ProFootballDoc: Actionable Injury Issues for NFL Bonus Games

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Four straight days of NFL football over the Christmas weekend makes for a nice gift.

The Christmas game went to script as the Saints took advantage of the poor Vikings run defense health grade of “D+” to the tune of 7 rushing TDs (6 by Alvin Kamara) for an easy over total.

With three games on Boxing Day before the usual Sunday slate and Monday Night Football, here is the injury analysis for Saturday’s slate.

The current 45-25-5 record for picks won’t be affected win or lose as those stats are reserved for the five Sunday picks coming tomorrow.

Detroit Defense Lacking

The Lions defensive line and three of the top four corners are dealing with injury issues. The Buccaneers will be missing Ronald Jones. but still have Leonard Fournette and a healthy offense. The line opened at -7.5 and has climbed to -9.5 but Tampa Bay still seems the right side. Matt Stafford is likely to take another rib block injection to play again. Center Frank Ragnow (laryngeal fracture) might play, but they will be without Kenny Golladay.

Cardinals to capitalize on 49ers defense

A healthy Kyler Murray is poised to take advantage of a defensive line that has been banged up all year. Now three out of four secondary starters are out. The 49ers will have George Kittle back but won’t have Raheem Mostert or Deebo Samuel and will need to keep pace with their third string QB in C.J. Beathard. We indicated to take this line early at -2.5/3 and it has now crossed the key 3 and 4 numbers to 5. One could play the middle, but it still seems the Cardinals should dominate given their need to continue winning to stay in playoff position, while this is the first game with the 49ers mathematically eliminated.

Dolphins ground game

Miles Gaskin is back and look for him and Salvon Ahmed to take advantage of four out of the front seven of the Raiders out with injury. Derek Carr has gone from street clothes in the second half nine days ago to full practice all week and is now the presumed starter. The injury difference here is small and the Dolphins started as underdogs but are now favored. Miami needs to win to keep playoff pace and the Raiders only have a mathematical chance. We don’t love taking all three favorites today but laying the three points seems the best play.

Enjoy the bonus games. Go to for the full analysis and the five Sunday picks are still coming first thing tomorrow.

Written by Dr. David Chao

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.

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