With the NFL playoffs rapidly approaching, home-field advantage and bye weeks are beginning to crystallize for several teams, while others are hoping for a miracle to play beyond Week 18.
Six teams have punched their ticket to the dance, while 18 more are still in play for a coveted playoff spot. Of the 18 teams, seven of them can clinch with a win this weekend, and in some cases, losses by other teams to secure a playoff bid.
Injuries have continued to decimate would-be playoff teams and have given hope to others once left for dead at midseason. Player availability is never more paramount than during this time of the season.
Having a licensed physical therapist interpret the NFL Week 17 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 17 injuries to consider when placing your Week 17 NFL betting picks.
Please note that all NFL Week 17 odds and lines are current as of 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, December 30.
NFL Week 17 Injuries & Betting Tips
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Left Hand Fracture)
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team
Miles Sanders suffered a left hand fracture in the win over the New York Giants on Sunday, ruling him out for Week 17 against the Washington Football Team. He likely suffered a metacarpal fracture which is the long bone in the hand connecting the wrist to the fingers.
Surgery is typically a reliable option for these types of fractures, requiring a plate and screws to stabilize the area. A return to play is rather quick with players missing anywhere from 1-to-3 games depending on the position. As of publication, there have not been any reports of surgery.
The Eagles will rely on a timeshare of Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, and possibly Jordan Howard in the interim.
- Read our full Week 17 Eagles vs Washington betting picks & tips
With the Eagles fighting to maintain the seventh and final playoff spot while Washington plays spoiler, this could be much closer than their matchup in Week 15.
This game could be mercurial between these two familiar foes, which means betting the spread could be risky. This makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Under 45 (-110) at Caesars.
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Shaquil Barrett, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Right MCL/ACL Sprain)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Jets
Shaquil Barrett is set to miss the remainder of the regular season due to a right knee MCL sprain along with a rare ACL sprain following a win over the Panthers. Barrett dodged a bullet by only suffering sprains to both ligaments and will miss at least the next two games.
Once Barrett does return, I do not expect him to have the same lateral mobility he did prior to the injury and will have trouble cutting to the left due to the inability to push effectively off the right.
- Read our full Week 17 Buccaneers vs Jets betting picks & tips
The Buccaneers are already without LB Lavonte David with a foot sprain and with multiple offensive losses, Tampa Bay is struggling healthwise as they enter the playoffs.
Fortunately, they have already locked up the division with at least one home playoff game, allowing them to potentially rest key players. Their opponent, the New York Jets, is still fighting for pride and respectability. This makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Jets to cover the spread +13 (-110) at Caesars.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Left Bruised Shoulder)
Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals
Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a left bruised shoulder in the dominating win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team initially feared that he suffered a collarbone fracture, but x-rays were negative, leading to the bruised shoulder and week-to-week designation.
If he attempts to play, he may have trouble with ball security on the affected side and struggle hitting the holes with confidence. Pass catching may also be jeopardized at times. Injections and bracing can help manage the injury, but it won’t make him invincible.
- Read our full Week 17 Chiefs vs Bengals betting picks & tips
Considering that the Chiefs have already secured the AFC West and are in play for the No. 1 seed, I do not expect that CEH plays Sunday. They better hope for a more effective Tyreek Hill and the return for Travis Kelce to offset his absence.
The Bengals are as hot as anyone this season and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. This makes my NFL bet of the day 1 unit on the Bengals to cover the spread +5 (-110) at Caesars.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (MCL Sprain)
Los Angeles Rams @ Baltimore Ravens
Darrell Henderson suffered a right MCL sprain that will reportedly sideline him for 3-to-5 weeks. He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, forcing him out of the last two regular-season games and the first playoff game.
The MCL provides medial stability within the knee, allowing cutting motions without the knee buckling inward.
- Read our full Week 17 Rams vs Ravens betting pick & tips
While Henderson is out, RB Cam Akers is expected to see his first playing time of the season after tearing his Achilles back in July. As a physical therapist, this is a remarkable recovery and was not expected until 2022 as most return within the better part of a year. However, I do not expect Akers to look like his 2020 self yet.
With the potential return of Lamar Jackson or Tyler Huntley and the Rams playoff spot secured, this game could be much closer than the line shows. With the Ravens looking outside as the eighth seed, they need to win plus get help to make the playoffs.
Watch the NFL gameday odds based on who the Ravens QB is, but my betting pick is 1 unit on the Ravens (+160) at Caesars.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers (Right Thumb UCL Tear, Fracture)
San Francisco 49ers vs Houston Texans
Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a right UCL tear and fracture in his right thumb on his throwing hand in the win over the Falcons. This was the result of a sack from DT Denico Autry late in the second quarter.
The UCL provides support on the inner portion of the thumb and allows for effective gripping and pinching, vital for grasping and throwing a football. Along with the tear, Garoppolo also has a small fracture in the area that is likely an avulsion which is where a piece of the bone is chipped off when the ligament or tendon pulls away from the bone.
- Read our full Week 17 49ers vs Texans betting picks & tips
Backup QB Trey Lance is likely to start in place of Garoppolo, which could be an opportunity to supplant him as the starter heading into 2022.
With the uncertainty of Lance’s play and the Texans’ upset win over the Chargers last week, this makes my betting pick 1 unit on the Texans to cover the spread +12.5 (-110) at Caesars.
Other Week 17 Notable Injuries
- Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen aggravated his left high-ankle sprain in the loss to the Rams. This ultimately required surgery, ending his season.
- Indianapolis Colts OT Eric Fisher suffered a knee injury with his status in doubt for Sunday against the Raiders. In addition to the knee, he is also dealing with shoulder and toe injuries, significantly limiting his mobility.
- Buffalo Bills G Ike Boettger suffered a left Achilles tear, sending him to injured reserve. This comes after suffering a right Achilles tear during his senior year at Iowa in 2017.
- Carolina Panthers CB Stephon Gilmore is working through a groin injury that may place him on injured reserve in a lost season that saw him traded midway through the year from New England.
- Jacksonville Jaguars RB James Robinson suffered a left Achilles tear Sunday, ending his season and putting a Week 1 return in serious peril.
Kyle’s Injury Report Betting Record: 51-35, +5.81 Units