washington Football Team (-1½)
Cincinnati already declared RB Joe Mixon out, which helps cut down on a fourth consecutive week of speculation. (Be sure to start Samaje Perine in your fantasy leagues.)
Since last week, the Bengals moved a few players to IR. WR John Ross (foot), CB Darius Phillips (groin) and CB Trae Waynes are all out for an extended period. (Though Waynes was already seen back on the rehab field, they’re still going to be short-handed in the secondary.)
Cleared through practice this week and expected to go are DT Geno Atkins and CB LeShaun Sims.
RG Alex Redmond injured his biceps this week during practice but should start at right tackle despite his questionable designation according to the team. As for RT Fred Johnson, he fell ill on Friday, was limited in practice, and is now listed questionable. He’d just been cleared from the IR-C. That’s allowed coach Zac Taylor to be aloof if Johnson or Bobby Hart, who returns after being scratched last Sunday, will start.
Finally, three other players have been deemed questionable and worth checking on the inactives. WR Mike Thomas (hamstring), DT Xavier Williams (back), and DT Margus Hunt (illness). Hunt, like Fred Johnson, missed Friday’s practice after a full week with the dreaded “illness” description.
Whashington Football Team
Football Team won’t be returning RT Geron Christian to help out their new starting QB Alex Smith, as Christian was dispatched to the injured reserve for a bum knee. The team also lost LG Saahdiq Charles to a dislocated kneecap and the injured reserve.
They’ve also declared four other players out for Sunday’s game. OLB Ryan Anderson (knee), S Deshazor Everett (ankle), backup LT Cornelius Lucas (ankle) and LB Jared Norris (hamstring) won’t be available this week. All but Norris played last week, and each of them left last week’s game early.
Listed questionable, but didn’t play last week and could possibly return to action is WR Dontrelle Inman (hamstring). Hoping to play through his questionable tag like last week is K Dustin Hopkins (groin).
Two last-day adds to the injury report are concerning, as WR Isaiah Wright and C Nick Sundberg appeared on the list Friday, both listed with “illness”. Wright didn’t practice at all, but Sundberg was listed as full. News should emerge on their condition before Sunday if they will be unable to go.
We’d be way more onboard the Bionic Alex Smith bandwagon if the Football Team weren’t still having to shift around their O-line, but we’re still willing to play Washington -1½, especially if the Bengals come in missing defenders.
The total seems about right, so far the sake of making a pick, we’ll lean to the over 47 but would want a better number (and a list of inactive players) before we play it.
Tennessee Titans (49½) at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
Tennessee returns from a long week having played on Thursday night but will be short two players who saw action that night. Starting LG Rodger Saffold (ankle) and backup DE Larrell Murchison (back) will not play.
They’ve also scratched a few other players for a second consecutive week, namely TE MyCole Pruitt (knee), WR Adam Humphries, and CB Adoree’ Jackson who was recently activated from IR but is not yet ready to play. DE Jadeveon Clowney is also out for the second time in three weeks.
The Titans also listed starting C Ben Jones (knee) and special teams CB Kareem Orr (groin) as both questionable, though neither practiced so they should be checked before game time to see if they’re active.
In other moves, the team moved ILB David Long to IR-C. He very likely will not be back for Sunday.
Can you have a Pyrrhic loss? Asking for a Raven. Baltimore got beat up in their game against the Patriots last Sunday night. Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost both TE Nick Boyle and CB Terrell Bonds to injured reserve.
Several starters who weren’t available last game were clearly missed on defense, and things don’t look much more promising this Sunday. Listed as doubtful (and very likely not to play unless we hear developments on the day before the game) are DE Calais Campbell (calf) and NT Brandon Williams (ankle). Two others, also absent from the defense last game, are listed as questionable. LB L.J. Fort (finger) should be a go as he practiced in full throughout the week. CB Jimmy Smith (ankle) was limited at the end of the week and is more of a game-time decision.
With the Ravens’ defensive line in an unusual state of disarray through injury, money came for the Titans in the underdog role — at least once the game finally got posted to the sportsbook on Thursday — then back again to the Ravens.
We really don’t like either team here, but the Titans are less damaged than the Ravens and we’re still catching six, so slight lean to the Titans +6. Same for the total, which is an absurdly high number, to which we’d lean to the over 49½, somehow, in a Titans-Ravens matchup.
Miami Dolphins (-3½) at Denver Broncos (45½)
Someone want to tell Brian Flores it’s rude to provide a simple, clear injury report. People get paid to interpret and reiterate this stuff, you know — and making a list with nobody on it makes it hard to come up with content.
At least LB Kyle Van Noy (hip) and RG Solomon Kindley (foot) are listed as questionable. Van Noy just got off the COVID-IR and Kindley took all the snaps last week. Both were limited in practice through the week and could still play. Check their names on the pre-game inactives list.
The Dolphins will get back RB Matt Breida (hamstring) who missed last week.
Now, Vic Fangio knows how to do up an injury report. Make it messy. Throw in some red herrings. Leave some cliffhangers and Saturday roster moves. Gonna miss you, Vic.
Well, QB Drew Lock (ribs) is only listed as questionable, and that means we get to fade him at least one more time. At least he might have TE Noah Fant (ribs) to help. Fant is listed questionable but practiced in full on Friday and is expected to start.
Things turn sour after this. The team listed OLB Joseph Jones (calf) as out for his second consecutive week. They’ve also deemed backup RT Jake Rodgers (shoulder) questionable after a week of limited practice.
More troubling is the appearance of a few names on the report who weren’t there earlier in the week. CB Bryce Callahan fell ill on Friday and he didn’t practice at all. RG Graham Glasgow (calf) and DL DeShawn Williams (ankle) both turned up limited practices on Friday, presumably injured during practice. All three have been deemed questionable and should be checked to see if they are active before the game.
Before this game went off the board sometime on Monday, the value of -3 on the Dolphins went with it. Even at the new, increased price we’ll still play Miami -3½ against a team that’s set for a horrific coaching implosion any week now.
The total jumped a point as well when it got reposted on Friday, and we’ll follow the move and lean over 45½, with the hopes the Dolphins special teams might make up for some of the points the Broncos don’t post on the board.
New York Jets (46) at Los Angeles Chargers (-10)
New York Jets
One quick non-injury related note. The Jets cut CB Pierre Desir and now opposing QBs will have to make more discriminate decisions as to whom they’ll throw the ball to when playing the Jets.
America’s favorite 0-9 team drags the season on, coming out of their bye week with their starting QB Sam Darnold still out and, maybe surprisingly, the same coach. (Darnold is actually listed doubtful because reasons. He’s not playing.)
The Jets also named ILB Blake Cashman (hamstring) as doubtful, as well as two other players as questionable, CB Bless Austin (neck) and K Sam Ficken (groin). They’re hopeful both can go, and will likely need Austin to do something against the Chargers’ passing attack.
At least they get LT Mekhi Becton back.
Los Angeles Chargers
Is this finally the week he’s back? No, not DE Joey Bosa, we know he’s back this week. (That’s huge.) We’re talking instead about LT Storm Norton who hasn’t played in four weeks, never got sent to the IR, and is finally off the injury list. Not the same for RB Justin Jackson who was dispatched to the IR after missing last week.
About a decade ago, the Chargers cost themselves a season struggling with long snappers. (It’s true. It’s a Chargers’ legacy.) We mention this because Cole Mazza came down with some kind of illness and is listed as questionable. He didn’t practice all week. If it comes to it, Gabe Nabers or Trey Pipkins are next in line for that position, and we are so there to watch what happens.
The Chargers also haven’t given up on CB Chris Harris Jr. who could maybe be activated the day before the game.
Did we mention Joey Bosa is back?
On one hand, the Jets. On the other hand, laying ten points with Anthony Lynn. Dilemma.
This line has already seen two-way movement, and it’s not clear all those sharp bettors are coming in this week with Sunday Jets’ money to take the sweet underdog points. Maybe at +10, in which case we’d wait and play the Chargers at a better price. (Or better still, hope it drops a point and a half and tease it.) But, to make a selection, very slight lean Los Angeles Chargers -10.
Bettors moved the total up and down as well, and we’d take another slight lean to the over 46 only because we think it’s bottomed out. Maybe the game goes into overtime tied 22-22 or something.
Green Bay Packers (51) at Indianapolis Colts (-1½)
Green Bay Packers
The Packers named two depth players out. RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), actually declared out, and DE Montravius Adams (toe) effectively out by being declared doubtful.
A quartet of wideouts showed up on the injury report this week. Foremost, WR Davante Adams managed a limited practice on Friday, and the team removed his injury designation, so he’s expected to be a full go. On the other hand, Darrius Shepherd (shoulder), Allen Lazard (abdomen), and Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) were all tagged questionable. Shepherd didn’t play last week, and Lazard hasn’t played in weeks.
The team listed a couple of corners as questionable with limited practice. If Ka’dar Hollman (quadriceps) and Will Redmond (shoulder) can play, they’ll see fewer snaps since the Packers expect to return CB Jaire Alexander and CB Kevin King (quadriceps).
The Colts played last Thursday without TE Jack Doyle’s help. He should be back this week, having practiced in full. (He apparently needs clearance from an independent neurologist to clear concussion protocol.) They’ll also have TE Mo Alie-Cox who cleared the injury report at week’s end.
A few names on the report will need to be checked on the game-time inactives list. Listed as questionable are RT Braden Smith (thumb), DE Kemoko Turay (ankle) and TE Noah Togiai (knee). Smith stands the best chance of the three to play, having set out Friday with a thumb issue. Another surprise addition to the injury report came when CB Isaiah Rodgers missed Friday’s practice with a bum knee. (He wasn’t previously even on the report.)
Finally, the team placed DT Denico Autry on the IR-C, and he’s not expected to be cleared before Sunday.
In what’s closer to a coin-flip, we’d lean to Indianapolis -1½. But this also seems like a heavily correlated game, with the Colts to the under and the Packers to the over. In that case, playing a six-point teaser of Packers +7½ and over 45 would also work.
Since we’re taking the Colts, we’d also lean to the under 51, but would hope it would notch up a half point on the key number before playing it.
Dallas Cowboys (48) at Minnesota Vikings (-7)
Teams have looked worse coming off their bye week, but the Cowboys aren’t exactly back to full strength (whatever that was at one point). They do get back to the backup now that QB Andy Dalton has cleared both a simultaneous concussion and asymptomatic case of Covid-19. No idea how he’ll fare, but he’s starting.
Another player who’s starting is center Joe Looney, who normally wouldn’t but Tyler Biadasz has been declared out with a hamstring.
The Cowboys come into Sunday questionable at a much-needed position, with both DE Randy Gregory and DE DeMarcus Lawrence missing practice with an illness. It’s apparently not COVID related, and the team (meaning coach Mike McCarthy, not Jerry Jones in this case) expects them to be able to play. They’re also expecting CB Chidobe Awuzie back after his long absence on the IR.
Despite playing all the snaps on Monday night, RG Ezra Cleveland finds himself declared out with an ankle injury this Sunday after missing practice all week. (It’s thought he injured himself in the first series of the game last week but just played through it.) The team doesn’t seem concerned that Brett Jones will fill in.
They are concerned to get TE Irv Smith (groin) and CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion) back this week after missing last Monday. Dantzler practiced in full on Friday so his return sounds promising. Smith was limited throughout the week and is a game-time decision worth checking on the inactives list.
Finally, the team moved FB C.J. Ham to the COVID-IR on Friday, after he was absent earlier in the week with an undisclosed illness. It’s unnerving.
For a number of different reasons, we’re willing to stand in front of the locomotive that is Dalvin Cook with these very Dallas Cowboys led by a man who just had a concussion and a respiratory disease. That said, we’d far prefer to get above the touchdown but, for now, the number is seven. So, lean to the Cowboys +7 but would think it’s bottomed out and we might see enough Vikings support to bring the +7½ back on board.
Up from where it opened at 46½, we’d lean under the total of 48. Don’t expect to climb any higher once the final roster moves and inactives shake out.