With all 12 NFL playoff teams nursing injuries heading into the postseason, it is fair to assume that players will try to play through the pain barrier in most cases. Nonetheless, when weighing the odds (and the range of prop bets on offer), there is value in keeping tabs on the key men who could be forced to sit out, or may end up playing at less than 100%. Here are a few names to watch out for ahead of Wildcard Weekend when betting on the NFL.
Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
Both picked up shoulder injuries in the regular season finale in Minnesota. With Allen Robinson (ribs) also a concern for head coach Matt Nagy, Chicago’s medical team have some work to do ahead of Sunday. The receiving skills of Tarik Cohen could be all the more valuable if these other pass catchers have to take on more limited roles.
Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks need Griffin, who has been terrific this season, to shake off an ankle injury from Week 17 and match up against the Dallas Cowboys’ Amari Cooper on Saturday night. Without him, Seattle will be much more susceptible to deep passes. The Seahawks will feel more confident loading up against Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas running game if they have Griffin covering one side of the field.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
Henry missed the whole regular season after tearing his ACL, but successful rehab has him on track to be active for the Chargers’ trip to Baltimore on Sunday. It remains to be seen how many snaps he will play, but that would be considered a big boost for a Los Angeles offense which, though potent, only managed to score ten points against the stellar Ravens defense in Week 16.
Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts
Grant proved to be a valuable outlet for Andrew Luck early in the season, before fading into a smaller role. He picked up a toe injury in Sunday’s crucial win in Tennessee, leaving the Colts to assess his fitness ahead of the clash with the Houston Texans on Saturday.
And, looking further ahead:
Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
McCourty left Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with a shoulder injury and is a key part of their secondary. Fortunately for New England, he can fit in two weeks of treatment before the team next takes to the field.
Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints
Like the Patriots, the Saints have some extra time to shake off aches and pains (both teams only play again on January 13), but they ran into offensive line injuries over the final weeks of the season. Armstead’s pectoral injury stands out as the most significant one, though he is expected to be ready for New Orleans’ first playoff game.