It’s the Week 5 NFL injury handicapping report — featuring broken bones, ripped hamstrings, highly contagious diseases, and some false info thrown in for good measure. This week a whopping 342 players received a little black injury star next to their names, and we went through ‘em, from Johnathan Abram to Sam Young. Be sure to check our injury news and the pregame inactive lists before making your final wagers at the sportsbook.
The triumphant NFL return of CB Eli Apple lasted six snaps. His timetable to health is unclear, but his hamstring already has him declared out for Sunday. Not good news for the bottom-tier secondary.
They’re still short on running backs with Christian McCaffrey and Reggie Bonnafon both on IR, but the few ball carriers still healthy, led by Mike Davis, will get some help. The left side of the O-line returns after missing the previous game; LT Russell Okung and LG Dennis Daley are slated to play.
Otherwise, the Panthers had eight players listed, all of whom practiced fully Friday, and are traveling to Atlanta.
Speaking of bottom-feeder defenses, the Falcons get some good news. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins has been ruled out. Well, that would be bad news except the Falcons are expecting to return Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal, and both are upgrades to Hawkins. Also, CB A.J. Terrell has been activated off the reserve/Covid-19 list, and DE Takk McKinley should also be available.
Desperate for their return, the Falcons lost yet another cornerback to IR last game when Damontae Kazee was carted off, and Darqueze Dennard the previous week.
Of course, every NFL television talking head will be fretting over the status of WR Julio Jones who is listed as a game-time decision. It makes for good TV drama come Sunday. The informed consensus seems to be that Jones shouldn’t play, and if he does he’ll likely be ineffective and potentially re-aggravate his hamstring.
Plus, K Younghoe Koo is back. Additionally, the team removed any injury designation on the other eight players listed throughout the week; all are expected to play.
When Carolina was catching a field goal or better earlier in the week, it made sense to take the points, but now may be the time to lay off. The spread is now down to 1½, and while these teams seem like their momentum is headed in different directions, the Falcons’ roster returns might help snap that. (Maybe tease that Falcons’ line up above a touchdown?)
On the other hand, the Panthers should have an easier time on the offensive front line. Expect them to have success on the ground should the Falcons’ secondary stiffen up at all. If we have any lean in this game, it would be the under. If Julio Jones spouts to the media before the game and the total drives up because he might play, we’d happily take under 54½ (or even 54).
One player potentially lost to injury from last week is DT Maliek Collins (shoulder) listed as questionable. He practiced only limited on the final day, and his status is of particular concern since another defensive tackle, Maurice Hurst, ended up on the reserve/Covid-19 list after testing positive.
Among those who might return from injury are a pair of wide receivers Henry Ruggs (knee) and Rico Gafford (hamstring), the first of which the Raiders would love to see healthy again. (Starting wide-out Bryan Edwards will miss a second week, having been ruled out.)
It’s also possible that starting RT Trent Brown will return after missing the last game. Still patchy on an O-line without Richie Incognito, Brown’s return would help. The Raiders posted another dozen players during the week, of which none now have designations.
Mostly positive developments for the Chiefs this week. DT Chris Jones will be back after missing his Patriots’ revenge game last week. They will be short backup DE Michael Danna (hamstring) ruled out.
The other half-dozen listed names practiced in full for at least the last two days and are good to go.
The injury profile here doesn’t urge one to run out and grab the double-digits with these Raiders. If the three questionables who matter, Colins, Ruggs, and Brown, all play, then expect the 11-point spread to drop another half-point. Injuries play less a role in keeping this line below 14 than the Chiefs’ coach who won’t bury a team if he doesn’t have to.
If Brown and Ruggs are out, we’d consider that 56-point total a lean to the under. If that number holds without Brown and Ruggs available, we’d play it.
The Rams return RB Cam Akers to action. Both he and S Jordan Fuller are returning players who didn’t play last week.
On the questionable side, CB Troy Hill (ankle) and LB Micah Kiser (groin) were limited in practice and their actual availability uncertain.
First, the good news, Football Team, LB Cole Holcomb, and DE Chase Young could return after missing the loss to the Ravens. Both are listed questionable, but Holcomb is believed to be playing while Young is less certain. Good news over.
Two back-ups are gone: Declared out are CB Greg Stroman (foot) and TE Marcus Baugh, who had a death in the family.
More concerning are RG Wes Schweitzer and C Chase Roullier. Schweitzer only practiced Friday but is expected to start and hopes to finish. Roullier showed up on the report with a knee problem and missed Friday. They’re a must-check before game time.
Moved to IR for the occasion was WR Steven Sims, having missed last week with a toe injury, his spot will likely be freed up in order to dress an extra linesman.
If it should happen that the Washington Football Team is working out some kinks with a reworked O-line and new QB Kyle Allen, and Rams’ DE Aaron Donald charges in and breaks Allen in half, then Alex Smith would walk onto an NFL field with his bionically reconstructed leg. It would be nice to see Smith again, but maybe not under those circumstances.
Either way, things aren’t shaping up well for Washington’s roster, with a potential disaster if both Schweitzer and Roullier are inactive. At the moment, the line is still 7½ but has been coming down all week. We’d certainly lay the touchdown if Washington’s offensive front is a mess, and continue to lean under especially now that the total’s gone back up to 46.
Jacksonville enters the week nursing injuries on defense. Chief among them is starting corner D.J. Hayden, moved to IR. The Jags will have to scramble to batten the defense, as they also designated three key defenders questionable, headlined by LB Myles Jack (ankle) who, along with CB C.J. Henderson (shoulder) and DE Josh Allen (knee), were all injured last game. They can ill afford to lose Jack, who did limited practice later in the week. It’s worse for Allen who missed all week. We’re expecting Jack to play, Henderson is a coin flip, and Allen is unlikely.
It’s not all bad for Jacksonville. Long-shots to play Week 4, S Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) and OLB Quincy Williams (abdomen) have been designated to return from the IR this week, but more likely won’t see action for another week or two. Also, starting C Brandon Linder and K Stephen Hauschka should be back Sunday after sitting Week 4.
Houston’s injury news features a prominent individual cut from the team — not even demoted or reassigned but just dropped. The Texans dismissed coach Bill O’Brien (ego) and his snaps will be distributed among Romeo Crennel, Jack Easterby, and J.J. Watt. It may be addition by subtraction, as this is potentially an upgrade.
Most of the Texans’ players will be healthy enough to take the field to physically express their emotions with regard to their departed coach. Exceptions may include a handful of questionables, starting with ILB Benardrick McKinney (shoulder) and TE Jordan Akins (concussion). The team also designated back-up RB Buddy Howell and CB Keion Crossen questionable as well.
Fullback Cullen Gillaspia, who missed Week 4, may also return. He, along with all the other questionables listed above, all practiced in a limited fashion on Friday.
Normally this would be a spot to take the underdog and hope for a low-scoring, physical division rivalry game. The Jags would lose by a score of like 14-9 and cover the spread. But the circumstances here defy that approach, and we’re not thrilled with the idea of stepping in front of these Texans this week.
Laying the 5½ here seems like the losing side also, and the only lean we’d have would be to the over. The total has fluctuated between 54-55 going into the weekend, and we’d lean over 54½ with the hopes of seeing it drop another half-point.
The Cardinals’ defense bumps towards the positive. They may be without DE Jordan Phillips who’s sick, and listed day-to-day, but was on the plane. Arizona already designated LB Devon Kennard (calf) out, so without Phillips the Cardinals’ pass rush would lose a step.
Offsetting that is the return of S Budda Baker, who will take the field with nine usable fingers (and a thumb in sports cast). Potentially joining him, S Chris Banjo (hamstring) who worked his way back to limited practice late in the week and could see the playfield for the first time in weeks.
Good news: The Covid-19 test that sent shock waves through the Jets’ organization and the rest of the league turned out to be a false positive. The bad news, for the Jets, is that they still have to play the Cardinals. In a world without Covid, we could have had the week to fully relish the return of QB Joe Flacco as he replaces Sam Darnold, who the team designated as out due to his AC joint.
Flacco’s chance to prove to the world what he still believes — that he can still play at a high, elite level, some might say — will have to be done shorthanded. They’ll likely be missing backup tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) and WR Breshad Perriman (ankle), both listed doubtful. Next-in-line WR Chris Hogan (ribs) is questionable and was limited in practice the entire week.
The defense has issues too. Three players active last week practiced only partially on the final days and were designated questionable: OLB Jordan Jenkins (shoulder), CB Blessuan Austin (calf) and DE John Franklin (foot). The return of a backup linebacker like Jordan Willis this week would otherwise be unimportant but they might really need him.
Just betting an injury angle here, you have to curse that you missed laying only seven with the Cards. (Or the 6½, available earlier in the week.) Still, Arizona is the only way to go here, but can’t recommend laying 7½. We could advise using the game in a 6-point teaser
The total of 47½ collapsed down to 46. We liked under 47, especially if Chris Banjo plays, but at 46 it’s a pass.
Overall negative injury news for the Eagles. The team placed MLB T.J. Edwards on IR. (Backup S Rudy Ford too.) Further, neither the two starting wide receivers, Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring), nor CB Avonte Maddox (ankle), all of whom missed last week, will be back.
A small token of good news, the return of WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside after missing the previous game.
Thanks to the Titans’ Covid-19 outbreak last week, the league informed the Pittsburgh Steelers their bye week started effective immediately. And, uh, sorry if you weren’t ready for it now. If nothing else, everyone got healing time, and the Steelers report only two players out for this game.
Fullback Derek Watt (hamstring) and backup LB Marcus Allen (foot) will miss Week 5. The rest of the roster reports healthy.
Judging on nothing but injuries, we’d spot the Steelers the touchdown here and can appreciate why it’s 7½ juiced. But hands up if you’ve ever laid the lumber with the Steelers only to watch them put up a 10-point second-half lead and then take their foot off the gas. You’d wonder if coach Mike Tomlin draws game plans up that way. Pair this with that Cardinals teaser from earlier, and play along as sportsbook managers pray there’s an upset between the Jets or the Eagles.
Leaning under the total, but at 43½ it’s bottomed out. Under 44½ would have been playable, and is now a pass.
Two Bengals’ defenders return to the action after missing the previous game. LB Logan Wilson and DT Geno Atkins practiced fully on Friday, and no longer carry injury designations.
The Bengals secondary will likely be without CB Mackensie Alexander (ribs) listed as doubtful. So too is backup WR John Ross who came down midweek with the dreaded and mysterious “illness.”
Another week, another injury report in which Coach John Harbaugh slathers players to the list like a French chef adds butter. Aren’t we all questionable, coach? Anyway, there are 12 players listed as questionable for the Ravens, and we’ll set the total who are actually inactive among them at 2½.
Earlier in the week, the Ravens listed QB Lamar Jackson with a knee injury and illness as he missed the first day of practice. (The game came off the board for some time midweek.) He says he’s 100%.
The only questionable player we’d guess to be inactive is WR Chris Moore (thigh). Keep an eye on their two listed corners, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters, in the unlikely case neither actually can play. The remainder of the questionables all fully practiced on Friday, and we’ll likely see them and the return of DE Justin Madubuike and LT Ronnie Stanley.
The O-line will need the help, as the one Raven not expected to play is RG Tyre Phillips (shoulder).
The injury profile here supports anyone who’s already predisposed to take the points with the Bengals in the hopes that Joe Burrow plays out of his mind and stays within two touchdowns. We’d lean that way even at +13 but stop there if it falls any lower. (Also, if the Ravens do have three or four or more of those questionable players scratched, it would help.)
Unless you could negotiate a middle on the total, we’d pass on this number. This game has all the makings of a 31-20 final.
Don’t these stupid NFL head coaches realize when they play head games with starting quarterbacks they spook bookmakers into not wanting to post a line. Can’t blame the sportsbooks, but just in case there was any doubt, Miami hushed the outcry for rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa by announcing that the FItzmagic Show would be held over for at least just one more week. Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start at quarterback.
Tua might get his crack on Sunday since the Fish lost their starting left tackle Austin Jackson to injured reserve. (No idea what they’ll do with the line as it is if they have to switch because Tagovailoa is a lefty.) Either way, Miami is currently struggling to fill that gap.
In addition, the Dolphins will be without blocking TE Durham Smythe (knee) and DE Shaw Lawson (shoulder). Both have been ruled out.
Listed questionable is WR Jakeem Grant having missed practice on Friday due to the dreaded “illness”. (Might be worth pointing out that players who have any flu-like symptoms of any kind are prohibited from the team facilities and therefore have to miss practice.)
Finally, Miami will get back a few players previously absent. Notably, CB Byron Jones will be a needed return to their defense. They’ll also return a couple of backups S Kavon Frazier and WR Malcolm Perry.
He’s back! Sneaky coach Kyle Shanahan will try to keep everyone guessing, but, of course, Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to return under center. There are some other positive returns for San Francisco, but let’s cover the bad news first.
The revolving door of injured and rehabilitated San Francisco players continues, as the Niners strive to set the all-time league record for most players on a single annual roster. This week sees three cornerbacks all out, with one sent to IR: K’Waun Williams, Dontae Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley. Along with Williams to IR, the 49ers also lose DE Ezekiel Ansah.
We’d be shocked if CB Ahkello Witherspoon doesn’t make his return despite being questionable. Also questionable but unclear if he’ll play is RB Raheem Mostert. Fully expected back is starting OLB Dre Greenlaw.
Makes sense with the injuries lining up as they have, there’s an expectation Ryan Fitzpatrick might make the most of passing for what could well be his last game. The spread has come down from +9 now to +8. We’d have to lean in that direction but expect this game to be a hot mess.
If you do like hot messes and wild scoring games, play this one over now before it passes the 51 and goes to 51½, in which case pass.
First, the Giants’ good news: with no offensive injuries from last week, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett gets his subpar roster injury-free to take into his old home at Dallas.
Defensively, they lost backup LB Oshane Ximines (shoulder) to the IR. Listed as questionable at that position is starter Kyler Fackrell (neck). Also questionable are two safeties Adrian Colbert (who played last week) and Jabrill Peppers (who didn’t). Everyone here was limited throughout the practice week.
In a bold attempt to vie for the title of league’s Most Mangled Offensive Line, the Dallas Cowboys have blasted both their starting center and left tackle. (Take that, Eagles!) Tackle Tyron Smith’s on-again-off-again neck is now off to the IR, and center Joe Looney blew his knee. (That makes three all-star O-line players lost by the team.)
It’s a kind of development that led to the usual shuffling of roster players and practice squad spots, but Dallas can’t expect to solve this by Sunday. If tackle Cam Erving doesn’t get an 11th-hour activation from the IR by Sunday, expect disaster for the Cowboys and some free-agency signings next week.
Otherwise, the four defenders who were on the injury list this week have worked back to full practice and out of designation status.
It’s a juiced +9½ but it’s the only way to play this. It’s going to suck having to watch as Daniel Jones stares down his targets, but this is too many points. We’d expect New York’s defense to take advantage of Dallas’ O-line adjustments this week and save some face on an embarrassing season to date.
We’d make a case the Giants could be a live dog worthy of the moneyline, but would also see an outcome where they’re down 17 with two minutes left scrambling for the cover. We leaned to the under, but it’s come down to 53 and should only keep going slightly lower.
How many left tackles can you lose in a week? Add one more for the Colts, as Anthony Castonzo will be out with ribs. Also lost is stand-out LB Darius Leonard (groin). LB Anthony Walker (ankle) is listed questionable, but has been working back to limited in practice and it would be a surprise if he didn’t attempt to play.
Backup CB T.J. Carrie should be returning to action after missing Week 4.
Everyone’s still giddy about the beating the Browns put on the Dallas Cowboys last week, but it did cost the team starting DT Larry Ogunjobi to an oblique injury. Two other defenders, LB Tae Davis (elbow) and CB Greddy Williams (shoulder), have been ruled out for a second consecutive week.
One name to watch in the inactives list is S Karl Joseph who apparently pulled a hammy during practice, going from limited practice to none at all on Friday. He’s questionable and may not be available.
The Browns also reactivated TE David Njoku from the IR and he’s expected to play. And they may also get back DE Adrian Clayborn who worked through a limited practice week with a hip issue. Without him, the tough defensive front for Cleveland starts to get a bit porous.
We’ll take the Browns here as straight-up winners in large part because of the injuries. This is assuming that Joseph did practice his way out of playing and will be inactive, and that Njoku and Clayborn both start. We’d lean even harder on the Browns should it play out that Anthony Walker can’t go.
As for that total, we’ll play under the 48, and consider advising the same even if you find it at 47½.
A relatively good week for injuries for the Vikings. A pair of cornerbacks are listed questionable with starter Holton Hill (foot) and backup Kris Boyd (hamstring) limited during the practice week. It would be surprising if both were inactive and would leave Minnesota’s secondary thin.
Special-teams’ regular K.J. Osborn yanked his hammy badly enough to be deemed out.
Starting to notice that coach Pete Carroll’s injury reports always list enough people to field a starting offensive and defensive line up, and still have a few bodies left over to make a special-teams unit. Maybe he’s sending a message?
So among the 26 listed names and more than half-dozen injury designations, there’s a really great chance the Seahawks field the exact same team (or better than) they did last week.
Out for certain is S Jamal Adams (groin) and backup CB Neiko Thorpe who’s landed on the IR with a sports hernia. Neither played in Week 4. Two other defenders who also didn’t play last week, LB Jordyn Brooks (MCL) and S Lano Hill (back), didn’t practice all week, are listed questionable and are truly not expected to play.
Two others also listed questionable (and who missed last week) did limited practice and could be active. RB Carlos Hyde and CB Quinton Dunbar are names to see if they are dressed Sunday night.
Starting LG Mike Iupati (knee) is listed questionable and will very likely start.
It makes sense early bettors picked off any +7½ bets early in the week. The ‘Hawks will go into another week not being able to do anything about being passed on. Having Dunbar available won’t be a game-changer, but the secondary needs as much help as it can get. That said, we still lean to the Seahawks minus the points, but only because the game script should be to go up, if possible, by as many as 28 points and hang on for dear life on defense.
By this thinking, we’d look to play the over, which seems to have taken under money and now dropped to 56½. Play that now before it goes back up to the more key number of 57.