The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Offenses are about as balanced as Michael Jackson’s kids, with only three teams passing on less than 50 percent of their plays last season.
There were 11 teams that passed on more than 60 percent of their snaps in 2012, compared to just three 10 years ago. And 11 quarterbacks passed for more than 4,000 yards last year. There were only two in 2003.
Drew Brees was the lone QB to top the 5,000-yard mark in 2012 and is a +385 favorite to lead the NFL in passing yards again this season. We look behind the Saints gunslinger for value in the NFL player props and give you three dark horses to air it out in 2013.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (+1,200)
Luck was good in his first year in the NFL and could be great in 2013. As a rookie, he threw 627 passes – fifth most in the league – and totaled 4,374 yards, which was good for seventh in the NFL and a new rookie record.
Luck is much more comfortable in his role of team leader and has a proper mentor in veteran Matt Hasselbeck guiding him. He’s no longer in Peyton Manning’s shadow so expect him to grow by leaps and bounds in Year 2.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (+2,200)
Love him or hate him, Cutler has the potential to light up the NFL’s passing ranks. Injuries and infighting have slowed his progress in past years, but now the Bears have new head coach Marc Trestman, who installs an up-tempo attack and has worked wonders with QBs in the past.
According to Bears’ blog Midway Illustrated, Trestman’s West Coast offense is similar to that of the 2008 Denver Broncos. Cutler threw for 4,526 yards that season, second only to Brees’ 5,000-yard campaign. He has the weapons – Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte – to duplicate those numbers in 2013.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (+1,500)
The Ravens’ 120 million dollar man put his name among the NFL’s elite passers with his poise in the postseason. Flacco threw for 1,140 yards in four playoff games, including 287 yards in the Super Bowl. He attempted 126 passes and averaged more than nine yards per attempt. Those stats are a big jump from his regular season numbers.
You can be damn sure Baltimore is going to squeeze every bit of passing it can out of its big offseason investment in 2013. He loses WR Anquan Boldin but still has two great downfield threats in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, as well as short-yardage beasts in TE Dennis Pitta and RB Ray Rice, who was fourth on the team in receiving last year.
Here's the full list of NFL player prop odds for most passing yards in 2013 (Courtesy of 5Dimes.eu):
Drew Brees +385
Peyton Manning +500
Aaron Rodgers +650
Matthew Stafford +650
Matt Ryan +800
Tom Brady +800
Eli Manning +1200
Andrew Luck +1500
Cam Newton +1500
Joe Flacco +1500
Matt Schaub +1500
Tony Romo +1500
Ben Roethlisberger +2000
Robert Griffin III +2000
Jay Cutler +2200
Russell Wilson +2200
Andy Dalton +2500
Colin Kaepernick +2500
Sam Bradford +2500
Philip Rivers +3000