Divisional Round NFL Injury News and Updates
While Wild Card Weekend may be wall-to-wall football and so much fun on its own, the most competitive weekend of the NFL season is the divisional playoffs. Technically, we have the top eight teams playing, including the two teams that were out on bye last weekend. Most of the games last weekend were competitive, and as fans, that’s all we can truly ask. Now, if you have a wager or two on the contest, then close may not be what you want either.
It’s a small sample size, but one thing I’ve noticed so far was that in the regular season, I was having quite a bit of success with prop bets, but in the playoffs, I’ve been better with game selections and teasers. I’m not exactly sure why this is other than when it comes to props; I tend to like over yardage plays for running backs and receivers, and perhaps those aren’t as fruitful with the better teams usually having better defenses, or maybe defenses are just playing that much more focused in the playoffs. Good luck this weekend.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
The Rams are a beat-up team. John Wolford, who started the game at quarterback for the Rams last weekend versus the Seahawks, is out for this contest. Now, he probably wasn’t going to start anyway as Jared Goff came off the bench and led the Rams to the victory. The problem is, the Rams seemed to go out of their way not to have Goff throw the ball. That’s not going to work this weekend. Sure, the Rams defense is very good, but the Packers are scoring 20+ points this weekend. Goff will have to throw the ball. How is surgically repaired thumb reacts to the cold weather in Green Bay is anyone’s guess, but those pins in that thumb aren’t going to feel all that great. Even if Goff is healthy, Cooper Kupp, his No. 1 receiver target, may not be. Kupp has a knee injury that he suffered late in the victory last week. They initially called it a contusion, but it seems that it would be healed by now if that was true. Kupp is listed as questionable, but he will play; what percentage he will be is yet to be seen.
The Packers had the bye last week, and they come into this game healthy. The big matchup to watch will be Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey versus Davante Adams. If I’m the Rams, wherever Adams goes, so does Ramsey.
Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
This might be the best game of the weekend right here. Neither the Ravens nor the Bills have much in the way of injuries, so no excuses here. Sure, Cole Beasley has a knee injury that he suffered in Week 17, but he’s good to go here. Lamar Jackson finally got the “he can’t win a playoff game” label removed, but how can he beat what might be the hottest team in the AFC, and possibly in snow. As of this writing, they’re saying it could snow in Buffalo on Saturday and that it could accumulate during the game. That sounds like fun to me. The Bills deserve some credit for defeating the Colts despite not playing their best game. The problem is, you got away with that once, try it again, and you may not have to worry about playing the Chiefs next week.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
The Browns don’t report any significant injuries for this contest, but that doesn’t mean everything is coming up roses for Cleveland. They aren’t likely to get the gifts as far as turnovers from the Chiefs that the Steelers gave them. One also might argue that they should give in to the fact that to be at the Chiefs, they will have to score 30+ points, so playing a ball-control offense is great, but it had better lead to touchdowns and not field goals.
There is good news and bad news on running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The good news is that he practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday. The bad news is that he didn’t practice Thursday. He might play Sunday, but it won’t be in a full-time role, and I can’t see you starting him in any format if you have other options available. Sammy Watkins also seems unlikely to play due to a calf injury. The loss of CEH will have a more significant impact than the loss of Watkins. The Chiefs have plenty of other options in the passing game, but if CEH doesn’t play, then Darrell Williams or Le’Veon Bell could be a sneaky play in DFS.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
The latest news is that Ronald Jones is at best a game-time decision as he is trying to recover from a quad injury. Leonard Fournette will once again start at running back for the Buccaneers. Mike Evans was limited in practice this week but should start Sunday but remember, when Evans has been matched up versus Marshon Lattimore in the past, things have not gone well for Evans. That being said, perhaps Lattimore goes up versus Antonio Brown, or he splits snaps versus both. Chris Godwin has also been limited in practice this week with hip and quad issues, but he’ll be good to go Sunday.
Taysom Hill has missed practice this week due to a knee injury, and Latavius has missed practice with a quad injury. If one or both can’t play Sunday, then Alvin Kamara could even have a more significant load than expected, and that’s not a bad thing. Jared Cook has been limited with a back injury but will play Sunday.