There are always injuries in the NFL, particularly this late in the season. However, this week has been especially challenging for teams because of COVID-19-related absences.
Due to illness and injury, some NFL betting lines (especially the Cleveland/Oakland line) have been volatile this week. I’ll look at three games that I feel will be particularly affected by injuries for this article. I’m not going to mention the Cleveland Browns or the Los Angeles Rams because of the changing nature of the situation. As players on those teams continue to test throughout the week, there’s a chance that more will end up on the COVID protocol list.
Here are the three games that I believe will be the most impacted by injuries.
Packers (-5.5) at Ravens
Baltimore gives up 3.6 sacks per game, which leads the NFL. Lamar Jackson has been sacked 38 times this season. If an ankle injury limits his mobility, I’d expect that number to rise. Tyler Huntley will step into the starter role if Jackson doesn’t play. Huntley played well last week, throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown.
The Baltimore Ravens are going against an elite 10-3 Green Bay Packers team. Aaron Rodgers is playing well, throwing for 1,033 yards in his last three games with ten touchdowns and no picks, and the Packers have scored 112 points in that span.
That doesn’t bode well for a Baltimore pass defense that ranks 31st in the league (266.1 YPG). Couple that with the fact that the Ravens have struggled to put up points as of late (16.6 PPG over the last five), and you have a situation where it’s going to be hard for the Ravens to hang around with an injured Lamar Jackson.
Chiefs (-3) at Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs in a critical divisional game this Thursday, and if Austin Ekeler is going to play, he’ll have to do it with a banged-up ankle on short rest. Ekeler has been instrumental to the Chargers’ success this season, with a remarkable 1265 total yards and 16 TDs.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Ekeler is expected to play this week. However, without him, the Chargers will have their hands full against a surging Kansas City team.
The Chargers are currently +3.5 home underdogs. LA beat KC in Week 3 this season, but the Chiefs are now a completely different team on both sides of the ball.
A once suspect defensive unit now looks fantastic, allowing just nine points in three straight games while scoring two touchdowns, creating 11 turnovers, and sacking the quarterback ten times. Then, last week, the Chiefs offense rolled, scoring 48 points.
If Ekeler isn’t 100%, I believe that it will be difficult for the Chargers to score points on a dominant Chiefs’ defense.
Washington Football Team at Eagles (-9.5)
Earlier in the week, Taylor Heinicke and Terry McLaurin were listed as questionable, but Heinicke was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, so he should be good to go this week. Terry McLaurin still needs clearance to return from his concussion. Without McLaurin, the WFT could have difficulty against the Philadelphia Eagles.
A healthy Washington Football Team should keep this close because of its solid defensive play (19.4 PPG in the last five games), but the Football Team will struggle to move the ball against the Eagles’ tenth-ranked (total yards) defense. Last week, the Eagles held the New York Jets to 281 total yards.
Philadelphia has its own injury concerns. Jalen Hurts is still nursing an injured ankle, leading to the team splitting practice reps between him and Gardner Minshew. Against the Jets, Minshew threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns. I believe that the Eagles defense will lead this team to a victory over the WFT regardless of who the quarterback is. However, the uncertainty at quarterback could cause some bettors to stay away from this game.
How Will NFL Injuries Impact the Season?
NFL injuries have always played a significant role in sports betting, and this season is no different. So, before placing any bets, it’s always essential to check out the NFL injury report.
Head to BetMGM for all of this week’s online sports betting action, and don’t forget to place your wager on the division, conference, and Super Bowl champions.