The big weekend is here. NFL fans will get a king-sized two days of pro football action with only the cream of the crop left on the field. It’s win or go home time in the NFL. Super Wild Card Weekend has arrived. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers get a bye this weekend by virtue of winning their conferences, so we are left with six teams in the NFC and six from the AFC. Three games on Saturday and three on Sunday – football fanatics’ fantasy. However, there are some significant injuries that need to be examined before setting out to wager on any of these Wild Card games.
Bills Expected To Outgun The Colts
Big defensive tackle DeForest Buckner will not be playing for the Indianapolis Colts when they take on the Buffalo Bills this weekend as he is still nursing a nagging ankle injury. Safety Khari Willis, who has been out on concussion protocol, was back at practice yesterday so he will probably see some limited action on Saturday. But cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and offensive tackle Will Holden are out of action against Buffalo. Over on the Bills side, they have to find someone who can catch some passes as both wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley are listed as questionable. The Bills are the strong favorites at -295, getting 6.5 on an Over/Under of 51 points.
The big question mark as the LA Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks is quarterback Jared Goff, who has been dealing with a thumb injury on his throwing hand. He will be a game-time decision but don’t be surprised if they start Goff and then pull him out early if the thumb starts to hamper his play. However, they do get big tackle Andrew Whitworth, who has been out since week 10 with a knee injury. Bad boy defensive end Michael Brockers is out on IR Reserve/COVID-19.
The Seahawks have a couple of key guys on the IR, as well. Corner back Shaquill Griffin has a bad hamstring injury and did not even practice this week, he is listed as questionable by the Seahawks. Defensive back Jayson Stanley also is out of action with a hamstring injury. Big defensive tackle Jarran Reed has an oblique injury and is listed as limited/questionable. Still, the Seahawks are seen as the better option here, getting -175 and 3.5 on an Over/Under of 42 points.
Evans Questionable For The Bucs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ coaching staff and trainers are all keeping an eye on star receiver Mike Evans, who has become a favorite target for Tom Brady, but his status is still questionable. Inside linebacker Devin White is on the IR Reserve/COVID-19 and out for this game against the Washington Football Team (WFT), while cornerback Carlton Davis has a groin injury and is listed as questionable. The WFT is in a quarterback quandary, as Alex Smith is still nursing a calf injury and is listed as questionable. Joining him are running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Terry McLaurin. That’s probably part of the reason the Bucs are favored at -400 and are getting 8 points on an Over/Under of 44.5.
The Baltimore Ravens might have some problems in their defensive secondary in their game against the Tennessee Titans, as both cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey are listed as questionable. Ravens center Patrick Mekari is dealing with a bad back strain and also listed as questionable as are wide reliever Willie Snead and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. The Titans had to put lineman Aaron Brewer on the IR Reserve/COVID-19 list, so he is out for the Ravens game. Wide receiver A.J. Brown and cornerback Adoreé Jackson are both out with knee injuries and not likely to play this weekend. The Ravens are getting the best bet by oddsmakers, picking up -190 and 3.5 points on an Over/Under of 54.5.
Saints Healthy, But Without Hill
The New Orleans Saints are back in the playoffs again for the fourth year in a row, starting their final run against the Chicago Bears. However, Sean Payton’s “Swiss Army Knife,” Taysom Hill, is out on concussion protocol, which will limit some of the play-calling possibilities. One of the favorite targets Drew Brees is Michael Thomas, who will probably see limited action dealing still with a nagging ankle injury. Chicago is mostly healthy, with only defensive back Jaylon Johnson, who has a shoulder injury, and wide receiver Allen Robinson who is dealing with a hamstring issue. The Saints are heavily favored to win, though, getting -500 for the game and 10 points on an Over/Under of 47.5.
The Cleveland Browns are dealing with more than a few issues, as they look to face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Head coach Kevin Stefanski, along with several players on the team, have tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be there for the big game. Corner back Greedy Williams has been out with a shoulder injury but is expected to return.
The Steelers will be keeping a close eye on star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who did not practice on Thursday. The good news is that tight end Eric Ebron and linebacker Cassius March will be back in action. With all the issues on the Browns bench, and the performance the Steelers gave this season, it’s no surprise that Pittsburgh is at -275 and 6 points on an Over/Under of 47.5.