For a week we didn't see any injuries to big-time players in the NFL. That changed in Week 5 as some key players went down. Here are some injuries that could affect NFL odds for Week 6.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
Kansas City not only lost its fourth straight game in Week 5, blowing a 17-3 fourth-quarter lead to a below-average Chicago Bears team, but it also lost easily its most important player on offense in Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles to a season-ending torn ACL. Seriously, there is no team in the NFL that relies more on a non-quarterback on the offensive side. This changes everything for the Chiefs this season as they might as well start thinking about the 2016 draft and perhaps trade a guy or two and simply punt on 2015. Without Charles, name me a lock win for this team? I only give it three chances for a victory going forward: Week 8 in London vs. the Lions, Week 16 vs. the Browns and Week 17 vs. the Raiders. So that's 4-12 at best. The Chiefs are +4 this week at Minnesota and when I previewed this game on SBR my NFL pick was to give the points.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, LeSean McCoy, RB, & Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
Taylor has played pretty well in his first year as a starter but it appears he will miss this week's home game with unbeaten Cincinnati due to an MCL injury suffered in Week 5. There were some media reports listing Taylor already as out, with backup and former first-round bust E.J. Manuel to start. But Coach Rex Ryan hasn't ruled Taylor out as of this writing. That's likely just Ryan keeping the Bengals guessing. The Bills signed veteran Josh Johnson this week as an emergency backup. There is good news for the injury-ravaged Bills as No. 1 tailback and receiver LeSean McCoy and top receiver Sammy Watkins, respectively, both practiced on Wednesday. McCoy has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, while Watkins hasn't played since straining his calf against the Dolphins in Week 3. They are still questionable. The Bills are 3.5-point home dogs against Cincinnati on NFL odds.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars
Bortles had probably the best game of his young pro career in Week 5 loss to the Buccaneers, but he sprained an AC joint in his shoulder. Bortles said he was injured during his 21-yard run late in the second quarter but he played through it. Bortles was set to practice Wednesday and says he is going to play. The Jaguars host Houston this week and might actually have a rare quarterback edge with Bortles over new/old Texans starter Brian Hoyer. But Jacksonville is a 1-point underdog on NFL odds. Some books have taken the line down until Bortles' status is more clear.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
Roethlisberger hasn't played since Sept. 27 with a sprained MCL that was supposed to keep him out 4-6 weeks. But Big Ben was set to participate in 7-on-7 drills Wednesday in practice, but that's only 15 plays or so and doesn't involve any contact. He wants to play Sunday against visiting Arizona yet it's all but a sure thing that Michael Vick will get the call again -- especially with the Steelers on a short week after that last-second win in San Diego on Monday night. Pittsburgh is +3 against the Cardinals
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Many thought Luck would play last Thursday in Houston through his shoulder injury, including Luck himself. But the Colts played it on the safe side and it proved a wise move as Matt Hasselbeck started for the second straight week and led Indy to a second close win in a row. All signs point to Luck playing in Sunday night's huge "Deflategate" AFC Championship Game rematch against New England, a team Luck has been terrible against in losing four blowouts in his NFL career. I know this game means a lot to him. Indy is a 7.5-point dog.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
Lynch is expected to return for Sunday's home game vs. Carolina after missing the past two with a hamstring injury. But Lynch might have to share carries now with emerging undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls, who rushed for 169 yards last week, the most by a Seahawk in nine years. Lynch is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry in his three games. Seattle is -6.5 against the Panthers in a rematch of last season's divisional-round playoff game.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
Beckham missed the end of Sunday night's come-from-behind victory over San Francisco with a hamstring problem. Beckham had an MRI on Monday that did not show any serious tears. What works in his favor this week is that New York doesn't play until Monday night, and Beckham thinks he will be ready to go. The Giants are already without wide receiver Victor Cruz so they can't afford to be without Beckham. New York is +4.5 at Philadelphia on Monday.
DeAndre Levy, LB, Lions
The Lions are the NFL's only winless team and the news only gets worse as the team's best defensive player in Levy will have surgery on his hip and probably miss the rest of the season. Levy hadn't played this year until Week 5 due to the hip problem and was in action for less than a half in the loss to Arizona before re-injuring it. Levy led the NFL in solo tackles last season with 117. The Lions are actually 3-point home favorites this week vs. Chicago.
DeMarcus Ware, LB, Broncos
The Denver defense, not Peyton Manning, has been carrying the team thus far. A big part of that unit has been Ware, but he hurt his back in the Week 5 win over Oakland and is expected to sit out this Sunday's game -- then Denver is on a bye. Ware has 4.5 sacks, which currently puts him tied for third in the NFL. The 33-year-old has looked rejuvenated under coordinator Wade Phillips. Denver is -4 this week at Cleveland.