While some teams continue to be blessed in the injury department, others can't seem to shake the injury bug and it could cost some teams victories this weekend.
Several stars like Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler are out for another game, and their absences could be the difference in a few closely contested matchups. Following a full line of picks for this week is a breakdown of a few games where the outcome could be determined by injuries.
|Away Team||Home Team||Pick|
|Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jaguars|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cincinnati Bengals||Colts|
|Atlanta Falcons||Green Bay Packers||Falcons|
|Cleveland Browns||New England Patriots||Patriots|
|Oakland Raiders||New York Jets||Raiders|
|Detroit Lions||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles|
|Miami Dolphins||Pittsburgh Steelers||Steelers|
|Buffalo Bills||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Washington Redskins||Chiefs|
|Minnesota Vikings||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens|
|Tennessee Titans||Denver Broncos||Broncos|
|St. Louis Rams||Arizona Cardinals||Cardinals|
|New York Giants||San Diego Chargers||Chargers|
|Seattle Seahawks||San Francisco 49ers||Seahawks|
|Carolina Panthers||New Orleans Saints||Panthers|
|Dallas Cowboys||Chicago Bears||Cowboys|
Green Bay Packers
The Packers appear to have plenty of issues other than just the loss of Aaron Rodgers, but the lack of a passing game has been one of the main concerns for a team that was once 5-2 and looked like a lock to make the playoffs.
Rodgers has already been officially ruled out for Sunday's game, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, meaning Rodgers will miss his fifth consecutive game. During that stretch, Green Bay has gone 0-4-1 and have dropped behind both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears in its division.
Though the Packers are playing the lowly 3-9 Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta is actually coming off a 34-31 win against the Buffalo Bills. Atlanta now has a healthy Roddy White to feature alongside Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan and Steven Jackson.
The Panthers are as balanced a team as there is in the NFL right now, but the possibility of DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson both missing a game against the New Orleans Saints might swing the contest back in the Saints' favor.
Both Johnson and Williams are listed as probable, according to John Clayton of ESPN:
While the likelihood that either Johnson or Williams misses this game is unlikely, the predictability of injuries is never a certainty. While both could start on Sunday, the lingering effects of injuries alone could be the difference between these two teams.
Panthers healthy for game against Saints. DE Charles Johnson and DeAngelo Williams are probable.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) December 6, 2013
The loss of Jay Cutler might not appear to be that devastating from the outset, especially with how well Josh McCown has played in his absence, but the facts don't lie. The Bears are 2-3 without Cutler as a starter and haven't looked the same since his injury.
Much of that blame should be placed on the defense that is allowing teams to literally run all over them, allowing a league-high 153.6 rushing yards per game. But while McCown has been effective, the chemistry between Cutler and Brandon Marshall is as lethal as any other quarterback-wide receiver combination in the NFL.
Without Cutler behind center, the Bears will have a tough time keeping up with the Cowboys offense and could fall to below .500—putting the team's playoff hopes on life support.