ProFootballDoc: Full Slate Of Saturday NFL Games With Injury Advantages

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Doesn’t happen often but the NFL has a full slate of games on Saturday. Christmas Day on Sunday will bring a three game “Thanksgiving Day” type lineup. Plenty of injury (and weather) considerations in our five weekly picks.

Ryan Tannehill had ankle surgery and while the tightrope device provides stability, it does not speed up healing. The only way he returns for Week 18 is if the high ankle sprain was mild and the surgery was for “insurance” which is not impossible since he did play three quarters after the injury.

Jalen Hurts is reported to have an SC joint (sternoclavicular) as opposed to AC joint (acromioclavicular) injury. The net result is the same in that he could play through with an injection. But, given the Eagles’ current three game lead in the division with three to go, they understandably want to be careful. There are no big picture worries as Hurts played the entire fourth quarter last week after the injury.

Despite a bad Week 15, the overall record is still a healthy 42-29-4 (+13 against the spread). Let’s hope to add to that win total with four Saturday picks with one saved for Sunday.

Now Onto The Saturday NFL Games

HOU +3.5 @ TEN

This pick at first glance doesn’t seem to make sense but this is what the injury algorithm points to. The Texans have only one win and have been long eliminated from the post season while the Titans are fighting to remain atop the AFC South. Tennessee is currently the most injured team in the league. Their linebacker and cornerback starters have been decimated for weeks and now it is offense that is also injured. No Tannehill, but Derrick Henry has dominated Houston recently but his offensive line now has significant issue. The Texans have a few of their own injury issues but they have enough to keep this game close.

ATL +6.5 @ BAL

This is a battle of backup quarterbacks: Tyler Huntley (shoulder will play) versus Desmond Ridder. The Ravens have been among the most injured teams all season and it continues. They are so short handed at wide receiver, they just claimed Sammy Watkins after the Packers (a team not known for overflowing WR talent) released him and he is set to play immediately. The Falcons can keep it close by running the ball with both Michael Pierce and Calais Campbell out.

SEA @ KC -10

The Chiefs continue to be healthiest team in the league and have all starters up except Mecole Hardman. The Seahawks will miss their #1 WR Tyler Lockett but Kenneth Walker III is expected to play but keep in mind he has not practiced all week with the ankle injury. Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to play and Kansas City figures to run away with this game literally and figuratively.

NYG @ MIN -4

The health and matchup favors the Vikings here. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen will face a Giants secondary with three of four starters missing. The Giants do have Saquon Barkley but not enough other weapons to keep pace in the dome of Minnesota. The Vikings have clinched the NFC North already but still have a slim chance to get the #1 seed and the bye. Until that happens, we don’t see the Vikes resting players just yet.

Honorable Mentions: BUF vs CHI over 40.5, CAR +2.5, WAS +6.5. Go to Sports Injury Central to see the details on the rest of the game.

Have a great Christmas Eve with football and family.

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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