NFL Week 14 Overrated/Underrated Injuries

On December 9, 2016, in NFL, by Stephen

The overrated/underrated injury list for Week 14 in the NFL is comprised of offensive linemen and key defenders. Let’s begin with defense.

San Diego at Carolina – Despite being home and the Chargers having to play at an early start time for them, the Panthers are just the slightest of favorites. Philip Rivers is a battler. So the Chargers can be counted on to not mail this one in. They are 4-2 ATS as a ‘dog. But can Carolina be trusted with 2016 being the opposite of its great 2015 Super Bowl run? Cam Newton is enduring a terrible season forcing things trying to do too much. I feel no sympathy for him because in my view he’s a frontrunner, a showboat and a classless act. However, the Panthers’ top defensive player and inspiration, linebacker Luke Kuechly, could play after missing the last two games with a concussion. There’s no reason for Kuechly to risk his career by coming back since the Panthers are a dead team. But if he does play that could prove to be a huge motivator. Kuechly’s status is questionable and bears watching.

Seattle at Green Bay – Sharp money has pushed the Seahawks up to three-point favorites. Maybe they’ll even close 3 1/2. Russell Wilson is healthy and playing his best ball. Thomas Rawls gives Seattle its best running back. Clay Matthews is supposed to be 100 percent after being bothered by a shoulder injury. Can Matthews make a difference? Is this steam on Seattle justified? The answers are Matthews makes no difference and the Seahawks’ steam is justified. Maybe it’s because Matthews does a ton of commercials, but he could be the most overrated defensive player in the league. Mike Daniels, not Matthews, is the Packers’ best defensive player and maybe the second-best player on the team. The combination of being moved inside and dealing with a shoulder injury have rendered Matthews largely ineffective for two years now. I doubt that changes here. Nick Perry, the Packers’ best pass rusher this season, is out with a hand injury. It doesn’t matter that Seattle has a bad offensive line. Wilson compensates for that with his great mobility, instincts and savvy.

Pittsburgh at Buffalo – The Steelers have been bet up to minus three against the Bills. Buffalo isn’t making the playoffs. So what else is now. But Ben Roethlisberger always has been less effective on the road and playing a December game in Buffalo never is a picnic. Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell, though, may catch a break if defensive lineman Kyle Williams can’t play. He’s questionable because of a sore back. He was unable to practice Friday. If Williams is out that would mean major playing time for Jerel Worthy, who is the Charlie Whitehurst of defensive linemen. The drop-off from Williams to Worthy is going from a high “B” player to an “F” player.

Denver at Tennessee – Trevor Siemian’s foot injury is getting all the attention in this matchup. It’s what is keeping many sports books from putting up a line on this game. I understand that. I’d want no part of the Broncos if overmatched rookie Paxton Lynch has to play again. But Tennessee also has a key defensive injury – and it’s way below the radar. Statistics don’t show it, but lineman Jurrell Casey may be the Titans’ best defensive player. Certainly he has high respect around the league. He’s not likely to play, though, because of a foot injury.

New York Jets at San Francisco – I can’t ever recall a team that has lost 11 games in a row (going 2-9 ATS) ever being favored? However, that’s the case here with the 49ers. It’s justified, too, since the 49ers are hosting the Jets. Is this a play on the 49ers? Nope. Is this a fade on the Jets? Definitely. I understand if you can’t back the 49ers. But there are three factors why you need to stay far away from the Jets: 1. Bryce Petty. He’s not ready for his first NFL road start. The talent level to compete in the NFL isn’t there with him. No. 2. The spot: The Jets are traveling cross-country on a short week with shot morale and a divided locker room. No. 3: Offensive line injuries. Star center Nick Mangold is done for the year. Now right tackle Beno Giacomini has been ruled out. Brent Qvale will replace him. I know nothing about Qvale. But he must not be any good if Giacomini, an absolute stiff, was starting ahead of him.


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