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Week 2 was brutal for injuries and that sets up injury mismatches for Week 3. Certainly personnel and scheme are important but that is usually accounted for by the betting line. Stars being out can affect the line but many of the non fantasy player and cluster/depth injuries impact a team more and usually are not accounted for by the betting public. Here four out of the five games featured here have Injury Index differential of at least a full grade.
Tampa Bay at Denver
The Buccaneers’ overall health shakes out over a full grade better than the Broncos. It isn’t the overall number of injuries but who it is. Denver lost its starting QB Drew Lock and No. 1 WR Courtland Sutton last week and on defense are short their No. 1 pass rusher in Von Miller and No. 1 cover corner in A.J. Bouye. Tampa Bay’s overall health grade of A- versus the Broncos grading out at a C+. This marks the biggest differential this season. The Bucs are road favorites but from the injury advantage is solidly on their side.
San Francisco at New York Giants
The 49ers’ health dropped a whole letter grade in one week. They lost two defensive linemen, Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, to ACL tears and will be without QB Jimmy Garoppolo, TE George Kittle and RBs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. With already 10 players on injured reserve (a typical season’s worth), San Francisco has the biggest one week drop so far and might have a tough time plugging holes. They stayed on Eastern time and did not fly home as they have two back to back games at MetLife Stadium and the turf issues have been discussed. Meanwhile the Giants are at home and getting points as the healthier team. Use the below interactive Field View to hover over for details and flip to see both sides of the ball.
Cincinnati at Philadelphia
The Eagles win the dubious award of the consistently most injured team so far this season and they have an 0-2 record to show for it. They started the season with offensive line health issues and some wide receiver issues. Now both of those position groups have gotten worse. Four out of five offensive line starters are out our dealing with injury and now two out of three starting wideouts. Now the defensive side of the ball is affected too. The visiting Bengals are a whole Injury Index grade better, even with their defensive tackle issues, and are getting points.
Chicago at Atlanta
Atlanta is in an 0-2 hole and badly needs a win as 3-point favorites but yet hold a whole letter grade Injury Index disadvantage. The Falcons even have the bad luck of the first Saturday surprise inactive for COVID with their first-round pick CB A.J. Terrell out. Defensive front seven issues and Julio Jones hamstring are among the biggest issues. The Bears are relatively healthy as their star ball carrier and pass rushers have returned. Still, this whole grade injury advantage for the Bears deserves attention.
Tennessee at Minnesota
The Vikings are short their best player on each of the three levels of defense. DE Danielle Hunter, LB Anthony Barr and CB Mike Hughes are the key players missing but in total the team in purple is short a total of four cornerbacks. The Titans are down a top corner too. Even with A.J. Brown out, Tennessee has the injury advantage and there might be some points scored from both sides in this game.
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Extra injury info and details can be seen by going to www.profootballdoc.com where Outkick readers can try it for free. Additional tidbits include the Jets’ lack offensive fire power and the Cowboys offensive line is still not healthy while the defense is still reeling too.