ProFootballDoc: Injuries To Affect Playoff Scenarios in NFL Week 17

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The teams that are in are positioning for the playoffs. The teams on the bubble are all in. The teams eliminated are in full shut down mode. Many key injuries to quarterbacks this week.

Lamar Jackson will miss his fourth game with a PCL sprain as we predicted and don’t count on him for Week 18 either. He seems poised for a playoff return. Jalen Hurts can play thru his SC joint sprain this week, but won’t as the Eagles seem intent of playing it safe with their potential MVP signal caller. Tua Tagovailoa is out this week with concussion but he seems likely to miss Week 18 as well and a playoff return is not guaranteed with multiple concussions this season. The key injuries and opinion are covered on our injury tracker here:

Thursday’s analysis to take the Cowboys given the Titans being the most injured team in the league right now and were resting players paid off. We had to take Dallas as one of the five picks this week as the 33 point SIC score health difference is among the largest of the season. Even thougth the line moved up the win/cover leaves us at 46-31-4 (+15 ATS) which leaves us at 60% matching our three year publicly vetted track record at Outckick. Four more Sunday picks here:

DEN @ KC -12.5

Denver has an interim coach, a controversy with Russell Wilson and also long been eliminated from playoff contention. Kansas City is among the healthiest teams and still has the #1 and a first round bye to play for. A big 25 point SIC score differential is compelling and makes us ignore an almost two TD line. The Chiefs should cruise in this matchup where the Broncos have seemingly mailed it in as the interim coach is a care taker with no chance to retain the head job.

ARI @ ATL under 41.5

A rookie 2nd string QB vs a 3rd/4th string QB and both squads with offensive line issues and nothing to play for makes us think the under. The Falcons are the healthier side but not sure they have the offensive fire power to cover. This should be a meaningless game with a running clock.

LAR @ LAC -6.5

Los Angeles is a Rams town but this Chargers home game might actually have more Chargers fans than Rams fans in attendance in the stadium they share. The Chargers have qualified for the playoffs but it is important to potentially move up to the #5 seed which would have them on the road agains the Titans or Jaguars which would be far more preferable to playing at Buffalo, Kansas City or Cincinnati. The 21 point SIC score health differential aligns with the Chargers as well. The algorithm says to lay the points.

PIT +2.5 @ BAL

The Steelers are the healthier squad and assuming they are still in playoff contention at kick out, this seems like a good match up. Or take them +1 in the first half and a tie gets you the win. No Lamar Jackson this week and the Ravens are still quite injured with Calais Campbell, Michael Pierce, Marcus Peters and both top wide outs missing or likely missing. Of course, this Sunday Night Football pick changes if the Dolphins win in the early contest against the Patriots and eliminate Pittsburgh from the post season.

Honorable mentions:

Carolina is the healthier squad getting four points. New England has the advantage over the Miami secondary laying 2.5. Our fall back game is Chargers over Rams if the Dolphins eliminate the Steelers.

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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