It was probably the worst week of the season for quarterbacks in the NFL in Week 15 and it now looks like there will be at least four new starters under center in Week 16. Here are the key injuries that could affect NFL odds at sportsbooks this week.
Jake Locker, QB, Titans
Locker's season and Titans career is surely over. The former first-round pick from Washington never could stay healthy in Tennessee, and he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. He will have surgery on his left shoulder after dislocating it a third time. The team decided not to pick up the option on his rookie contract in March so he's not going to be back. Someone will take a shot on him. The Titans will turn to Charlie Whitehurst on Thursday night in Jacksonville in a dreadful matchup. The Jaguars are 3-point favorites at sportsbooks.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars
As of this writing, the 2014 No. 3 overall pick Bortles is questionable for Thursday with a sprained foot. He has started every game since relieving Chad Henne at halftime of Game 3. If Bortles can't go, and there's obviously no reason for the 2-12 Jaguars to push it, then Chad Henne will start in the final Thursday game of the 2014 season. At least Henne has had some success in this league, which you can't really say for the Titans' Whitehurst. The total on Thursday is a scant 40.5 at sportsbooks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick & Tom Savage, QBs, Texans
Of course the Texans lost starter Ryan Mallett for the season a few weeks ago, and now their No. 2 and No. 3 QBs also are out. Fitzpatrick broke his leg in Sunday's loss in Indianapolis so he's obviously done for the year. Savage, a fourth-round rookie, played pretty solidly in Fitzpatrick's place against the Colts but suffered a knee injury and won't play in Week 16. The Texans now are down to Thad Lewis or Case Keenum, whom they signed this week. He started eight games for Houston last year and the Texans lost them all. The Texans are 4.5-point home dogs against Baltimore on Sunday.
Drew Stanton, QB, Cardinals
The Cardinals just can't catch a break at quarterback yet still hold down the top overall seed in the NFC -- for one more week anyway. Stanton suffered a partial tear of his ACL, in addition to a sprained MCL in the same right knee, and he's out around a month at least. That means the Cardinals will ride Ryan Lindley into the playoffs. His first start will be a doozy: Sunday against red-hot Seattle. Arizona is a 7.5-point home underdog on NFL odds. A Seahawks win would likely relegate the Cardinals to a wild-card spot.
Colt McCoy, QB, Redskins
McCoy aggravated a nerve injury in his neck early in the Week 15 loss to the New York Giants, and that means Coach Jay Gruden will turn back to Robert Griffin III probably for the final two games of the season. Griffin completed 18 of 27 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Washington hosts Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon and is a 9-point underdog on NFL odds.
Nick Foles, QB, Eagles
Foles hasn't been cleared yet from his broken collarbone, so Mark Sanchez will again get the call Saturday at the Redskins. Sanchez has completed 138 of 223 passes for 1,752 yards along with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In the six games Sanchez has started, the Eagles are 3-3. The real interesting thing would be if Chip Kelly goes back to Foles in Week 17 or possibly in the first round of the playoffs if Foles is cleared.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
Murray's chances of getting a 2,000-yard season depend on his pain tolerance. Murray had surgery Monday to repair a broken bone in his left hand yet hasn't been ruled out for this week against Indianapolis. He's obviously the most important Cowboy this season and leads the NFL with 1,687 yards. Dallas currently holds the NFC East tiebreaker over Philadelphia thanks to Sunday night's win but could give that right back with a loss to the Colts. In fact, should Dallas lose its final two games it might miss the playoffs entirely. The Cowboys opened as 3-point favorites on NFL odds.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
The Falcons' star missed Week 15 against Pittsburgh and it was a big loss for Atlanta. However, the Falcons have what could turn out to be a winner-take-all game for the NFC South this Sunday in New Orleans. Jones is expected to return from his hip injury. Jones had seven catches for 116 yards in a Week 1 37-34 overtime win over the Saints.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
When making your NFL picks this week consider that the Colts got good news on Monday when an MRI on Hilton's injured hamstring came back negative. The team believes he will play in Dallas. Hilton is having a big season with 82 catches for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. Indy opened at +3 for this week on NFL odds.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
No one wants to play Buffalo right now with how the Bills' defense has been going, and the Buffalo offense looks like it might get back No. 1 tailback Spiller on Sunday in Oakland. Spiller returned to practice on Dec. 3 after missing six weeks with a broken collarbone. He has been cleared and will be added to the active roster this week. The Bills (8-6) are still alive to end the NFL's longest playoff drought and are -6 at the Raiders.