We’re inside three weeks away from the defending champion Los Angeles Rams battling the Buffalo Bills to kick off NFL regular season odds and Week 1 of the 2022 season. Nevertheless, there’s still a major variable in play — the Matthew Stafford injury, centering around tendonitis in his throwing elbow.
What factors should bettors monitor in regards to the Matthew Stafford injury? Let’s dig in.
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Assessing Matthew Stafford Injury
Stafford could find himself in rhythm by the season opener. By all reports, the 13-year veteran hasn’t been limited in training camp of late, returning to practice Tuesday.
“I thought he had great energy, great command all day,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters. “I thought he threw the ball incredibly accurately in all parts of the field, really activated all parts of our pass game. There was a couple where he’s hitting the spots we want and we just have to be able to finish some of those plays.”
Stafford has played through numerous injuries in recent seasons, and TheLines sports injury expert Will Carroll previously noted “the Rams medical staff does really well with maintenance.”
Elbow injuries are unusual for quarterbacks, but not many have needed elbow surgery in the way that baseball pitchers have over the years. And let’s not forget NFL players have the most advanced treatment options available to them, such as stem cells. Another option for NFL players is PRP injections, like Dak Prescott received midseason a year ago.
As of now, it’s clear Stafford is trending in the right direction. He wouldn’t be practicing in mid-August if he wasn’t. It appears no worse than the risk every QB has, being one hit away from missing a season. Stafford’s elbow seems well enough to avoid limitations against Leslie Frazier’s defense in Week 1. If so, he’ll possess the requisite ammo to continue his winning ways in Inglewood, Calif. this season.
For starters, Los Angeles replaced now-retired left tackle Andrew Whitworth — a potential Pro Football Hall of Famer — with Joe Noteboom, who preformed admirably in pass protection (via Pro Football Focus) when Whitworth missed time over the last two seasons. It also added buy-low candidate Allen Robinson, gifting Stafford one of the league’s premier route runners after Robinson was handicapped by ex-Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy and rookie QB Justin Fields last season.
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Bills – Rams Line Movement
Generally speaking, there’s plenty of time before you need to start handicapping NFL Week 1 odds. Keep in mind, the market initially opened with a record-setting number of home underdogs — even before the Rams were added to the list.
But as expected, the betting market reacted swiftly once the Matthew Stafford injury was first reported earlier this month. Despite opening as a one-point road underdog, money pushed the Bills to a consensus 2.5-point favorite.
Stafford aside, Buffalo may be overvalued on its own. Sean McDermott’s team has attracted its fair share of interest in the futures market despite losing well-respected play-caller Brian Daboll to the New York Giants, reliable wideout Cole Beasley, starting offensive linemen John Feliciano and Daryl Williams, cornerback Levi Wallace, 2021 sack leader Mario Addison, and fellow defensive linemen Star Lotulelei and Jerry Hughes.