Key Injuries to Affect Week 14 NFL Picks & Odds

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 8:03 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 8:03 PM UTC

Week 13 of the NFL's regular season didn't see any catastrophic injuries that will affect a team's NFL futures, but certainly there are some key players worth monitoring whose status could alter NFL betting lines this week. Odds from BetOnline.

Zach Mettenberger, QB, and Justin Hunter, WR, Titans
Mettenberger appears to be the only major quarterback casualty of Week 13. The destruction being caused by incredible Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continued on Sunday when he drove Mettenberger into the turf in the third quarter of Tennessee's 45-21 loss. Former starter and first-round pick Jake Locker replaced Mettenberger, who was diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, and promptly threw an interception on his first pass in weeks. The Titans think Mettenberger, a sixth-round rookie out of LSU, will play this week against the visiting Giants. That game opened as a pick'em on NFL betting odds as the Titans have lost six straight and New York seven in a row. Hunter has a lacerated spleen and obviously won't play. He has 28 catches for 498 yards and three scores.


Rashad Jennings, RB, Robert Ayers, DE, Giants
Speaking of the Giants, they hope to have Jennings against Tennessee. He played well in a loss to Jacksonville in Week 13 with 26 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns before an ankle injury forced him from the game late. The team doesn't think it's serious. Ayers, meanwhile, tore a pectoral muscle in the loss and is done for the season. Ayers had five sacks this year in limited playing time, tying him with Jason Pierre-Paul for the team lead in that category.


Andre Ellington, RB, and Tyrann Mathieu, S, Cardinals
Arizona was atop the NFC and had a two-game lead in the West Division two weeks ago but now that's down to one over Seattle heading into Week 14. Thus the Cards can ill afford injuries to two of their best players, but that's the case. For sure Mathieu will miss this week and a couple more as he will undergo thumb surgery. The three-week time frame would have him back for the team's final regular-season game Dec. 28 at San Francisco. He is a big part of that excellent secondary. Ellington might be able to play in Week 14 after suffering a hip pointer in the loss to Atlanta. If he can't then Marion Grice, cut by San Diego back in the preseason, would get the call.  Grice had five carries for 16 yards and three catches for 25 yards while subbing for Ellington vs. the Falcons. Arizona is -1.5 at sportsbooks this week against visiting Kansas City, which is on a two-game skid of its own.


Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
Chicago is just playing out the string at 5-7 entering Thursday's home game against Dallas and the team does think Jeffery will play even though he hadn't practiced this week through Tuesday. He's officially listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Jeffery was a breakout star in 2013 but has been hampered by injuries all season. He has 67 catches for 857 yards and seven scores. Chicago is +3.5 vs. the Cowboys at sportsbooks as Dallas is unbeaten on the road.


Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens
Baltimore blew what looked like a sure home win vs. San Diego in Week 13 so the Ravens can hardly afford to fall this week in Miami in a game with huge wild-card implications. Smith missed the final two series vs. San Diego and could be seen limping after the loss, but the Ravens are calling him day-to-day. It's a must he plays as over the past four games, Smith leads the team in receptions with 20 (seven more than any other Raven) and receiving yards with 301 (double more than any other Raven). He has accounted for seven of the Ravens' past 13 TD catches. The Ravens and Dolphins are two of six AFC teams at 7-5. Miami is a 2.5-point favorite on NFL odds.


DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
Washington is also playing out the string so it could rest Jackson if it so desired. Jackson suffered a bruised fibula in Week 13's blowout loss to Indianapolis and is questionable for Sunday's home game against the surging Rams. Jackson is having a nice season with 47 catches for 942 yards and five touchdowns. Washington is +2.5 on NFL odds.


Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos
Thomas was on pace there for a while to set the NFL record for TD catches for a tight end, but he has missed the past two games with an ankle injury. The chances are good Thomas plays this Sunday at home against Buffalo, with Denver at 10-point favorite. Thomas has 40 catches this year, 12 of which are for scores. The Broncos could clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a win and some help.


Roddy White, WR Falcons
Atlanta is the biggest underdog of Week 14 at +12 for Monday night's game at Green Bay, but the Falcons at least think that White will return. He missed Sunday's win over Arizona with a sprained left ankle. White has 56 catches for 662 yards and five scores. Atlanta will need all the offensive firepower it can get to pull an upset at Lambeau Field, where the Packers have been dominant this season.

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