Injuries Suggest Cowboys Are The Pick For Final NFL Wild Card Game: ProFootballDoc

Five Wild Card playoff games and all with excitement and intrigue. The Chargers had a 27-point lead and an almost unprecedented plus five on turnovers to still lose to the Jaguars. The Seahawks held a halftime lead, only to get trounced. The Dolphins pushed the Bill to the limit before losing close. The visiting Giants deserved the win over the Vikings. The Bengals persevere after a goal line Ravens turnover turns into a big man touchdown the other way.

In general, the healthier teams make the playoffs. We had three teams with "yellow" team SIC scores make the playoffs and all three (Chargers, Dolphins, Ravens) lost. Only health "green" teams left but we will focus on specific health matchups.

The most impactful injury going forward could be with the Bengals left tackle who left with a possible left patella subluxation injury. With left tackle La'el Collins (ACL) and left guard Alex Cappa (ankle/knee) recently injured, this would mark the third starter on the Cincinnati offensive line. This could be a big factor as they visit Buffalo next week.

One can only hope for more excitement Monday night in the final Wild Card game as Tom Brady takes on "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys.

DAL -2.5 @ TB

Cowboys Enter As The Healthier Team

This Monday Night matchup is likely going to be decided in the trenches and not with the offensive stars. The offensive lines are key and here we favor the Cowboys. Key center Tyler Biadasz is making a quick return from his Week 17 ankle/knee injury and that should stabilize the Dallas line. On the other hand, key Bucs center Ryan Jensen is still out from his training camp knee injury. His practice window is open but it would be a surprise if he could play and be effective. Defensively, Shaq Barrett is lost for the season with an ACL and Vita Vae tries to return from a calf but it seems dubious he can play and be effective anchoring down the nose. The Bucs main chance falls on Brady's shoulders if he can exploit the Cowboys lack of secondary depth with corners #2 and #3 out.

The injury matchup favors the Cowboys, but let's see if a 45-year-old GOAT quarterback and use his veteran wile to defy the odds once again.

Written by
David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.