As the NFL gears up for Week 4, it’s impossible to ignore the mounting impact of injuries around the league.
In Week 3 alone, we saw Mac Jones suffer a reported high ankle sprain that could keep him out for at least a few weeks. Dalvin Cook in Minnesota, meanwhile, is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury ahead of the Vikings’ London trip. On the other side of that matchup, a pair of New Orleans wideouts — Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry — have their own injury problems. D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown are dinged up in Detroit. Bears running back David Montgomery has some sort of lower body injury.
And then you’ve got teams like the Chargers and Ravens who suffer new major injuries seemingly every week.
It sure makes handicapping the NFL even more difficult, and it makes you think twice about the teams with which you want to lay points. As such, here’s our weekly selection of three betting favorites we’d think twice about before betting or picking in Week 4.
(-10.5) Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots
Look, Brian Hoyer is what he is: a journeyman quarterback who has never been really that good at any point in his career. This is not a good offense he’s about to take over, either. But the New England defense has proved capable — at times — this season. Lamar Jackson tore them up last week, but there are questions as to whether Aaron Rodgers and the Packers can do the same. Green Bay’s thin receiver group is even thinner after injuries to Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson. The offensive line has dealt with injuries, and the returning David Bakhtiari isn’t back to full strength or capability. The Packers have actually scored fewer points than the Patriots this season. Green Bay should win, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see this end up as something, like, a 21-13 final. To put it another way: Laying 10.5 points with a questionable offense is just tough to do.
(-2.5) Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How can anyone feel good about either side in this one? The Chiefs have looked rather mortal in Weeks 2 and 3 after beating the tar out of a bad Cardinals team in Week 1. They’re playing their second straight road game and third in four weeks already, and there’s uncertainty about where this game will even be played due to Hurricane Ian. The Bucs, at least offensively, have all kinds of question marks, but they should look better than they did last week just by getting Mike Evans back. Just as important is that Tampa Bay defense; Todd Bowles has the unit firing with just two teams allowing fewer yards per play through three weeks.
(-5) Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans
So, the Chargers might be in big trouble. Last week was as unimpressive as it gets, with Justin Herbert rushing back to just have LA throttled by Jacksonville. As is seemingly always the case with the Chargers, injuries are a massive issue. Jones has dominated the headlines, but the biggest injury of the weekend might have been Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater having his season ended with a torn biceps. LA also lost wideout Jaley Guyton for the season, and elite pass-rusher Joey Bosa will miss time with a groin injury. And that’s on top of problems for J.C. Jackson, Keenan Allen and Corey Linsley. The Texans have been competitive, too, but the Chargers might be a stay-away until further notice.