In the NFL, heading into the month of December becomes a war of attrition. Those who come through with the least amount of injuries and losses earn the right to play for Super Bowls.
Several teams have managed to defy the odds despite mounting injuries, while others have suffered what amount to death blows with the loss of key contributors.
In both conferences, the level of parity as teams jockey for playoff seeding is something only network executives can dream up for record-breaking TV ratings. But this is the reality of the 2021 NFL season.
Having a licensed physical therapist interpret the NFL Week 13 injury reports will provide you with the information you won’t find anywhere else. It will also help you make clear-cut decisions on tight lines and take advantage of injury mismatches before the odds change.
Below are the top NFL Week 13 injuries to consider when placing your Week 13 NFL betting picks.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds and lines are current as of 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 1.
NFL Week 13 Injuries & Betting Tips
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings (Left Shoulder Labrum Tear)
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
Dalvin Cook left Sunday’s game against the 49ers due to a left shoulder injury after being tackled by Niners DT Kevin Givens. He stayed on the ground while trainers tended to him, keeping the left arm close to the body due to the instability and pain.
According to head coach Mike Zimmer, he indicated that Cook is day-to-day and that he did not tear his labrum. However, conflicting reports indicate that he did dislocate the shoulder and tore his labrum. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and I’m leaning toward that he tore the labrum.
- Read our full Week 13 Vikings vs Lions betting picks & tips.
While Cook is no stranger to labrum tears, this is now his fourth instance dating back to high school. I don’t anticipate that he plays Sunday.
Expect the Lions to get a heavy dose of backup Alexander Mattison as the Vikings look to get back to .500 on the season. My betting pick is 1 unit on the Vikings Moneyline (-320) at Caesars.
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Tre’Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills (Left ACL, Meniscus Tear)
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots
Tre’Davious White suffered a left ACL and meniscus tear on Thanksgiving, confirming Bills Mafia’s worst fears.
The injury occurred while White was covering New Orleans Saints WR Marquez Callaway. White attempted to change directions suddenly, planting his left foot in the turn to pivot towards his right. Regrettably, the knee buckled into the valgus angle commonly seen with non-contact injuries.
- Read our full Week 13 Bills vs Patriots betting picks & tips.
With White on injured reserve, this elevates CB Levi Wallace to CB1 and gives the Bills several options for CB2 including Cam Lewis or rookie Dane Jackson. With Buffalo hosting New England — tormentors of the Bills for the last two decades — and the AFC East title on the line, this game has massive implications.
This game has the potential to be an all-out dogfight on primetime. I believe the Bills can overcome the loss of White, which makes my NFL bet of the day 1 unit on the Bills Moneyline (-150) at Caesars.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (Groin Strain)
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks
Deebo Samuel suffered a groin strain during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings and did not return. The groin musculature is vital to a wide receiver’s skill set, as this allows them to sprint, cut, and jump as they dodge and weave through defenders.
Both Samuel and head coach Kyle Shanahan downplayed the injury following the game, but reports indicate that he would miss at least a couple of games. This appears to be the right choice — soft-tissue injuries such as groin strains can linger or worsen when attempting to play through them.
- Read our full Week 13 49ers vs Seahawks betting picks & tips.
Despite the loss of Samuel, the 49ers are still favored in this game against the surprisingly subpar Seattle Seahawks. However, Seattle won the first contest, and with a healthy Russell Wilson, my betting pick is 1 unit on the Seahawks to cover the +3.5 spread (-120) at Caesars.
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders (Left IT Band Strain)
Las Vegas Raiders vs Washington Football Team
Darren Waller exited Thursday’s game against the Cowboys with a left leg injury that did not look promising upon replay. Fortunately, news came out that Waller had suffered a strained IT band, which is an unusual injury in itself.
The IT band is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs on the outside portion of the leg, connecting near the top of the hip near the tensor fascia lata muscle. The IT band assists with several hip movements along with stabilizing the knee when advancing the opposite leg.
- Read our full Week 13 Raiders vs Washington betting picks & tips.
While this is an injury that could become nagging with overuse, playing through the injury will not necessarily make it worse. Considering the dogfight that is the AFC playoff race and the extra time off, I expect Waller to at least be a game-time decision and attempt to play.
The odds may shift with this one as practice reports are updated. However, my betting pick is 1 unit on the Raiders to cover the -2.5 spread (-110) at Caesars.
Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears (Hamstring Strain)
Chicago Bears vs Arizona Cardinals
Roquan Smith suffered a hamstring strain in the nail-biting win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving with a timetable yet to be determined. Considering Smith is a top playmaker in Chicago’s defense, having a balky hamstring could really limit his ability to get sideline to sideline.
Hamstrings are notoriously tricky to identify the severity of on film and can be finicky in avoiding recurrence upon returning.
- Read our full Week 13 Cardinals vs Bears betting picks & tips.
Considering how dynamic the Cardinals offense is with Kyler Murray returning under center, this could further test Smith’s ability to not only stay with his assignment, but deliver enough force to tackle the ball carrier.
The Bears are out of playoff contention and they have a tough opponent in Arizona for Week 13. Since Smith is a building block for the future, he would be best served to sit this game out and get healthy. My betting pick is 1 unit on the Over 45.5 (-110) at Caesars.
Other Week 13 Notable Injuries
- Washington Football Team RB Antonio Gibson appeared to suffer a right MCL sprain against the Seahawks and this may limit his effectiveness against the Raiders Sunday.
- Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey ended his season on injured reserve due to yet another left ankle injury, capping back-to-back injury-riddled seasons for the premier dual-threat back.
- Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders re-injured his right ankle that forced him to IR earlier this season and limited his snaps Sunday. However, he is not expected to miss time due to the aggravation.
- New York Giants QB Daniel Jones is week-to-week with a neck injury that he suffered on the second play of the game. He managed to gut it out to secure the win for the Giants.
- Cleveland Browns OT Jack Conklin is out for the season due to a right patellar tendon tear suffered in Monday’s loss.
- Detroit Lions RB D’Andre Swift re-injured his right shoulder during a hard tackle going out of bounds on Thursday. Currently, he is in danger of missing the Week 13 contest against the Vikings.