ProFootballDoc: Top 5 Actionable Injury Issues for Week 10

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Last week we returned to 4-1 form and sport a cumulative record of 28-15-2 for the five Sunday morning picks against the spread. The advantage is to use unseen injury information not accounted for in the public lines.

We use the lines at the time of posting, but if you go to tonight you can get our advice on the direction of line movements for next Sunday to get an even bigger advantage. We predicted the direction of line movements on multiple teams based on injuries. Bengals/Steelers and Saints/49ers lines each moved 3 points. The Texans/Browns and Giants/Eagles lines moved across the key 3 number. For our picks here, we use only the Sunday AM line but will point out the advantages that could have been had based on market timing.

Alex Smith exposed

There is no better feel good story than the soon to be unanimous Comeback Player of the Year. Washington QB Alex Smith who is now starting after 17 surgeries and almost losing his leg, is an amazing story. I just feel his physical limitations will be exposed as the starter where the Lions can now game plan for him. Please do not click on these links if unless you want to see stomach turning grotesque images of Smith’s infected/dying leg four days after surgery  and the resultant skin/muscle/nerve loss. As a result, Smith plays with an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) and has a foot drop. He cannot walk normally without the protheses much less play football. Yes he had some limited success late last week but just don’t see how that can be sustained. It doesn’t help that Washington is without the left side of their offensive line. The Lions have their own injury issues but should be able to win by more than the 3 points they are giving.

Eagles get healthier

Philadelphia has been the early season leader in injuries. They are not fully healthy now but over the last few weeks they have improved significantly. Now coming off a bye, they get Miles Sanders back, Alshon Jeffery makes his 2020 debut and Lane Johnson should finally finish a game. The Eagles defense has also returned to health. The Eagles opening line seven days earlier was -2.5/3. At the beginning of the season that gap would have been 6 or 7 or more for a projected contest vs the lowly Giants but the betting public has noted the Philadelphia injuries. Indeed, as news broke of the Eagles improved health, the line moved across the all-important 3 number to now 4. The point is this is no longer the same banged up team on both sides of the ball as reflected by their B+ grade. The delta of improved health is what is important here.

49ers are the most injured team in football

The Saints could experience a letdown after their dominate win against division rival Buccaneers, but we have to stay true to the injury mismatches. There is no bigger injury index mismatch this week. The attention is on the 49ers offensive injured starters (and backups) at QB, RB, WR and TE; however, the defense is equally severely hampered with Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and now Jaquiski Tartt among many others are out. We knew this on seven days ago when the line came out at Saints -6.5 and we wanted to take it (and advised others reading to do so then) but now the line has moved to -9.5. 

Bengals weak on both sides of the lines

Many say the game of football is won and lost in the trenches. The Bengals are missing over half of their starters on the lines. All while they play an undefeated team in the Steelers known for their line play on both sides of the ball. Yes the Bengals are coming off a bye but they still don’t have Joe Mixon. Ben Roethlisberger should be effective despite no practice and a knee MCL sprain. This game opened with a line of Bengals +10 but needlessly dropped as low as Steelers -6.5 before settling at -7. The fervent followers of could have had a nice middle.

Defensive injuries on both Bills and Cardinals

This total started at 49 and have moved now to 56.5. Given the new defensive health issues on both defenses, the over seems to still be the play. The Cardinals lost their top two defensive end, miss two of the top three corners and star safety Budda Baker is hobbled by a groin. The Bills were already without linebacker Matt Milano and Micah Hyde questionable before losing Josh Norman and Levi Wallace to COVID high risk. The Bills are healthy on offense and Kenyan Drake might play (but limited) for the Cardinals. 

The key is to check out early to get down before the line moves and it is free to OutKick readers. For our picks here, we will use the lines as of Sunday morning and forego that advantage.

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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