Week 15 of the NFL schedule looks to be a competitive one, with teams competing to improve their playoff seeding and others struggling to stay alive in the postseason race.
Here are four undervalued injuries that could have a big impact on each team’s respective game this Sunday:
Ricky Jean-Francois, DE, Indianapolis Colts (Out, foot)
The Indianapolis Colts are giving up an average of 372.1 yards per game, ranking them 23rd in yards allowed. Their defense has struggled since the bye week, allowing an average of 31 points per game. Jean-Francois is a big part of the run stop unit but has been sidelined with a foot sprain since Week 13. Indianapolis is thin on the defensive line and was bullied for 155 rushing yards in a loss to Cincinnati last Sunday.
The Colts are 5.5-point home favorites against the Texans. The total is 45.5.
John Cyprien, SS, Jacksonville Jaguars (Questionable, thigh)
Cyprien has two forced fumbles and one INT, with 89 combined tackles and one sack in his rookie campaign. The Jaguars host the Bills, who are a surprising fifth in total rushing yards with 1,737 yards on the year. The Bills have over 12 rushing touchdowns and lead the league with five rushes of 40 or more yards. Cyprien has been one of the lone bright spots for the Jaguars stop unit and his ability to sniff out the run could be missed Sunday.
The Jaguars are 2-point favorites against the Bills at home, with the total at 43.5.
Aqib Talib, CB, New England Patriots (Questionable, hip)
The Patriots have been plagued by the injury bug all season. They have three cornerbacks questionable for Sunday with Talib (hip), Marquice Cole (shin) and Alfonzo Dennard (knee) nursing injuries. The Patriots are ranked 23rd overall giving up 372.3 total yards per game. Talib is the staple of that secondary with four interceptions but has lost a step since hurting his hip, which showed against Browns WR Josh Gordon – seven catches, 151 yards, one touchdown – last Sunday.
The Patriots are 1-point favorites against Miami on the road. The total is 45.5
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams (Questionable, ankle)
Austin has 40 receptions for over 418 yards in his rookie season, averaging 10.5 yards a catch. He also has 280 yards in punt returns. Austin missed practice again Thursday and is a big question mark in the final weeks of the schedule. The Rams face the Saints high-powered attack that is complemented with the sixth-ranked defense in total yards allowed. With Austin, St. Louis could fall behind the pace if New Orleans pulls ahead.
The Rams are 6.5-point home underdogs against New Orleans. The total is 47.