Key Injuries to Affect Week 4 NFL Picks & Odds

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 4:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014 4:06 PM UTC

Potentially three more quarterbacks went down with injuries in  Week 3, meaning there are likely to be three new starters at the NFL's most important position this week. That obviously will hugely affect those NFL game odds. Here's your M*A*S*H report.

Matt Cassel, QB, and Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Cassel was just holding down the quarterback spot for first-round rookie Teddy Bridgewater and his time is now as Cassel suffered several broken bones in his foot in Sunday's loss to the Saints. Bridgewater replaced him and played decently in New Orleans, completing 12 of 20 passes for 150 yards with no turnovers. The former Louisville star will start this week at home against Atlanta and no doubt going forward barring his own injury. However, Bridgewater won't have Rudolph for perhaps six weeks. He's expected out that long after sports hernia surgery. He has 19 catches for 96 yards and a TD. Of course Minnesota also will be without star running back Adrian Peterson, likely for the rest of the season. The Vikings are 2.5-point home dogs vs. the Falcons at Dimes

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Jake Locker, QB, Titans
Locker suffered a hand injury in Sunday's loss in Cincinnati and his status for this week is questionable. This was essentially a make-or-break season for Locker and it looks like break. Locker can't stay healthy and isn't all that good when he is. Locker looked good in the Week 1 win over Kansas City but has put up a passer rating of 60.2 and 41.9 in the next two games. Those are his two worst ratings in back-to-back games that he has started and finished. Charlie Whitehurst is the No. 2, with rookie Zach Mettenberger the No. 3. The Titans will be taking a QB early in the 2015 draft. Tennessee is +7.5 this week at Indianapolis.

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Josh McCown, QB, Buccaneers
McCown has been a disaster thus far for Tampa Bay and he hurt his right thumb in Thursday's embarrassment against Atlanta. He may need surgery, which will obviously knock him out a while. Frankly, McCown was probably going to lose his job anyway, but Mike Glennon will start this week at Pittsburgh. The Bucs also are expecting back running back Doug Martin after he missed the past two games. Tampa Bay is +7 in the Steel City.

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Jason Kelce, C, Eagles
Philadelphia was incredibly fortunate last season when all five starting offensive linemen were able to start every game. Needless to say, that's pretty rare. Philly will be down three starters up front this Sunday at San Francisco after center Jason Kelce suffered a sports hernia in Sunday's win over the Redskins. He will undergo surgery and be out several weeks if not the season. Also out Sunday will be Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis, who suffered a sprained MCL in Week 1, and right tackle Lane Johnson. He is serving the final game of his suspension. The Eagles are +5 on NFL odds at a desperate 49ers team that probably can't afford to drop to 1-3.

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Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens
Pitta is a very good receiving tight end when healthy. That's just been a problem the past two years. He suffered a dislocated right hip for the second straight season Sunday and not only is his season over but his career might be as well. He wasn't even touched on the play. Pitta got a $32.5 million extension back in the winter, which included $16 million guaranteed. So don't feel too sorry for him. He finishes the season with 16 catches for 125 yards.

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Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers
Woodhead suffered both a severe high ankle sprain and a fractured fibula in Sunday's win over Buffalo, and he's done for the season. Woodhead doesn't do a ton on the ground but is a good receiver out of the backfield. He had 76 catches last year, for example. This year he had 15 carries for 38 yards and five catches for 34 yards. The Bolts remain without No. 1 back Ryan Mathews for at least the next few games so that means Donald Brown's workload will be huge for a while. The Chargers are -13 this week at home against Jacksonville, which will give rookie QB Blake Bortles his first start.

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Ike Taylor, DB, Ryan Shazier, LB, and Jarvis Jones, LB, Steelers
Certainly no unit was hit harder this weekend by injuries than the Pittsburgh defense in a win over Carolina. Taylor broke his forearm and could be done for the year. Jones, a first-round pick last year, was put on injured reserve-designated for return, meaning he can't return before Week 12. Shazier, this year's first-round pick, probably will miss a few games with a sprained MCL. He was one of the favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year back in the preseason. Pittsburgh is -7 this week against the visiting Bucs.

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