We are just eight days away from enjoying some real football, and the last week has provided us with no shortage of major headlines. I’m not waxing hyperbolic about Antonio Brown’s restructured contract. I’m talking real impact stories.
Tony Romo has a fracture in his back, which will keep him out 6-10 weeks, giving everyone what they want: Dak Prescott. The Denver Broncos named Trevor Siemian their starting quarterback, tossing Mark Sanchez’s future up in the air (where it probably got intercepted). Joey Bosa received the fully guaranteed signing bonus that he was demanding from the Chargers, ending his holdout. Colin Kaepernick won’t stand for the National Anthem. The Colts’ offensive line is still bad. And, most recently, Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season-ending knee injury, making the Vikings QB situation even worse than it already was.
Arising from these major developments are a lot of questions: how will Prescott fare in the regular season? Who will start at quarterback for the reigning NFC North champions? Will Tim Tebow make an MLB roster? (Ok, maybe not that one.)
The answers will come in due course. For now, let’s look at the most likely outcomes.
NFL 2016 Odds: Injuries, Holdouts, New Starters, and More!
Odds to start at QB for the Vikings in Week 1
Shaun Hill (Vikings): 5/3
Mark Sanchez (Broncos): 4/1
Josh McCown (Browns): 9/2
Colin Kaepernick (49ers): 15/1
Michael Vick (free agent): 15/1
Geno Smith (Jets): 22/1
E.J. Manuel (Bills): 33/1
Mike Glennon (Buccaneers): 35/1
Tim Tebow (free agent): 150/1
I can’t see the Bills or Bucs wanting to trade their backups away, considering neither has a very reliable third-option to promote.
Although the Jets and 49ers may be thrilled to part ways with their backups, Minnesota would be foolish to give Geno Smith the responsibility of defending a division crown, and putting Alex Boone and Colin Kaepernick in the same room right now would only cause problems. (Problems for the Vikings, that is; pure entertainment for the rest of us.)
Although I do expect the Vikings to bring in some competition for Shaun Hill, it’s so late in the preseason to start learning a brand new offense, especially a Norv Turner offense. Hill should get the first crack at it, while the other waits in the wings.
Odds on Geno Smith making another NFL start: 4/1
“Wanted: a QB who can turn the ball over with alarming ease.” On the off chance that an NFL team puts that ad in their local classifieds, Geno is their man! In reality, no one will be trusting him to pilot their offense, not even the Vikings, who would only ask him to hand the ball off. (There’s too great a chance that he fumbles the exchange.)
Odds on Dallas being .500 or better with Dak Prescott as starter: 8/7
The Cowboys have a pretty light first-half schedule (including Washington, Chicago, San Fran., Philly, and Cleveland) but they also have a pretty awful defense. Plus, who knows when Tony Romo is coming back.
Over/under on Dak Prescott’s 2016 passer rating: 92.5
The highest passer rating for a quarterback in his rookie season is 102.4 (RGIII). I’m not saying Prescott can’t match that, I’m just saying it’s unlikely. Plus, a passer rating in the low 90s is very respectable.
Over/under on the week of Joey Bosa’s first start: 1.5
Despite the Chargers’ earlier reports that Bosa’s lengthy holdout would result in the third-overall pick not being ready for the season opener, that’s apparently not the case. If it’s not Week 1, then getting blown out by the Chiefs will certainly make San Diego desperate enough to start Bosa in Week 2.
Over/under on total times Andrew Luck is sacked: 40.5
I often fantasize about being Andrew Luck, but I certainly don’t envy the brutal hits he’s about to take.
The Colts’ offensive line is shaky, at best, and they’re extremely fortunate that Jack Mewhort did not tear his ACL. (He’ll only miss 2-4 weeks.)
Regardless, Rob Chudzinski better have Luck working the quick-game if he wants his franchise quarterback to have a healthier year than 2015.
Over/under on starts for Trevor Siemian: 10.5
Denver’s bye comes in Week 11, so if they’re not in a favorable position, I’d expect Paxton Lynch to be given the week to prep for his first professional start.
Over/under total FGs missed by Roberto Aguayo in 2016: 6.5
After a horrendous start to the preseason, the rookie kicker looked much better in Week 3. However, even the best kickers in the league miss once in awhile. Don’t expect the rookie to go from an inconsistent preseason to a Pro Bowl-caliber regular season.
Over/under on how many national anthems Colin Kaepernick sits through: 2.5
Not only will Kaepernick have to continue his protestations to hit the over – protestations which are bringing him a lot of hate – he’ll have to stick on an NFL roster.
Photo credit: Matthew Deery (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].