We are over a quarter of the way through the 2020 NFL season. While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the league’s scheduling over the past couple of weeks, the league still has to be pleased with how things have played out thus far. The vast majority of games have gone off without a hitch, but the lack of preseason games and full training camps have resulted in quite a few injuries to key players through five weeks.
This past week was certainly no exception. A couple of teams lost their starting quarterbacks, which may wind up shaping divisional races as the season progresses. Here’s a roundup of the noteworthy injuries that occurred in Week 5.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys (Ankle)
Dak Prescott’s injury may be the biggest of the season thus far. The Cowboys’ franchise quarterback suffered a gruesome injury to his right ankle when he was tackled by Giants safety Logan Ryan in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Prescott had to be carted off the field in tears, and it was reported that he was instantly headed to the hospital to undergo surgery.
The Dallas Cowboys said after the game that Prescott suffered a compound fracture and a dislocation to his right ankle. Dallas expects Prescott’s injury to be season-ending. If you saw the play live, you’d have a hard time imagining Dak returning to the field at any point in the near future.
The Cowboys did sign former longtime Bengals starter Andy Dalton as a free agent this past offseason. Nobody would mistake Dalton for an All-Pro, but he has been a capable starter in this league for a long time. Dalton is likely the best backup QB in the league, so the Cowboys are in decent hands even without their QB1 on the field.
That said, oddsmakers aren’t too keen on the Cowboys. Dallas improved to 2-3 on the season with their last-second win over the Giants on Sunday, but their odds to win Super Bowl 55 tumbled considerably following Prescott’s injury. NFL betting sites have dropped the Cowboys all the way to +4000 to win the title this season, which puts them right in the middle of the pack.
Dallas is still a +100 favorite to win the hapless NFC East, but the team’s Super Bowl hopes may have died with Prescott going down on Sunday. Dalton and the Cowboys have opened as 2.5-point underdogs next week at home against the Cardinals in what has the potential to be a very high-scoring affair.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings (Groin)
The Minnesota Vikings lost a heartbreaker on Sunday Night Football to the Seahawks, but that wasn’t the only thing they lost. Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook exited the game early in the second half with an apparent groin injury. He came back to the game afterward, but head coach Mike Zimmer said he would undergo an MRI to try and determine the extent of the injury on Monday.
Cook carried the ball 17 times for 65 yards with a touchdown in the game, but Alexander Mattison was quite effective in relief. Mattison finished the game with 112 yards on 20 carries along with three catches for 24 yards.
The loss dropped the Vikings to just 1-4 on the season. Minnesota’s odds to win the NFC North have dipped all the way to +2000 after they started the season as odds-on favorites. The unbeaten Packers have emerged as -400 favorites, followed by the surprising 4-1 Bears (+350). The Vikings will have a good opportunity to get back into the win colum next week, with or without Cook. Minnesota will host the winless Falcons next Sunday. The Vikings are listed as 3.5-point favorites over a Falcons team that just fired its head coach and general manager.
AJ Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (Hamstring)
AJ Green was once one of the most productive receivers in football, but his last few seasons have been marred by injuries. The former Pro Bowler left Sunday’s loss to the Ravens at halftime with a hamstring injury. He did not return to the game.
Rookie QB Joe Burrow has been productive this season, but Green hasn’t been a major factor thus far. The veteran ranks second on the team with 34 targets, but he’s just fourth in receptions (14) and fifth on the team in receiving yards (119). He has also yet to find the end zone with Burrow under center.
The ball was way over AJ Green’s head. Ok. He makes a decision on an uncatchable ball. But AJ was most definitely not trying to tackle Marcus Peters at the end of this return. 😂 pic.twitter.com/stqlyOcC6Q
The Cincinnati Bengals have a solid group of young pass-catchers including Tyler Boyd and rookie Tee Higgins, so Green’s potential absence may not have a huge negative impact on Cincinnati’s passing attack. The Bengals’ primary concern has to be keeping Burrow upright. The former Heisman winner was sacked seven times by the Ravens on Sunday, which means he has now been sacked a total of 22 times through five games.
The 1-3-1 Bengals are 8.5-point favorites next Sunday against the Colts on the road.
Kyle Allen, QB, Washington Football Team
Ron Rivera made the decision to bench Dwayne Haskins in favor of Kyle Allen heading into Sunday’s game with the Rams. Allen got off to a solid enough start, rushing for a touchdown in the second quarter. However, the Houston product injured his arm later in the second quarter before leaving for the locker room.
With Haskins benched and unavailable, the Washington Football Team had to turn to veteran Alex Smith, who made his first appearance on the field in nearly two years after suffering a devastating leg injury in November of 2018. Smith wound up completing nine of his 17 attempts for 37 yards in Washington’s 30-10 loss.
Rivera said Monday that Allen will remain the team’s starter if he’s healthy enough to play next week. Allen’s arm injury is not expected to be serious, which means he has a good chance of being on the field this Sunday when Washington faces the winless Giants in New York. The 1-3 Washington Football Team is actually listed as a three-point road underdog as of this writing.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (Ribs)
The Cleveland Browns picked up yet another win on Sunday, which means Cleveland is very quietly off to an impressive 4-1 start this season. The Browns lost starting running back Nick Chubb last week, and on Sunday quarterback Baker Mayfield came down with a rib injury. Mayfield took a hit from Indy’s Justin Houston late in Sunday’s game and wound up going to the medical tent.
He returned to the game shortly thereafter, though, and X-rays conducted on his ribs after the game came back negative. The Browns believe Mayfield will be ready to play by next Sunday when Cleveland faces a showdown with the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers.
Through five games, the former Heisman winner has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 976 yards with nine touchdowns to four interceptions. Mayfield threw two touchdowns and two interceptions on Sunday against the Colts.
Sunday’s game at Heinz Field could go a long way toward determining which team will ultimately challenge the Ravens for AFC North supremacy. The Steelers, who have started 4-0 for the first time in the Ben Roethlisberger era, have opened as four-point home favorites against the upstart Br0wns.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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