Key Injuries To Affect Week 2 NFL Picks & Odds

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 7:17 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2015 7:17 PM GMT

Maybe NFL teams need to play their key players more in the preseason? Most don't, with some stars not playing at all. But whatever the reason, there were a slew of major injuries around the league in Week 1. Here are some that could affect the NFL odds.

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
This was the biggest injury of Week 1, and I believe it alters the NFC East race even though Dallas was the only team in the division to win its opening game. Bryant has a Jones fracture in his foot, which is essentially what Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant had this past NBA season, and he needed multiple surgeries on it and barely played. The Dallas Cowboys first put out a rather optimistic timetable of 4-6 weeks for Bryant to return, but that's unlikely. I've read it's more likely at least eight weeks and maybe as many as 12. Other than Tony Romo, Bryant is easily the Cowboys' most important player and they don't have much behind him at receiver. They already are working out some free-agent guys, including Hakeem Nicks. The Cowboys are +5.5 this week at Philadelphia, which will be desperate already after losing in Atlanta on Monday night.

 

Josh McCown, QB, Browns
The pathetic Browns just can't get out of their own way. They were routed by a not very good Jets team in Week 1 and lost McCown in the game to a concussion. So he would have to pass the league's protocols to play this week at home against Tennessee. It likely will be Johnny Manziel in this one in a Heisman Trophy matchup against the Titans' Marcus Mariota, who was fabulous in Week 1. Manziel was 13-for-24 in place of McCown against the Jets for 182 yards, a TD and a pick. He also rushed five times for 35 yards. Not terrible, but Johnny Football certainly missed a few throws he should have made. Cleveland is +1 against a Tennessee team that was 2-14 last year.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Carr is questionable for Week 2 at home against Baltimore with a bruised thumb -- that's actually good news as the Raiders were worrying that X-rays on Monday might show something worse. Carr on Monday also showed coach Jack Del Rio that he was able to squeeze a ball in a positive sign that he should be able to practice this week. Carr, who made all 16 starts as a rookie, struggled before the injury, going 7-for-12 for 61 yards in a blowout loss to Cincinnati. If Carr can't go it's Matt McGloin. Some sportsbooks are holding out posting this line until Carr's status more clear, but I've seen some opening the Ravens at -7.

 

DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
Washington, much like Cleveland, is probably in line for another really long year. The Redskins managed just 10 points in a home loss to Miami in Week 1 and also lost Jackson for 3-4 weeks to a hamstring injury. He's clearly breaking down, also missing the entire preseason with a separated shoulder. With Jackson sidelined, the Redskins lose their best deep-ball target. He led the NFL with 13 catches of 40 or more yards last season. The Skins are +3 at home against St. Louis on Sunday -- could be a trap game for the Rams off their big win over Seattle.

 

Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals
Ellington has a mild PCL strain and is likely to miss a few weeks. Before his injury against the Saints, Ellington ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. The guy just can't stay on the field. So way-past-his prime Chris Johnson will start for the Cardinals this week in Chicago. Arizona opened at -2 NFL odds.

 

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
Hilton, Andrew Luck's top target, is in question for this Monday's game against the Jets. He was hurt in the third quarter of Indy's fairly surprising 27-14 loss in Buffalo on Sunday. T.Y. Hilton finished with seven catches for 88 yards. The good news is that it's just a bruised knee for Hilton and no ligament damage. So with the extra day ahead of the Monday game, he might make it back. The Colts are -7 as they try to avoid an 0-2 start.

 

Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens
This is easily the most crushing defensive injury of Week 1 as Suggs, Baltimore's stellar pass-rusher, will miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles' tendon suffered in Denver. It marks the second time that Suggs has torn an Achilles' in the past 40 months. Suggs' 106.5 career sacks are No. 6 among all active players. He had 12 in 2014.

 

Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers
Kuechly, a tackling machine, is in question this week at home vs. Houston as he's in the league's concussion protocol. He left  in the second quarter in Week 1 against Jacksonville. The Panthers defense forced three turnovers, recorded five sacks and scored a touchdown in that 20-9 victory. They can probably handle the Texans without Kuechly as Houston might already be moving on from starting QB Brian Hoyer to backup Ryan Mallett. The Panthers are -3.5.

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