ProFootballDoc: Top Actionable Injury Issues for NFL Week 12

In middle school when I voiced a complaint, my English teacher scolded me saying: “if all you ever learn in the eighth grade is that life is unfair, you learned a lot.” Some NFL players and teams need to learn the same thing as it pertains to COVID-19. In this pandemic, the usual rules are out the window and there already has been and will be more “unfair” situations.

The Ravens have had their game pushed back but the Broncos will have to play without a true quarterback, and although this situation may seem unfair, this was never about fairness but about safety. The league told all teams that competitive issues would not be considered. Baltimore continues to have a streak of daily positives (and now the Steelers too) and until the outbreak is stemmed with consecutive negative tests, the game can’t be played safely. 

Meanwhile the Broncos situation is not about daily positive tests. It is about contact tracing and teams were told to wear a mask and keep safe distances or risk being labeled high-risk. We talked about the worry of a position group being wiped out and the precautions needed

Whether games are played or delayed is not about fairness or competitive balance, it is about safety. Just like life, certain situations will indeed seem unfair

I think it is unfair that I can’t take the early week lines and only am judged by the lines early Sunday AM (but that was a self-inflicted hurdle to try and prove how valuable injury information could be even under the toughest of circumstances). An “unfair” week has me dropping to 32-20-3 overall.

This week we correctly predicted line moves for several games (see line movers video free at www.profootballdoc.com ). The Steelers opened Sunday at -2.5 and has gone up to -7 for a huge middle as we indicated. The Texans became bigger favorites, the Bengals became significant underdogs and the 49ers health improved. We wanted to but will not pick the Steelers game as it has moved to Tuesday as we try to choose five Sunday games against the line. By injury analysis, we loved the Saints at -6.5 but that line is off due to the four Broncos QBs out.

Here are the most actionable games with injury advantages:

Colts with new injury issues

Sometimes it is not just about the Injury Index grade but the change from one week to the next. The Colts were a B+ Week 11 but this week drop a whole letter grade to C+. Philip Rivers has a significant toe issue, RB Jonathan Taylor and C Ryan Kelly are both out on the COVID list while RG Quenton Nelson and WR Zach Pascal are questionable. Meanwhile two defensive lineman (DeForest Buckner, Denico Autry) are on the COVID list and out as well as LB Bobby Okereke (ankle) plus the SS and MLB both are questionable with ribs. The Titans are not in perfect healthy but there are no week to week surprises for them. The Titans are +3 and may even win outright.

Browns poised to take advantage of Jaguars defense

The attention is on Mike Glennon starting at QB but the real story is the Jacksonville defense who are down six out of 11 starters on defense including stud pass rusher Josh Allen. In addition, their top four cornerbacks are out including top corner C.J. Hendeson who was placed on IR. The Browns have their own defensive issues with Myles Garret and their top two corners out. We will double dip on this game and take Browns -7 and over 48.5.

Rams are the healthy side

The 49ers get healthier on offense with the return of Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr. on offense. Richard Sherman makes his first appearance since Week 1 but that is likely not enough to buoy a ravaged San Francisco defense that is without six of 11 starters and six out of eight top defensive linemen. The Rams are relatively healthy besides at left tackle with Andrew Whitworth out for the year. As we predicted the -7 line has shrunk and is now Rams -6 which matches which side is heathier.

Bears with injury issues and a new QB

The Packers are prohibitive favorites at -8.5 but with three out of five Bears offensive linemen combined with issues to Akeem Hicks and their defensive front (2/3 defensive linemen out), this could end up being one of the more comfortable lines of the weekend as Green Bay should dominate. As they say, when you have two quarterbacks, you have none. Nick Foles is listed as doubtful but in our opinion, could but won’t play which gives Mitch Trubisky a chance to gain the job back. Trubisky is returning for his first game since suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder.

We hope our injury related picks will fair better this week but at least we are up a dozen units in our Sunday weekly five picks against the spread. Go to www.profootballdoc.com for free to make your best fantasy/DFS/wagering decisions.

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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