ProFootballDoc: QB Shuffle And Sunday Injury Advantages

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The injury front is dominated by quarterback news. Lisfranc or not, Jimmy Garoppolo is still done for the season. Lamar Jackson will miss games with a PCL sprain which OutKick was first to write about.

Patrick Mahomes, Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Tannehill will play through a variety of foot/ankle issues.

The attention is on the QBs and the lines reflect it. However, the real advantage comes from looking at cluster injuries at position groups. That analysis is often not incorporated into the numbers. That is what we have ridden to a 39-22-4 record (+17 against the spread) which would currently be a top 50 showing at the Westgate Superbook Contest.

Here are this Sunday’s five picks and honorable mentions based on the Sports Injury Central analysis and algorithm.

BAL @ PIT -1.5

Lamar Jackson is listed as doubtful, but it is common knowledge he won’t play. The Ravens have been one of the more injury riddled clubs this season and they face an essentially healthy Steelers club. A quick check of the field view shows only one player (cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon) out for starters on both sides of the ball. The line accounted for the Ravens QB out but not necessarily for the rest of the team. J.K. Dobbins is back again after his knee scope following last year’s multi-ligament surgery but still not likely to be effective. The Dobbins under 875 yards season total futures we advised before the start of the season is a lock as he only has 123 yards to date.

JAX +3.5 @ TEN

The news here is not that Trevor Lawrence is playing but that the Titans have the biggest health score drop of the week. As a team they fell 9.2 points on their SIC score overall and defensively dropped 15.1 points from last week. Tennessee has both top corners out, missing three of four linebacker starters and key defensive lineman trying to play thru injury. This should allow a relatively healthy Jaguars team to keep things close and have a chance to pull off the upset.

PHI -7 @ NYG

Saquon Barkley is reportedly a game-time decision and 50/50 on playing. Although info is limited, we have his personal SIC score at 88 meaning we feel he can play through his neck soreness. Even with this high health score, the Giants are still double digits worse in injury versus the Eagles. The line is currently -7 but it might be smart to wait until the 90 minute inactives are announced. Assuming Barkley plays, that line could easily dip to 6.5 or better on that news.

KC -9 @ DEN

The Chiefs are a big road favorite but have an even bigger team SIC score advantage (+25.1) against the Broncos. Yes, laying nine points on the road to a good defense is scary but our algorithm is undefeated this season with any health advantage 20 points or more. Kansas City is completely healthy defensively and offensive only will be short at the third receiver spot. Denver continues to struggle with health at offensive line and wide receiver areas.

MIA -3 @ LAC

In the 2020 NFL draft, the Dolphins were at the fifth pick and took Tua Tagovailoa and the Chargers followed next with Justin Herbert. Tua dropped from the top spot with his hip dislocation but as we expected, that has been a non-issue. Herbert prior to this year seemed like the better choice but that may be changing this season and we will get a fun first hand comparison. Our concern is with the Chargers overall health. Center Corey Linsley returning from concussion helps but the O line is still missing both starting tackles. Defensively they are without their three best players in Joey Bosa, Derwin James and J.C. Jackson. The defensive line is even a bigger concern with injury. This sets up for a good matchup for the Dolphins.

Honorable mentions this week include MIN +2, CIN -5.5, HOU +17.5, SF -3.5 and SEA -4. Check out their Field Views at Sports Injury Central to make your own calls for a winning week.

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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