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Let’s forget about COVID for the moment and talk NFL football health advantages. Even with the postponement of three games, there are still 10 contests on Sunday.
Besides a hot start, Week 15 is interesting as it becomes the heart of shutdown time. Teams that are out of playoff contention or teams that have slim hope once down, might have medical staffs and players acting more conservatively in the health and safety era, thus some big lines appear. However, there are some big health inequities too.
Four of our top five carry over a 20-point SIC score advantage. Plus we add some honorable mentions for you to make your own calls. All lines are (OutKick partner) FanDuel lines at time of article submission Saturday evening.
JACKSONVILLE -4.5 vs HOUSTON
When a team is in disarray, the line usually moves against them but it actually moved in to make the Jaguars a bigger favorite. This can be explained by the Texans themselves in shambles for a road game and the players/coaches revolt that led to Urban Meyer’s midweek firing. Most in the Jags organization want to show that their head coach was the problem now that he has finally admitted to benching James Robinson after previously denying. Motivation and health align here. For example, on Wednesday, three Jaguars starting offensive linemen all were DNP with back issues. After after the midnight firing of Meyer, all three were FP the rest of the week and have no injury designation. Jacksonville’s defense remains healthy while Houston is in enhanced COVID protocols. and miss 5 starters defensively and three out of five offensive line starters protecting Davis Mills.
DALLAS -10.5 @ N.Y. GIANTS
No question it is a big road cover but all three over SIC scores for the Cowboys are in the 80s or 90s and all three for the Giants are in the 60s providing a considerable health advantage. Dallas only is missing starter Tyron Smith while the Giants have been one of the more injured squads all season. In the end, we base our selections on injury advantages and in this case both the total and the trending health week to week match up for the visitors.
ARIZONA -12.5 @ DETROIT
A second big road lay here but be treat each game individually. The Lions three major overall health SIC score categories average just below 60 which is about 25 points lower than the Cardinals. Even with DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the season, Arizona has enough healthy players to control this game after the tough loss to the Rams last Monday Night. Plus the Lions are officially eliminated and still no D’Andre Swift.
BUFFALO -12.5 vs CAROLINA
One look at the Field View of the Panthers colorful offense versus the Bills mostly “green” defense is all you need to know. Once again an over 20 point SIC score team differential. Carolina is coming off a bye but they have the feel of a team that could mail it in if off to a slow start in the cold. It is not uncommon to fire a coordinator during the bye, but to do it on Sunday of the actual bye cost the team a week for the newly appointed offensive coordinator. Add to it no QB1, no RB1, iffy WR1 and 4/5ths of the OL dealing with injuries to protect an aged Cam Newton seams like a feast and get right game for the Bills.
GREEN BAY @ BALTIMORE over 43.5
We knew early week that Lamar Jackson would not be anywhere near 100% while Aaron Rodgers pinky toe would be fine. The time to play the side was when it opened at Packers -2 but now that Jackson has 3 straight DNPs, it is clear that he won’t start (even though he is listed as questionable), the line has already moved to -7. The overall SIC scores has the Packers as the slight advantage but we make these selections based on the hidden injury information and believe the line has mostly corrected for Jackson’s absence. I suppose when No. 8 is formally inactive the line could drift past 7. However here, what stands out is that a healthy Rodgers and Davante Adams take on a Ravens squad missing all four secondary starters plus lacking depth. Also notable is that the Packers key run stuffer, NT Kenny Clark is out on COVID. Because we see the Packers having their way thru the air and the Ravens having success on the ground we see some points being put up. The smart play might be to wait for the official Jackson rule out and the current 43.5 total might drop more inside 90 minutes.
For the HONORABLE MENTIONS, go to the new www.profootballdoc.com housed within the Sports Injury Central site for the details and still free for OutKick readers. Consult the Field Views and SIC scores before finalizing any props, sides or totals at the FanDuel Sportsbook as ProFootballDoc is the official FanDuel Injury Expert.
ATLANTA +9.5 @ SAN FRANCISCO
PITTSBURGH -1 vs TENNESSEE
N.Y. JETS +9.5 vs MIAMI
Good luck, we hope to repeat last week’s 4-1 Sunday on the main five.