Quarterback Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders
Quarterback Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders

NFL Midweek Update Week 10: Key injuries, ATS records & playoff race

We are now officially into the second half of the 2021 NFL regular season, with Week 9 in the books.

Whatever you are picking in terms of your NFL predictions, at least you now have plenty of evidence to work with. And we aim to add to that knowledge right here.

Our midweek update is intended to inform you with some intel to take on the bookmakers each weekend. So without further ado, let’s get into it.

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Injury Report

The phrase ‘next man up’ is one you’ll hear a lot from NFL coaches. It’s a brutal league and a brutal game, and here are some of the key injuries from last weekend:

Tyron Smith (OT, Dallas Cowboys): Smith has been one of the game’s premier left tackles for more than a decade now, but injuries are starting to slow the big man down on an annual basis. Tyron was forced to sit it out on Sunday by bone spurs in his ankle, and he was badly missed as the Cowboys laid a huge egg while Denver blew them out 30-16 at AT&T Stadium. Smith’s status in the coming weeks is now likely to be an on-off saga which should worry all Dallas fans. The Cowboys are 13-15 without Tyron and he is one of a handful - no less than a handful - of players they cannot afford to lose. The dropoff to backup Terence Steele is huge, very few teams have serviceable replacements at the game’s second most important position.

Matt Paradis (C, Carolina Panthers): Another key offensive line injury here as Panthers center Paradis went down during Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the New England Patriots in Charlotte. The outcome was a torn ACL and Paradis is gone for the season. More bad news for a Carolina offense which is struggling horribly right now. The Panthers have lost five of their last six games, Sam Darnold looks like a deer in the headlights and September and 3-0 seems a long time ago. On Sunday Carolina visits 8-1 Arizona and the pass rushing duo of Chandler Jones and Markus Golden must be smacking their chops in anticipation. We could be in for a feeding frenzy.

Brandon Wilson (S/KR, Cincinnati Bengals): Wilson has been one of the league’s better kick returners in recent seasons. So it was a huge blow when he tore his ACL on Sunday and was lost for the season. The news of his injury just rubbed salt into very open wounds for the Bengals, who were crushed 41-16 at home by bitter rival Cleveland. That is two straight losses for Cincy now and that highly promising 5-2 start has quickly become a shaky 5-4.

DeShon Elliott (S, Baltimore Ravens): The Ravens improved to 6-2 with an overtime win over Minnesota on Sunday, but the victory came at a cost. The loss of starting safety Elliott leaves a big hole for the rest of 2021 in Baltimore. After his first two seasons in the NFL brought a broken arm and a torn ACL, Elliott now adds a third major injury to his record in the shape of a torn bicep/pectoral. Terrible luck for the 24-year-old, and a headache for HC John Harbaugh.

Mike McGlinchey (OT, San Francisco 49ers): As well as suffering a potentially mortal blow to their faltering playoff hopes, the Niners lost right tackle McGlinchey for the year in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to Arizona. McGlinchey’s 2021 ended with a torn quad after he had been one of the team’s few bright spots so far this year. These are grim times for Kyle Shanahan’s roster, which now sits at 3-5 and way off the pace in the competitive NFC West division.

Chase Edmonds (RB, Arizona Cardinals): Sunday was a pretty good day for the Cards, apart from the injury which ruled out Edmonds on their very first offensive play of the day. He suffered an ankle injury which appears set to land him on IR and means he is likely to miss three or four games. James Conner filled the void admirably, but losing Edmonds now is not ideal for a team which is developing Super Bowl aspirations.

Graham Glasgow (OG, Denver Broncos): The Broncos were already banged-up on the O-line heading into Dallas, and things got worse when Glasgow went down for the season with a broken ankle. Bad news for a team which delivered its finest performance of the season so far in stunning the 6-1 Cowboys.

Patrick Surtain II (CB, Denver Broncos): The Broncos left Arlington with another major injury concern after first-round draft pick Surtain left the win over Dallas with a knee injury. Updates since suggest it is nothing more serious than a sprain, which Denver appears to be taking as good news. Surtain though will miss multiple games.

Against The Spread in 2021 - which teams perform worst?

If you’re betting on the NFL every weekend, likely you are often going against the spread. Last week we looked at which teams are best ATS in 2021, and this week we look at the worst:

Against The Spread in 2021 - which teams perform worst?

Playoff Race - Current Seedings

We are fast approaching the time of year when playoff talk ceases to become a dream and pretty quickly turns into reality.

If the post-season started now, these are the teams who would be playing deeper into January:

American Football Conference (AFC)

  1. Tennessee Titans (7-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
  3. Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)
  4. Buffalo Bills (5-3)
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
  7. New England Patriots (5-4)

On the bubble: Kansas City Chiefs (5-4), Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), Cleveland Browns (5-4), Denver Broncos (5-4).

National Football Conference (NFC)

  1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1)
  2. Green Bay Packers (7-2)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
  5. Los Angeles Rams (7-2)
  6. New Orleans Saints (5-3)
  7. Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

On the bubble: Carolina Panthers (4-5), Minnesota Vikings (3-5), Seattle Seahawks 3-5, San Francisco 49ers (3-5).

Remember, the top four seeds in each conference go to the division winners. The next three go to the teams who are not top of their division but have the best records in the conference. They are the wild cards.

This is why we have the Rams currently sitting as the 5 seed in the NFC, despite being 7-2.

The top seed in each conference receives a first-round bye in the playoffs along with homefield advantage throughout the post-season.

Game Of The Week

Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes
  • Kansas City Chiefs @ Las Vegas Raiders (Monday November 8, 0120 GMT)

Sunday Night Football delivers a crucial AFC West matchup as the 5-4 Chiefs visit the 5-3 Raiders.

KC is just about hauling itself back into the playoff hunt, but has hardly inspired confidence in narrow back-to-back home wins over the Giants (20-17) and the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers (13-7).

That Chiefs offense, once a gleaming Ferrari, is still misfiring like an ageing banger with Patrick Mahomes apparently stuck in neutral. Things need to change some time soon.

The Raiders meanwhile have spent the last couple of weeks battling a ton of adversity, first with the departure of head coach Jon Gruden and then the release of WR Henry Ruggs after he was charged with DUI resulting in death and reckless driving following a car accident.

Then the Raiders lost unexpectedly to the Giants on Sunday, and on Tuesday released another former first-round draft pick in the shape of cornerback Damon Arnette after he threatened to kill someone while brandishing guns in a social media video.

We told you during pre-season that Las Vegas was overpriced at 22/1 to win the West, and although the Raiders are bracketed in first place with the Chargers on 5-3, even we are not sure they can keep this train on the tracks. Troubled does not even begin to cover it.

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