Key Injuries to Consider Before Placing Your Week 7 NFL Picks

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 6:45 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 6:45 PM UTC

That I can recall, there has been only one week this NFL season where there wasn't a significant quarterback injury. Well, Week 6 wasn't that week. Here's a look at some injuries that could affect Week 7 NFL odds at sportsbooks.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans
Marcus Mariota remains the favorite on NFL picks at sportsbooks to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, but his chances of doing so will depend on how quickly Mariota can return from a sprained MCL. It's being called a Grade 2 sprain, which generally means a 3-4 week absence. Mariota was hit low by Miami's Olivier Vernon in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins, a play that outraged Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt. Vernon was flagged for roughing the passer on the play but as of this writing hasn't been fined by the NFL. Vernon did apologize and Mariota said he didn't think the hit was malicious. So presumably second-year QB Zach Mettenberger will start this Sunday's home game against the Atlanta Falcons. He got plenty of playing time as a rookie and was 5-for-8 for 63 yards late in the Dolphins loss in place of Mariota, who was only pulled at the time because it was a blowout. The Titans are +4.5 against the Falcons.


Ben Roethlisberger & Michael Vick, QBs, Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger is still recovering from his own sprained MCL suffered in Week 3 and is unlikely to return this week, although it hasn't been ruled out yet. Vick, meanwhile, suffered a small hamstring tear in last week's home win over Arizona. Thus expect third-stringer Landry Jones, the former Oklahoma star, to start Sunday in Kansas City. Jones, a fourth-round pick in 2013, was 8-for-12 for 168 yards and two scores in place of Vick against the Cardinals -- those were the first regular-season passes Jones had ever thrown. The big question might be who the Steelers' No. 2 QB will be. Because Vick's hamstring tear is only minor, it likely would be him because Pittsburgh wouldn't risk Big Ben as a backup; if he were healthy enough to play, he would start. Many books still have this line off the board. Pittsburgh is -2 on NFL odds at ones that have it up.


Tyrod Taylor, QB, Sammy Watkins & Percy Harvin, WRs, Bills
Taylor missed the Week 6 34-21 home loss to Cincinnati with a knee injury. Taylor took the first reps at starting quarterback Wednesday, but the reps were split with backup E.J. Manuel, who would get the start again if Taylor can't go. Might the Bills play it safe with Taylor as they think they can beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in London with  Manuel? Possibly. Plus then Taylor would have that bye week to get  fully healthy. As for Watkins, he just returned from injury in the Week 6 loss but then hurt his ankle against Cincinnati. He's not likely to play. Neither is Harvin, who didn't even travel with the team to London due to undisclosed personal issues. Harvin, who also has a lingering hip injury, did not play against the Bengals. It was the first game that he has missed this season. Also likely out this week for Buffalo are running back Karlos Williams (concussion) and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (left knee). Despite the Bills being ravaged by injuries, they are 6-point favorites vs. the Jags.


Allen Robinson, WR, & Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars
Jacksonville would seem to have a decent shot at upsetting Buffalo on Sunday and it appears the Jags will have both Robinson and Thomas. Robinson suffered a leg bruise in the Week 6 loss to Houston but is OK. He has become Blake Bortles' favorite target, catching 28 balls for 488 yards and five scores. Thomas, the team's big  free-agent acquisition this offseason from Denver, played in just his second game this past Sunday and had a good one, catching seven balls for 78 yards and a touchdown. But Thomas suffered a rib contusion.  It looks pretty good for him to play vs. Buffalo. Jacksonville is +6 on NFL picks in London.


Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
Dallas has long hoped that Dez Bryant would return from his broken foot this week, which comes after the Cowboys' bye. And owner/GM Jerry Jones said Bryant could play this week if he's able to practice. Alas, that doesn't appear likely. Bryant didn't participate in any team drills Wednesday and only worked off to the side. Bryant isn't even able to make cuts yet. Dallas will have a new starting QB on Sunday at the New York Giants as Matt Cassel was elevated to the No. 1 spot over Brandon Weeden during the off week. The Cowboys are +3.5 on NFL odds.


Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
Maclin, the Chiefs' big free-agent acquisition this offseason, suffered a concussion in the Week 6 loss to Minnesota and is in the league's protocol. Maclin is quarterback Alex Smith's top target, compiling 39 receptions (eight-most in the NFL) on 56 targets for 531 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City has lost five straight and of course is without star running back Jamaal Charles the rest of the season. K.C. is  a 2-point home underdog vs. Pittsburgh this week.


Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Philip Rivers' top target, Allen, suffered a shoulder injury in the Week 6 loss in Green Bay. But it has been diagnosed as only a sprain and Allen should play this Sunday against visiting Oakland. Allen has been targeted 71 times by Rivers and leads the NFL with 53 catches to go with 601 yards and three scores. The Bolts are -4 against the Raiders.

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