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NFL Week 15 Injury Report and the Effect on the Betting Odds – Jones, Stafford, Smith and More

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Dec 19, 2020 · 6:00 AM PST

Daniel Jones holding football
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones warms-up before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
  • Washington and New York Giants have question marks at pivot as they enter Week 15
  • Patrick Mahomes could face greater pressure with O-line injuries in New Orleans
  • Read below for Week 15’s most notable injuries and how they may affect betting

No surprise that as we enter the final stretch of the NFL season, there’s a deep and substantial injury report heading into Week 15.

Obviously, losing a starting quarterback at any point will do damage, and in the NFC East turtle derby, the two teams in best position to claim the division may be looking at backups.

That’s just one of the standout injury situations that may have already affected this week’s betting lines, and could play a role in how you decide to spread around your wagers.

Injury Report For Week 15

Team Player Position Week 15 Opponent Injury Thursday Practice Game Status
Denver Broncos Phillip Lindsay RB Bills Hip Limited Questionable
Denver Broncos Melvin Gordon RB Bills Shoulder Limited Questionable
Carolina Panthers Russell Okung T Packers Calf Limited Questionable
Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey RB Packers Thigh Did Not Practice Doubtful
Seattle Seahawks Carlos Dunlap DE Washington Foot Limited Questionable
Washington FT Alex Smith QB Seahawks Calf Did Not Practice Out
Washington FT Antonio Gibson RB Seahawks Toe Limited Doubtful
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford QB Titans Rib, Right Thumb Limited Questionable
Tennessee Titans Roger Saffold G Lions Toe Did Not Practice Questionable
Indianapolis Colts DeForest Buckner DT Texans Ankle Did Not Practice Questionable
Baltimore Ravens Marcus Peters CB Jaguars Calf Did Not Practice Questionable
Baltimore Ravens Calais Campbell DT Jaguars Calf Limited Questionable
Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones WR Buccaneers Hamstring Did Not Practice Out
San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel WR Cowboys Hamstring Did Not Practice Out
Chicago Bears Khalil Mack LB Vikings Shoulder Limited Questionable
New England Patriots Damien Harris RB Dolphins Ankle Limited Questionable
New England Patriots Shaq Mason G Dolphins Calf Limited Questionable
Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott RB 49ers Calf Did Not Practice Questionable
Miami Dolphins Ereck Flowers G Patriots Ankle Limited Questionable
Miami Dolphins Mike Gesicki TE Patriots Shoulder Limited Questionable
Philadelphia Eagles Darius Slay CB Cardinals Concussion Limited Questionable
Arizona Cardinals Chase Edmonds RB Eagles Ankle Did Not Practice Questionable
Kansas City Chiefs Mike Remmers T Saints Back, Neck Limited Doubtful
Kansas City Chiefs Eric Fisher T Saints Back Full Participant Questionable
New Orleans Saints Michael Thomas WR Chiefs Ankle Did Not Practice Out
Cleveland Browns Denzel Ward CB Giants Calf Limited Questionable
New York Giants Daniel Jones QB Browns Hamstring, Ankle Limited Questionable

Alex Smith Out, Daniel Jones Questionable

Alex Smith’s Comeback Player of the Year trophy is basically guaranteed, but it’s not all just feel good. He’s quarterbacked the Washington Football team to four straight wins and a respectable 6-7 mark. Pro-rate that to the NFC East, and it’s a first-place mark.

It hasn’t always been pretty — in those four wins, he’s managed to throw for over 166 yards just once, but the top pick in the 2005 draft is the ultimate game manager, and makes enough plays to put his team in position to win.

How valuable is he? Well, in betting terms, he’s at least two points better than anything else Washington can trot out. That’s how far the line moved as Smith was ruled out for Sunday, giving way to Dwayne Haskins. Washington started as 4.5-point underdogs, and are now 6.5-point ‘dogs as they host the Seahawks.

Another contributing factor is standout rookie running back Antonio Gibson is doubtful with a toe injury. Gibson first among rookies and third in the NFL in rushing TD’s. If he can’t go Washington is left with JD McKissic and Peyton Barber as the primary ball carriers.

The Giants quickly shifted away from the Colt McCoy experience — despite an improbable win in Seattle  in Week 13 — opting instead for a hobbled Daniel Jones, trying to chase down a playoff spot in Week 14 against the Cardinals. Wrong move. Jones injured his ankle on top of already not looking right, the Giants were crushed by the Cardinals, and their playoff hopes are on life support.

At 5-8, New York is going to have to try and keep the pace against a very tough Cleveland Browns squad. Even with Jones expected to start, they were 4.5-point underdogs, but that line has moved since, to a current -6.5 mark.

One other starting quarterback may be sidelined, as Matthew Stafford is battling a rib injury and a right thumb injury, which matters if you’re a right-handed throwing QB. Already massive underdogs on the road to the Tennessee Titans, oddsmakers have lengthened those odds, with some books giving them a whopping 11.5-points.

In case you’re wondering, Chase Daniel is the backup.

Julio Jones, Michael Thomas Both Sitting Sunday

Two of the league’s premier pass catchers will be in street clothes come kickoff. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is out with a hamstring injury against the Buccaneers, while New Orleans Saints top target Michael Thomas can’t go with an ankle injury.

Jones missed last week, and is considered week-to-week as the Falcons close out a disappointing stretch. Even though his streak of 1,300 yards receiving was likely coming to an end this year (he had 51 grabs and 771 yards), his presence alone helped Atlanta’s offense.

In the nine games he has played, the Falcons have averaged 25.1 points a contest. In the three he’s missed? They’ve averaged just 19.7 points. In a divisional matchup with the Buccaneers, no Julio has moved the line 1.5 points, with Tampa Bay now favored by six points.

Thomas’ season has been a major disappointment, and the Saints would have loved to have him against the Chiefs — especially after coming off a brutal loss to the Eagles, which could end up costing them top seed in the NFC. While losing Thomas hurts, the line shaved a point off the Chiefs this week.

Two major reasons why it’s moved from Chiefs -4 to -3 are both likely factors on the injury front. The first: Drew Brees, out with a rib injury for four games, has been cleared to play. The second: both Chiefs tackles, Mike Remmers and Eric Fisher, appeared on the injured list. Remmers is doubtful with back and neck injuries, while Fischer, although a full participant in practice Thursday, is still questionable with a bad back.

Maybe Patrick Mahomes is Superman — if his line is decimated, we’re going to see how he fares against a legit Saints defense.

Other Notable Injuries

Ezekiel Elliott has been hampered by a calf injury and was a limited participant Tuesday. One less weapon for Andy Dalton and the Cowboys’ offense has them as three-point underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers, who counter with Nick Mullens under center. Perhaps it’s time to look at that 45 total and pound the under.

Fellow running back Christian McCaffrey is shelved in Week 15 with a thigh injury. But Carolina has had a lot of reps learning to play without their star, and Mike Davis has proven to be a steady backup and helpful piece for Panthers’ starter Teddy Bridgewater. It probably won’t matter, as they take on the surging Packers as 8-point underdogs.

On the defensive side, the Bears may be without Khalil Mack when they play Minnesota, questionable with a shoulder injury. That might be the best news Kirk Cousins will hear this week, as the Vikings desperately try to stay in the playoff race. Vegas knows his impact: Minnesota is now 4-point favorites after opening at -1.5.

And can the Patriots throw a wrench in the Dolphins’ playoff hopes? The Patriots are now just 1-point underdogs after opening the Week at +3. Miami’s injury woes, particularly on the offensive end, don’t bode well for rookie pivot Tua Tagovailoa, who will face a Bill Belichick defense that preys on inexperienced QBs. They made life miserable a few weeks ago in a 45-0 drubbing against promising Chargers’ pivot Justin Herbert.

Miami could be without guard Ereck Flowers (calf), tight end Mike Geisecki (shoulder) and wide receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring) in this one.

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