ProFootballDoc: NFL Regular Season Final Week Injury Analysis Picks

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The regular season final Sunday will require a lot more than just injury analysis, although that remains a big piece. One needs to consider who has something to play for, who will rest players and which teams are tanking.

Jalen Hurts is indeed back as expected with the Eagles needing a win (or Cowboys loss) lest they could fall from the #1 seed to a Wild Card team. The Eagles QB will be fully effective physically but might have some rust to contend with.

Meanwhile, same story for Lamar Jackson with another missed game as expected. Medically, I do expect him back for the Ravens playoff game but how mobile is the question? Don’t believe the rumors that this is about his lack of long term contract, unless he misses the playoff game. If that were to happen, and that is a big “if”, then I don’t see how the fans or team will want to reward him with a new deal anyways.

The Chiefs covered easily to bring our winning picks against the spread total to 50. Derrick Henry was 100% physically as predicted and that was enough to keep the Titans close and the Jaguars won but did not cover, leading to our 33rd loss. That still leaves us at +17 on the season with a healthy 50-33-4 (60%) ATS record with three picks to go. If we can go just 2-1, that reaches our preseason goal of +18 for 18 weeks of football with five injury based picks. Here they are:

CLE @ PIT -2.5

A solid +10 on the team SIC score differential, a playoff spot still in play and a home game to get above .500 for the season are combined reasons to lay the 2.5 points. The Browns are missing the entire starting linebacker corps due to injury. Deshaun Watson has yet to find his stride and has 3/5ths of the original starting offensive line out. These are the hidden injuries seen easily on the Field View and this enough to have us on the Steelers to pull it out and remain viable for the playoffs.

DAL -7 @ WAS

The Commanders are limping to the finish and the Cowboys have a shot at winning the NFC East still with an Eagles loss. Washington will start a third string QB and RB while missing 60% of the OL. Don’t see how a rookie QB can take advantage of the Dallas defense. Meanwhile defensively the Commanders are missing five key starters and Chase Young is nowhere near fully back. Dallas should have an easy path to dominate this matchup with Washington throwing in the towel.

LAR @ SEA -6

The Seahawks can remain alive with a win and get into the final Wild Card spot with a Packers loss in the Sunday Night regular season finale. Seattle always has a tremendous home field advantage and also carry a considerable 20+ SIC team health score advantage. The Rams have shut it down with multiple injuries on both sides of the ball and now word their 36-year-old head coach may call it quits all leads us to take the Seahawks and lay the six points.

Geno Smith and the Seahawks are among the winners in ProFootballDoc’s final picks. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images).

The other game I really want to take is New England +7.5 but I cannot bring myself to capitalize on the Damar Hamlin frightening injury. It is very hard to “unsee” CPR and your teammate’s heart being shocked. That could have lasting effects on the Bills team. In 2011 when I was head team physician for the Chargers, teammates witnessed LG Kris Dielman having a seizure after a concussion and we lost the next five games destroying what would have been a playoff season. Hope this doesn’t torpedo the Bills in the same way.


Final Honorable Mention picks using the injury algorithm include MIN/CHI under 42.5, LAC +3, NYG +16.5 and GB -4.5. Good luck in this final week. Playoff preview and analysis coming as well.

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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