There’s nothing like a good quarterback controversy to drive bettors crazy in their attempts to handicap upcoming NFL games.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid ended the controversy in Philadelphia when he announced Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, likely ending the Michael Vick era in the City of Brotherly Love. But the decision on who to put under center isn’t as easy for these four teams in Week 14:
New York Jets (Pick vs. Jacksonville)
The Mark Sanchez vs. Tim Tebow debate has been a hot topic ever since the Florida man was acquired by the Jets in the offseason. Tebow was expected to be the biggest threat to Sanchez's job but it turns out it might be third-stringer Greg McElroy, who led the Jets to an ugly 7-6 win over Arizona last Sunday, that gets the call this week at Jacksonville.
The team’s seventh-round pick out of Alabama last year is listed as a -200 favorite to get the call, according to props available at Sportsbook.ag. While Sanchez is +200 to be back at the helm and Tebow a +1,000 dog to recover from his rib injuries and make a homecoming start against the Jags. Head coach Rex Ryan was quoted as saying, "I'll let you guys know who's going to be the quarterback when I'm ready to," after the win over Arizona. “We'll look at our situation and evaluate as the week goes on."
San Francisco 49ers (-10 vs. Miami)
The Niners are poised for another postseason run, as long as they don’t have to face the Rams in the playoffs. Colin Kaepernick, who had been outstanding since taking over the starting job from the concussed Alex Smith, finally came back to reality this week with a sub-par performance. Kaepernick made two costly mistakes that led to 10 points for St. Louis and an eventual victory in overtime for the Rams. With Alex Smith on the mend, San Francisco is still sticking with Kaepernick... for now.
“I’ll let you know if there’s a change, but right now, I think it’ll be the same as it was this week,” coach Harbaugh said following Sunday’s loss. “I’m proud of Kap, proud of the way he played. He handled himself well, gave our team a chance to win.”
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5 with Batch, -7 with Roethlisberger)
Is there anything Charlie Batch didn’t do for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their win over the Ravens on Sunday? The 37 year old turned in a simply sensational performance and has left everyone wondering if he will get the call against the Chargers this week. Big Ben is on the mend and back at practice, leaving Mike Tomlin with a difficult decision to make.
Does he start Roethlisberger, who might not be at 100 percent, or ride the hot hand and old legs of Batch? Jimmy Vaccaro, veteran oddsmaker with William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada believes Pittsburgh is a 3.5-point favorite with Batch under center and a 7-point fave if Roethlisberger suits up.
Arizona Cardinals (Projected +9.5 at Seattle)
Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt didn't announce Ryan Lindley as his starter for Sunday's game against the Seahawks during his weekly press conference Monday. Even though he stuck with the rookie for the entire game against the Jets, he has to be considering his other limited options after Lindley completed just 10 of his 31 pass attempts for a measly 72 yards.
Whisenhunt must decide if he will go back to John Skelton, who he pulled in favor of Lindley after he led the team to four straight losses, or stick with Lindley this week. When asked if Kevin Kolb (ribs) would play again this season. Whisenhunt responded by saying, “I sure hope so.”