The NFL continues to play with fire as far as COVID is concerned. We always knew that players and staff would test positive but the concern is how many close contacts there continue to be and thus the risk of another outbreak like the Titans. 12 out of 16 Jaguars practice squad players placed on the COVID list as a precaution is a good move to be safe but there really shouldn’t be that many players who have been in close contact in the first place. Chasing positives is not the way to go and the league needs to get proactive. In medicine, we use universal precautions treating every surgical patient as if they have HIV or hepatitis to avoid infection of operating room personnel. The NFL should proactively contact trace within their facility so when the next inevitable person turns positive, there risk of spread is minimal. At least the hug from Stephon Gilmore postgame did not lead to Patrick Mahomes getting COVID as we indicated was unlikely.
On to football and let’s see if we can play with fire by continuing our hot streak. Five straight winning weeks with four out of the five with the lone exception in Week 4 at 3-1-1.
As a former NFL team physician, what I write about here and post at www.profootballdoc.com is not a tout service. It is injury analysis using insider knowledge to get you on the right side of the action. A team’s talent and scheme is incorporated into the lines but typically the hidden injury info is not. Often the player prop conclusions based on injury are more powerful but here we go with another stab at the top five actionable NFL injury issues. (lines used are as of writing in the very early hours of Sunday morning).
Eagles start a new O-line again, still missing WRs
Philadelphia’s injury woes have been well documented and I hope the line hasn’t caught up. The Ravens opened as 7-point favorites and now are -9.5 (and soon to be 10). The Eagles will now be without four out of five offensive line starters (as we predicted) as well as four out of the top five pass catchers. The only good news is the Ravens will be without two defensive line starters. The smart bettors would have read that and jumped on the -7 but even now it seems the A- vs C+ healthy mismatch should lead to a one-sided game. The total has also been bet down from 49 to 46.5.
Shootout for Falcons at Vikings
Both defenses have issues and both offenses are relatively injury free. Yes, Dalvin Cook is not playing and Julio Jones may not be 100% but there is still superior health on the offensive side of the ball. A total of 54 shouldn’t scare anyone. The Vikings do get Mike Hughes back but are still hurting at other spots. The Falcons continue with secondary issues and Takkarist McKinley will not be there to provide up front pressure.
Washington defense healthy
Clearly the thoughts here are not based on talent and scheme. The Washington football team benched its starting QB Dwayne Haskins and when Kyle Allen quickly was injured, Alex Smith was a shell of himself. Allen is back this week and so is right guard Brandon Scherf to provide line stability that last week gave up eight sacks. That and a healthy Chase Young leading the defense is enough to provide a close game versus the Giants. New York opened as 3.5 point favorites but the line is dropping. Hurry to get Washington at the key number of 3 as it is soon to dip lower.
Miami a two-score favorite?
At the start of the season, who would have thought the Dolphins would open as 8-point favorites and that the number would move up? When the injury ravaged Jets are the opponent, this happens. The health of the Jets mentally has to be questioned as well as physically. They are paying their top QB and RB to not play and that sends a bad message to the team. Sam Darnold finished the game where he was injured with an AC joint sprain two and a half weeks ago and could play, but is being held out as he hasn’t practiced. Le’Veon Bell was released and quickly signed by the Chiefs but the Jets still pay the majority of his salary. Since my analysis is solely based on player healthy, the Dolphins are the right side despite now laying 9.5 points.
49er defensive woes
The attention has been on the San Francisco offensive injuries. George Kittle has returned triumphantly, Jimmy Garoppolo takes another stab at playing through his high ankle sprain and the WR health has improved. The real story is on the defense. Nick Bosa, Ezekial Ansah, Solomon Thomas and Dee Ford would be better than most defensive lines in the NFL and all four are out with injury. The cornerbacks continue with multiple injury issues and were exposed by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. It is the Rams healthy A- offense that sticks out against the 49ers’ C health rated defense. The line is only favors the Rams by 3 and this isn’t enough to account for the injuries. With both offenses healthy, the over has climbed from 49.5 to 51.5.
Outkick readers should go to www.profootballdoc.com to create a free account to use the injury information to your advantage. Whether placing wagers thru FanDuel or playing DFS or deciding between two running backs by looking at the health of opposing defenses, there are injury advantages to be had.