ProFootballDoc: Top 5 Actionable Injury Issues for NFL Week 11

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A 3-1-1 week last Sunday with our five picks based on choosing the healthier team leaves us at 31-16-3 on the season.

The theory is that the line accounts for the talent and scheme but finding hidden injury inequities can lead to advantages. We wish we could take the early week lines as often at we know coming out of the previous week who will and won’t play but for this article we use lines at time of posting/writing.

No Drew Brees

The headline is no Drew Brees as Taysom Hill starts but it really should be about how the Falcons are healthy, especially on offense. We anticipated Brees would be out and encouraged subscribers to take Atlanta and the 7.5 points knowing the line would come down when Brees was announced out. Even with the Falcons now only +3.5, that is the healthier side.

Alex Smith blind side

Washington threw 55 times last week and Smith put up 390 yards but that doesn’t seem sustainable. We have documented Smith’s decreased mobility and now he has a third string left tackle and back up left guard on his blind side. We love this comeback story but don’t see Smith being able to be a long-term NFL starter. The Bengals are slight underdogs at +1.5 but should be able to win outright.

Tale of Two QBs

Both the starting QBs in the Lions versus Panthers are injured. Our expectation has been that one should play and the other won’t. Matt Stafford should be fine with his partially torn thumb ulnar collateral ligament but Teddy Bridgewater is likely to sit from him knee MCL sprain. Chistian McCaffrey is already out. Detroit started as the underdog early week and are now slight favorites by 1.5 points. The line may move more is Teddy B is ruled out as expected.

Steelers healthy

Pittsburgh has only lost one player on each side of the ball to ACL tears. They are otherwise healthy leading to their undefeated record. Left tackle Zach Banner and linebacker Devin Bush are all that are missing from the Steelers and they acquired linebacker Avery Williamson who himself is coming off an ACL tear last week. The Steelers are heavily favored at -10.5 but here we only evaluate health so we stick with Pittsburgh.

Broncos defensive line

Drew Lock should play but the story is the red squares in the field view that show the Denver defensive line issues where 7 out of the 11 rostered players on the D line are injured. Last week, the Raiders were able to rush for over 200 yards. Look for Matt Breida to do some damage. Tua has started 3-0 and this could be number four. Would love to have Miami at pick (which they were early week) but the current line is -3.5.

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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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