NFL Week 5 Underrated Injuries

On October 7, 2016, in NFL, by Stephen

Tampa Bay at Carolina – Cam Newton isn’t likely to play Monday night because of a concussion suffered last week. But that isn’t the only worry the Panthers have against the Buccaneers. They’ll be breaking in new starting cornerbacks with James Bradberry out due to turf toe and Bene Benwikere released after being lit up by Julio Jones this past Sunday. The Panthers’ new starting corners figure to be rookie Daryl Worley and Robert McClain, who is 5-foot-9. Tampa Bay has some of the tallest receivers in the league.

Falcons at Broncos – Quarterback injury news also is the lead item in the Falcons-Broncos matchup where rookie Paxton Lynch could make his first NFL start if Trevor Siemian can’t go because of an injured non-throwing shoulder. C.J. Anderson is going to be Denver’s main focus regardless of who is under center because the Falcons have a serious cluster injury problem at linebacker. Their linebacker problem is so deep that they signed washed-up A.J. Hawk and are considering moving safety Kemal Ishmael to linebacker. The Falcons will be without injured linebackers Deion Jones, Sam Weatherspoon, De’Vondre Campbell and Paul Worrilow. The real loss is middle linebacker Jones. The rookie was giving some spark to what has been a soft defense while leading the team in tackles. Jones also was the defensive signal-caller. He’ll be replaced by LaRoy Reynolds, who is a special teams player.

New York Jets at Pittsburgh – Ryan Fitzpatrick is the very definition of journeyman quarterback. He’s played 12 years in the NFL for six different teams. Fitzpatrick has had a number of dreadful performances. He’s never been this bad, though, during his last two games with a passer rating of 18.2 and 53. He’s thrown one touchdown and been picked off nine times during the past two weeks. Fitzpatrick heads into Pittsburgh not only without Eric Decker – who accounted for 41 percent of Fitzpatrick’s touchdown throws as a Jet – but now possibly minus Quincy Enunwa, who is dealing with a knee injury. Enunwa had moved into Decker’s No. 2 role. The Steelers figure to double-team Brandon Marshall leaving the Jets thin at receiver and Fitzpatrick coming off the worst two-game stretch of his career. If the Jets need to count on newcomer Austin Seferian-Jenkins they’re in real trouble.

Redskins at Ravens – I had a slight lean to the Ravens against the Redskins here. But I won’t get involved. What sealed my decision is that Baltimore offensive left tackle Ronnie Stanley isn’t likely to play because of a foot injury. I don’t see Joe Flacco having a clean pocket without Stanley. Flacco is averaging a career-low 6.3 yards per pass attempt.

Texans at Vikings – I’m not saying Stefon Diggs is the second-best player on the Vikings because the team is loaded with defensive stars. However, there are only two Vikings worth something on the betting line in my view – Sam Bradford and Diggs. I think Diggs is worth half-a-point to the point spread because not only is he the Vikings’ most dependable receiver – he ranks No. 5 in the NFL in receiving yards – but also the spark he brings to their offense. Look for the Vikings to hold out Diggs because of a groin injury. Minnesota has a bye the following week. That means Bradford is going to face a tough defense with a pair of backup running backs and a wide receiving collection of Charles Johnson, Cordarelle Patterson, Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell, who has yet to catch a pass.


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