Probing Upcoming Quarterback Benchings

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I’ve been amazed lately to see how money has been bet on poor teams over the last month in the NFL. There have been several examples of this and two just happened in week six with Tampa Bay against the Baltimore Ravens and the 49ers against the Rams.

How on Earth people would bet on these teams just blew my mind away. Tampa Bay’s money was masked a little bit because of their miracle win against Pittsburgh and battle against New Orleans. But even in those games there were signs that a drubbing was forthcoming against Baltimore. Against Pittsburgh they jumped out to a fortunate 10-0 lead thanks to an early Big Ben turnover. That lead quickly evaporated and could have been sealed if Antonio Brown held onto a deep ball off a flea flicker.

Against the Saints they were down double digits, regained the lead by double digits, and lost in overtime.

St. Louis was drubbed opening day by Minnesota, blew a lead to Dallas, and were spanked again by the Eagles even though the final score didn’t indicate that. Sure, San Francisco had been kicking more field goals than scoring touchdowns, but they were due to handle a pour Rams defense and did so.

Over the next three to four weeks a prime area to look for a gained edge on the books is at the quarterback position. Jobs are on the line in the coaching ranks and the first place coaches look to go for a shake up is at quarterback. Buffalo pulled this off earlier than anticipated by benching EJ Manuel for Kyle Orton.

Other shake ups are already being discussed as in New York with Geno Smith and Mike Vick. Oddsmakers have already adjusted their lines based on Smith’s play and the inevitable benching upcoming.

That’s not where I want you to go for line value. We want to look at quarterback situations not being discussed and where point spreads have not been affected because of this.

Here are the teams I believe value against is high on the point spread barometer over the course of the next several weeks.

**Houston- The Texans woes at quarterback with Ryan Fitzpatrick have been masked because of their opportunistic defense. Their defense is not playing at a high level but is somehow getting fortunate breaks via fumbles, interceptions, or special teams. Against Washington they blocked a punt for a td, against Dallas they got redzone turnovers, and against Indianapolis they got a JJ Watt recovery for a touchdown. It’s all going to come crashing down as that style just doesn’t hold up. Fitzpatrick has struggled mightily and the Ryan Mallet era is just a matter of time under first year head coach, Bill O’Brien.

**Arizona- Arizona is another team that’s record looks fantastic at 4-1. They’ve held up thanks to a great fan base and big plays from the receiver position and Andre Ellington. But they’re also one of the few teams in the NFL that has battled through injuries, suspensions, and season-ending injuries well. Carson Palmer’s injury is something that doesn’t just go away. He’ll be evaluated on a week to week basis. Drew Stanton was said to be able to go Sunday after being cleared from a concussion suffered against Denver. At Palmer’s age and injury history and with Stanton’s concussion history, Arizona’s hot start might be one to fade ATS.

**Tennessee- Jake Locker’s time as a starter I believe is in its last stage. If it’s not his health it’s his inconsistent play on the field that leaves his future in jeopardy. I was actually impressed with the way Charlie Whitehurst played against the Jaguars this past week. That’s not saying a whole lot but the separation from starter and backup is of the smallest of margins on the Titans.

**Miami- Miami seems to be one of those teams that can’t get over the quarterback hurdle. Ryan Tannehill has had his fine moments but does not seem to have the skill set to play a complete game. Mike Wallace seems frustrated on the field because of Tannehill’s inconsistencies. Three games ago whispers were that Miami thought about benching Tannehill for Matt Moore. After a tough loss to Green Bay it’ll be interesting to see how Tannehill responds this week.


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