Your crack team of dead end analysts are here for another injury update ahead of the NFL’s Week 5 . In this column, where we discuss the NFL Week 5 injury report, we try to key in on some of the most impactful injuries that may have an affect on the odds for the week.
We often see a line and think the wrong team is favored or the spread is gigantic. One of the reasons for this is injuries. When you see a spread that looks wrong, don’t immediately hammer it. Read all of our analysis at GodzillaWins first.
This week, we focus on three games with some important injuries.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-3.5) (O/U 42)
Thursday, Oct. 6 at 8:15 EST on Amazon Prime
The Colts come into the game with the Broncos in another must-win scenario, as they look to avoid their fourth loss. Injuries always pose a problem for Thursday night games, as we saw with the Dolphins last week, and the Colts are no different.
The Colts are missing some major pieces on defense, including S Julian Blackmon (ankle), LB Shaquille Leonard (concussion), DE Tyquan Lewis (concussion), and RB Jonathan Taylor (ankle).
The Colts are supposed to have one of the best defenses in the league, but we haven’t seen much of that this year. Losing all of these pieces, including two to concussion protocol, will make it difficult to slow down a Broncos offense that has been surprisingly effective.
Johnathan Taylor was the most valuable player on a team that overperformed a year ago and his absence is going to be felt. The Colts only run the ball about 40% of the time, but that could be an effect of their uncanny ability to find themselves down big in the first half. Look for that percentage to decrease this week without their star RB.
Don’t take the Colts. If you believe in the Broncos, lay the 3.5. The points total seems like the best play here. It should be 39, so 42 feels like a gift.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9) (O/U 48)
Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1:00 pm EST
The Bucs are once again battling key injuries. Along with the plethora of receivers recovering from injuries, DT Akiem Hicks (foot) remains questionable for the game against the Falcons as well as OT Josh Wells (calf). Wells had been playing left tackle for the injured Donovan Smith (elbow). The Bucs also placed RB Giovanni Bernard on IR with an ankle injury. This team has so many injuries that I can’t even keep track week to week.
Hicks is a major blow to the interior defensive line. Josh Wells is not a starter and had been playing for Donovan Smith (foot). Smith is day to day but played last week and should be good to go Sunday. They’ll need him healthy for Sunday’s game. While the Bucs defense can spare a difference maker or two, the O-line needs to stay in tact if they plan to protect their aging QB.
The Falcons learned some bad news about their star RB Cordarrelle Patterson, who they placed on IR with an ankle injury. Caleb Huntley performed well for the Falcons in their win against the Browns in Week 4. The Falcons also have an option in Tyler Allgeier, who has 26 carries for 139 yards on the season.
For a team that likes to run the ball, the Falcons will miss Patterson. However, the real reason they move the ball so well is because they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. They should be able to run somewhat effectively and their defense should feast on the Bucs injuries on offense.
The line opened at -8 for the Bucs and moved to -9, which means all the public money is on Tampa Bay. I like the Falcons here. They’re 4-0 in covering this season and should be able to keep TB12 in check. If the line scares you, play the under and root for a few INTs.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3) (O/U 48.5)
Sunday, Oct. 6 at 8:20 pm EST on NBC
Baltimore Ravens RB Justice Hill (calf) rushed for 45 yards on 8 carries against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4 before blowing out his hamstring and hopping into the end zone. The Ravens RB averaged 10 yard per carry in a productive game against the Patriots in Week 3. Hill opens up the playbook for coach John Harbaugh and gives the Ravens even more explosiveness in their offense.
The Ravens could also be without WR Rashod Bateman (foot), who has been limited in practice this week. Bateman is considered one of the Ravens most dangerous receivers. He may not come down with more than four catches a game, but he draws a lot of attention and respect from defensive coordinators. He is day-to-day, but you can expect his targets to be limited Sunday night.
The Bengals have one of the best defenses in the league with no real weaknesses. The Ravens will still have options on offense but could be limited, especially in a bitter divisional game on primetime. I’d be nervous to lay the points with Baltimore. I might stay away from this game completely.