If you’re looking to place the right bet on this weekend’s Wild Card action, keeping up on the injuries will be a good place to start.
Dr. David Chao is a practicing orthopedic surgeon and former head team physician for the San Diego Chargers. He utilizes his almost two decades of NFL experience to help fans understand injuries and boasts a documented 90+% accuracy rate in deciphering injuries in real-time off video analysis. Dr. Chao is the SiriusXM sports medical analyst, has been featured in the New York Times and has become the go to injury analyst for the NFL.
Injuries play a big role each week in the outcome of the games. Come playoff time, there is no team that is immune from health issues. Here are some of the key players to watch for the Wild Card round.
Colts vs Texans
The forgotten story is this is the battle of the injured quarterbacks from last season. Many thought Andrew Luck’s career was in jeopardy after missing all of last year and some questioned whether Deshaun Watson would return to his dynamic self after tearing his ACL. Both have done well and are largely responsible for their club’s playoff position.
Each team has their #1 wide receiver limited with ankle issues. However, by video, neither TY Hilton nor DeAndre Hopkins ankle injuries are significant. Although practice may have been limited, expect both to be at or near the top of their game. The Colts have adjusted to losing star TE Jack Doyle early this season and should have a healthy Ryan Kelly to lead the offensive line. The Texans will finally have Keke Coutee back but that may not be enough to balance out the season ending WR losses of Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) and Will Fuller (ACL). However, the Texans offense will be bolstered by a healthy Lamar Miller at running back.
JJ Watt will play with his elbow (and knee) issue: however, look for him to be more of an outside speed rusher as it will be hard to bull rush or keep blockers off him given his apparent right elbow hyperextension injury last week.
Keep in mind the Colts are playing on short rest. They essentially played a “play-in” game Sunday night on the road vs the Titans and have to travel again to Houston the earliest Saturday game. This essentially costs the Colts a practice day but both teams are quite familiar with each other as they split their division matchups with the road team winning by three points to split the series.