As bettors who have placed NFL picks on the Buffalo Bills know, they have the longest playoff drought in the NFL. That seems more likely to continue in the way of injuries afflicted during Week 7.
C.J. Spiller & Fred Jackson, RBs, Buffalo
It was a devastating Sunday indeed for the Bills vs. the Vikings. Spiller broke his collarbone in the game and had surgery Monday. He won't be back this season. Spiller led the team in rushing yards. It's a shame because Spiller is a monster talent but just can't stay on the field. Jackson is going to miss about a month with a groin injury. So that means Buffalo's primary back likely will be Anthony Dixon, a 2010 sixth-round pick by the 49ers out of Mississippi State. Dixon carried 13 times for 51 yards against the Vikings. Buffalo also acquired Bryce Brown this offseason from Philadelphia, but he hasn't seen the field yet. The good news this week at least is the Bills visit the can't-get-out-of-their-own-way Jets. However, Buffalo opened as a 3-point underdog at sportsbooks. Asking QB Kyle Orton to win a game hasn't proven very wise in Orton's career.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati
The Bengals have fallen apart over the past three weeks and hit rock bottom on Sunday with a 27-0 loss at Indianapolis. Cincinnati had just 135 total yards and ran all of eight plays in Colts territory. Green hasn't played the past two weeks with a toe injury but is progressing, and I think the Bengals have to rush him back even if Green isn't ready before this season gets away. The Bengals host Baltimore on Sunday and opened as 1-point favorites on NFL odds. This is a huge game in the AFC North because Cincinnati won in Baltimore in Week 1 behind Green's game-winning 77-yard touchdown reception. Obviously another win assures the head-to-head tiebreaker for the Bengals.
Kirk Cousins, QB, and Brian Orakpo, LB, Redskins
Cousins isn't physically hurt but his confidence appears shot. He had two more turnovers Sunday against the lousy Titans so Coach Jay Gruden yanked him for Colt McCoy. Yes, Colt McCoy! And McCoy played so well in the come-from-behind win that McCoy is set to start Monday night at Dallas. Colt McCoy! It now seems laughable that some Skins fans wanted to keep Cousins over Robert Griffin III. Gruden hasn't totally ruled out RGIII yet vs. the Cowboys but it's highly unlikely that he's ready. Orakpo, the Redskins' best pass rusher, suffered a torn pectoral muscle and his done for the season. Orakpo was franchised this offseason but had managed just a half sack thus far. So maybe he won't be that missed. Washington opened at +9.5 at Dallas, the biggest underdog at sportsbooks for Week 8. That line jumped up a bit following the Cousins/McCoy news.
Josh McCown, QB, Buccaneers
McCown practiced Monday for the first time since suffering a sprained thumb in Tampa's Week 3 blowout loss in Atlanta. However, it seems that Coach Lovie Smith will start second-year Mike Glennon again this week at home against Minnesota. McCown went 0-3 as a starter with two touchdowns and four interceptions. The Bucs' passing game has been much better under Glennon even though Tampa has just one victory with him as a starter. The Bucs are 1-2 under Glennon and he has passed for 986 yards with seven touchdowns and three INTs. The heat is really going to be on Smith if the Bucs lose this week off a bye to a below-average Vikings team that starts a rookie QB. Tampa is -2.5 on NFL odds at 5Dimes currently.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
Megatron did travel with the Lions to London for Sunday's game with the Falcons. It's still no sure thing that the Lions play him as they may prefer to sit him one more week because then Detroit is on the bye. By that point, Johnson should be fully healthy from his ankle injury. He sat out the past two games and the Lions won both. Detroit is a 3.5-point favorite at sportsbooks.
Paul Posluszny, LB, and Andre Branch, DE, Jaguars
Jacksonville has one of the NFL's worst defenses and now it will be without two starters for a while. Posluszny is done for the season after tearing his pectoral muscle in Sunday's upset of Cleveland when that Jags defense actually played extremely well. Posluszny led the team with 69 tackles. Branch is expected to miss six weeks with a groin injury. He has 13 tackles and three sacks. The Jaguars are 5-point home dogs on NFL odds against Miami this week.