As the weather gets cooler and the holidays near, the stakes get higher each week in the NFL. What could be a simple knee sprain or hamstring tweak could mean the difference between preparing for deep playoff runs or draft boards.
What seemed like certain wins for a team one month ago is suddenly up in the air due to positive COVID tests and injuries, leaving the league with parity not seen in years.
Having a licensed physical therapist interpret the NFL Week 16 injury reports provides you with the information you won’t find anywhere else. It also helps you make clear-cut decisions on tight lines and take advantage of injury mismatches before the odds change.
Below are the top NFL Week 16 injuries to consider when placing your Week 16 NFL betting picks.
Please note that all NFL Week 16 odds and lines are current as of 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, December 23.
NFL Week 16 Injuries & Betting Tips
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Torn Right ACL, MCL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers
Chris Godwin’s season and chance to play in a second Super Bowl ended Sunday night with a questionable hit to his right knee from Saints CB P.J. Williams. The hit came from low and outside, forcing the knee into a valgus and hyperextension position, causing the multi-ligament injury.
For now, the Buccaneers losing Godwin hurts them long-term, but they’re also currently dealing with hamstring injuries to Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans.
The team signed veteran RB Le’Veon Bell to fill in for Fournette, and Evans will try to play despite being week-to-week. In addition, Levonte David is out with a foot sprain for the next several weeks.
- Read our full Week 16 Buccaneers vs Panthers betting picks & tips
Without most of his offensive weapons available, Tom Brady will have trouble moving the ball, similar to how he did against the New Orleans Saints.
The Buccaneers head to Carolina with both sides expected to have trouble producing points. My betting pick is 1 unit on the Under 44 (-110) at Caesars.
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Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos (Concussion)
Denver Broncos @ Las Vegas Raiders
Teddy Bridgewater suffered a scary-looking concussion Sunday as he attempted to take off for a first down midway through the third quarter. He was tripped up by one Bengals defender before getting tackled by another, with their weight driving Bridgewater’s shoulder and head into the turf.
- Read our full Week 16 Broncos vs Raiders betting picks & tips
Bridgewater required a spine board to get off the field, which is standard protocol when there is a suspected neck injury. He was brought to the hospital for further evaluation before being released and entering the NFL concussion protocol.
This is Bridgewater’s second concussion this season, which makes a quick return very unlikely.
The Broncos are fighting for their playoff lives, but with Drew Lock under center, I don’t like their chances — especially with three consecutive division games to close out the season.
The line is incredibly close on this one per our NFL gameday odds, but Las Vegas appears to be the healthier team which makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Raiders to defeat the Broncos (-110) at Caesars.
Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans (Hamstring Strain)
Tennessee Titans vs San Francisco 49ers
Julio Jones and hamstring injuries have been synonymous with each other over the last two seasons. This has robbed the elite wideout of meaningful production for the Titans this season, and Jones is another example of the injuries that have ravaged Tennessee.
Jones has already been on injured reserve this season with a hamstring injury, which means that if he was placed on injured reserve again, his season would end. If he does attempt to play, he will have difficulty running crisp routes and creating separation. He had a full practice Wednesday, but I strongly question his effectiveness.
- Read our full Week 16 Titans vs 49ers betting picks & tips
Fortunately, AJ Brown has been designated to return from injured reserve following his chest injury, but he still may not be 100 percent.
The Titans are limping to the finish line and coming into a physical game against the 49ers, who are also clawing to stay relevant for the playoffs. This makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Over 44.5 (-110) at Caesars.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots (Hamstring Strain)
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Damien Harris suffered a hamstring strain in the narrow win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 13 that forced him out of the Week 15 loss against the Colts. With a hamstring strain, Harris would demonstrate a loss of explosive power hitting the hole and be a step slower cutting and juking at the second level.
- Read our full Week 16 Patriots vs Bills betting pick & tips
Harris could still suit up, but would not be as effective in the cold weather in Foxborough. In addition, Rhamondre Stevenson was not at practice Wednesday due to illness and Brandon Bolden is still working through a knee injury, leaving the running game a potential timeshare.
The Buffalo Bills were embarrassed on national television in the last matchup by a team that passed only three times. I expect the Bills to come out with a more aggressive game plan and leave nothing to chance.
The AFC East title is on the line in this one, and that makes my NFL bet of the day 2 units for the Bills to cover the spread +2.5 (-110) at Caesars.
Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (Left Ankle Sprain)
Cincinnati Bengals vs Baltimore Ravens
Joe Mixon suffered a left ankle sprain in the 15-10 win over the Denver Broncos Sunday that elicits worry for his availability. The mechanism isn’t clear by video, but this is certainly an injury that must be monitored as game time nears.
Mixon suffered a left ankle injury in Week 4 which led to decreased production in the Week 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and this injury could have a similar result in Week 16. Therefore, Samaje Perine could see more snaps with Mixon getting worked in here and there.
- Read our full Week 16 Bengals vs Ravens betting picks & tips
With Lamar Jackson’s ankle injury worse than initially thought as he works through a bone bruise, this potentially elevates Tyler Huntley to the starting role once again.
With both teams missing offensive weapons, this could be a defensive battle, which makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Under 45 (-110) at Caesars.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team (Toe Injury)
Washington Football Team @ Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Gibson briefly left the game with a toe injury on Tuesday night against the Eagles but returned to finish the game. Head coach Ron Rivera noted that Gibson’s toe injury was very similar to the turf toe injury suffered last year.
I detailed Gibson’s turf toe injury heading into the season and did not believe it would be an issue. Even if it is the same toe injured, this was unlucky, and I do not believe his past injury contributed to this latest one.
- Read our full Week 16 Washington vs Cowboys betting picks & tips
Gibson may have trouble pushing off the affected foot and cutting coming out of the backfield. He does have the benefit of knowing how to manage the injury, but his workload may be reduced, giving snaps to dynamic rookie Jarrett Patterson.
I believe Gibson will attempt to play with the team still in playoff contention, but it may not make a difference. This makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Cowboys to cover the spread -10.5 (-110) at Caesars.
Other Week 16 Notable Injuries
- The New York Giants announced WR Sterling Shepard tore his Achilles and QB Daniel Jones was shut down due to his lingering neck injury, sending both to injured reserve, ending their seasons.
- Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins required surgery to repair his torn right MCL and is not expected to return to play until the NFC Championship game or the Super Bowl if they make it that far.
- Las Vegas Raiders S Johnathan Abram suffered a dislocation of his left shoulder in Monday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. This is yet another recurrence of the injury that has plagued him for several seasons and will require season-ending surgery.
- Browns DE Takkarist McKinley suffered a torn Achilles on Monday night, ending his season and making a return in Week 1 of 2022 questionable.
- Pittsburgh Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth suffered his second concussion of the season and is not expected to be available for the Week 16 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kyle’s Injury Report Betting Record: 48-33, +4.19 Units