Published on: January 10, 2023, 01:30 am.
Last updated: January 10, 2023, 02:27.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a back injury in the season finale against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. But it’s not as serious as originally expected.
Initial X-rays ruled out any fracture, which was the team’s biggest fear. Williams underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed a back contusion.
Williams is expected to play Saturday when the NFL playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend.
The Chargers (10-7) secured the #5 seed in the AFC as the top wild-card team. The Chargers face the #4 Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8). The Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans in Week 18 to win the AFC South division title and punch their ticket to the postseason as the #4 seed. As the division winner, the Jaguars host a first-round playoff game.
On Sunday night, the Chargers opened as -1.5 favorites at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. The line moved quickly as punters jumped on the Jaguars as a +1.5 home dog. The line is currently a pick’em at most Las Vegas stores and offshore books. The Jaguars are +1 (with extra juice at -115) at DraftKings.
The Chargers are +1000 odds to win the AFC Championship, while the Jaguars are +2000 odds, according to DraftKings’ NFL futures commission.
The Chargers are +2000 odds to win Super Bowl LVII and the Jaguars are +5000 long shots to win the Super Bowl.
Week 18 Rookie Heat
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley drew a tsunami of boos for playing starters in a meaningless game in the final week of the season. The Chargers had already locked up a postseason berth, so the result against the Broncos didn’t matter.
Three players suffered injuries against the Broncos, including Williams, edge rusher Joey Bosa and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. Bosa and Murray both exited in the second quarter, and neither player returned to the game.
These are not easy decisions.” Staley told reporters after the game. “These are not easy decisions and hindsight is perfect for everyone on the outside, but these games are not easy to manage. I’m not, because you don’t have that many players and we did the best we could.
The Broncos won 31-28 and the Chargers finished the season with a 10-7 record.
Quarterback Justin Herbert has been nursing a rib cartilage injury all season, and Staley risked more injuries to their franchise quarterback. Critics jumped all over Staley after Williams exited the game with a back injury in the second quarter.
“He’s just a special athlete and wants nothing but what’s best for this team,” Herbert said. “To have a guy like that as a competitor, an athlete, a teammate like that, we’re better off because of him.”
Williams has missed several games with a high ankle sprain that occurred in Week 7. In 13 games this season, Williams has 63 receptions for 985 yards but just four touchdowns.
Williams will take it easy in practice this week. Staley said all indications are that Williams will be available Saturday against the Jaguars.
Bosa is still recovering from his core injury
Bosa has missed 12 games this season due to a muscle injury. He returned to action in Week 17, but the coaching staff wanted to get him reps in Week 18. That plan was put on hold after he suffered a freak injury in the second quarter against the Broncos.
I felt like he got enough snaps, both the run game and the pass game, and playing at altitude.” Staley said. “We felt like he had a good day’s work and was able to take another step towards building for this week.”
If the Chargers expect to advance in the AFC Divisional round, they will need an aggressive pass game against Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
“After playing two games, Joey will be closer to being himself. But he’s still working his way through it,” Staley added.