Key Injuries to Consider Before Placing Your Week 3 NFL Picks

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:55 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2015 5:55 PM UTC

I'm sure everyone had Super Bowl contenders the Seahawks, Ravens and Colts with 0-2 starts this season, right? Yeah, didn't think so. A ton of big-time injuries in Week 2. Here are some that could affect the NFL odds for Week 3 around the league.

Tony Romo, QB, & Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
I'm not sure I've ever seen a good team hit harder with major injuries to their best players so early in the season than what has happened to Dallas. Receiver Dez Bryant, maybe the best in the NFL, was lost to  a broken foot in Week 1 and will miss at least two months. Then in Sunday's win in Philadelphia, Romo broke his left collarbone. He won't need surgery, which is a plus, but he has been placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list and thus can't play again until Nov. 22 against the Dolphins. So he will miss seven games at a minimum (one bye week in there). The Cowboys benefited in not placing Bryant on the IR/designated to return list because they can use the tag on only one player. Now your starting QB in Big D is former Browns first-round bust Brandon Weeden. And he might not have Witten for Sunday's home game vs. Atlanta. Witten has two sprained ankles and a sprained knee yet did practice Wednesday. Witten has played through some major injuries before, missing only one game in his career. The early line on the Falcons-Cowboys game before Week 2 was Dallas at -4.5. Now Atlanta is -2 on BetOnline's NFL odds.


Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Chicago won't have Cutler for at least the next two games after he injured his hamstring in the Week 2 home loss to Arizona. No shock that Cutler will miss a game or two as he hasn't played all 16 since 2009, his first year in Chicago after being traded from Denver. You thought the Cowboys were in trouble going forward with Weeden? The Bears look like potentially the NFL's worst team and now turn to journeyman Jimmy Clausen. Chicago might also be without No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery for another week. Oh, and Chicago is visiting a very ornery 0-2 Seahawks team in their home opener on Sunday. Seattle is -14.5 on NFL picks, the biggest spread against the Bears since Dave Wannstedt was their coach.


Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Week 2 was definitely not a good one for quarterbacks. Drew Brees, who has never missed a game since signing as a free agent with New Orleans before the 2006 season, suffered a bruised rotator cuff in the shocking home loss to Tampa Bay that dropped the disappointing Saints to 0-2. That diagnosis by Dr. James Andrews was quite good news as the Saints feared a tear in Brees' shoulder. Brees is still holding out hope he plays Sunday at Carolina, which is -3 on NFL odds. Veteran Luke McCown, 34, is Brees' backup. McCown has only thrown one snap in his two-plus years with the Saints -- on a fake field-goal attempt in 2013. He hasn't played extensively in a game since 2011 with Jacksonville.


Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
The Lions are being rather vague on what is ailing Stafford, but he had X-rays on his ribs and chest following the Week 2 loss to Minnesota -- the Vikings were  hitting him all day. All Coach Jim Caldwell will say is that Stafford is "very sore" and that Caldwell isn't sure if Stafford can play this Sunday night against visiting Denver. The Broncos seem likely to punish Stafford if he does go because they have two of the NFL's best pass-rushers in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Dan Orlovsky is Stafford’s backup, and he has not attempted a pass since 2012. The Broncos opened as 3-point road favorites but that could change depending on Stafford.


Josh McCown, QB, Browns
McCown missed the Week 2 home win over Tennessee but was cleared by an independent neurologist on Wednesday and returned to practice with Cleveland. In what I deem a minor surprise, Browns coach Mike Pettine already has announced McCown as his starter for this week's game vs. the visiting Raiders. I truly thought Pettine would go with Johnny Manziel, who did some nice things in the win over the Titans and obviously has way more upside than McCown -- although Manziel probably has more downside too in terms of turning the ball over. Cleveland is -3.5 in NFL betting vs. Oakland.


Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
Lacy left Sunday night's Week 2 big win over Seattle with a sprained right ankle on just his third carry of the game and didn't return. The Packers are hopeful Lacy's ankle allows him to practice Thursday, when on-field preparation begins for Monday night's game against Kansas City. Green Bay has plenty of confidence in backup James Starks, however. He rushed for 95  yards on 20 carries against that excellent Seahawks defense -- 61 of those yards coming after contact. The Kansas City Chiefs have the No. 8 run defense in the NFL, allowing 79.5 rushing yards per game. Green Bay opened at -6.5 in what could be a slight letdown game off that Seahawks win.

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