There will be more than a few backup quarterbacks starting this week around the NFL, but probably the most intriguing one is with Philadelphia where Nick Foles, a third-round rookie out of Arizona, will be the guy under center at the Washington Redskins. Michael Vick suffered yet another injury in last week’s loss to Dallas, the Eagles’ fifth straight defeat. It was called a “significant” concussion that could keep Vick out multiple weeks.
You hear whispers that embattled coach Andy Reid has wanted to see what Foles has had for a while now – a few weeks ago after a loss to Atlanta, Reid immediately refused to endorse Vick as his starter. Vick is simply too brittle to count on these days, and he has been very turnover prone in 2012 with nine picks and four lost fumbles. It seems like most of those come as the Eagles are about to score. Foles was 22-of-32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and a pick last week against the Cowboys in his first regular-season action.
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I will get to Foles’ “over/under” totals for this week shortly, but let’s look at a Bovada prop on where Vick is playing in Week 1 of 2013. The 3-6 Eagles are clearly going to miss the playoffs again this season barring a seven-game winning streak. Thus Reid is a goner if owner Jeffrey Lurie sticks to what he said before this season – i.e. Reid had to make the postseason. Vick’s future is probably tied to Reid’s, and the QB will be 33 next season. If you are a pure pocket passer who can get off quick, accurate throws and avoid punishment like a Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Tom Brady, then you can play into your late 30s.
But Vick isn’t that type of quarterback. He has completed more than 60 percent of his passes in just one season. He is running less than he used to, but perhaps no quarterback in the NFL takes more punishment. It’s not all his fault as the Philly offensive line is terrible, but it’s likely time for the Iggles to reboot in 2013. Vick’s salary is $15.5 million for next season, but only $3 million is guaranteed and that’s for injury only. According to NFL.com, if Vick is on the Eagles' roster on the second day of the 2013 waiver period, which is usually two days after the Super Bowl, the $3 million will become fully guaranteed.
The favorite as to where Vick will be next year? At 5/2, it’s not on an NFL roster. I think that’s unrealistic and am shocked it’s the favorite. Every NFL coach has the ego of thinking he can fix anyone. At worst, Vick can be a good backup.
The Buffalo Bills are the 3/1 favorites among the teams listed. I wrote on a Bovada special recently on whether the Bills would take a QB in the first round of the 2013 draft, and I thought that would be true. But what’s the point of having Vick as your bridge to the next QB? Current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick is better-suited to that. Don’t like the Bills as a landing point.
The Arizona Cardinals are 5/1. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Vick landed there? Philly traded its former future quarterback, Kevin Kolb, to the Cardinals before the 2011 season because of Vick’s emergence. But Kolb can’t stay on the field and hasn’t been very good when he has. That sounds like Vick in 2012. No dice here.
The Jets are at 11/2 and it would be terrific tabloid fodder if Vick landed in the Big Apple. Mark Sanchez must have some incriminating photos of head coach Rex Ryan, because for some reason Rex will not pull the struggling Sanchez. Clearly the team doesn’t believe Tim Tebow is the answer. Bringing in Vick would add to the circus atmosphere of the team and that’s the last thing Ryan needs.
The Jaguars and Eagles are both 6/1, and the Jags make some sense. They badly need some buzz to get fannies in the seats, although trading for native son Tebow would do that. Vick could be a nice backup/co-starter with struggling youngster Blaine Gabbert. As for the Eagles, you know my thoughts there.
The last option is Kansas City at 7/1. Another intriguing possibility as I don’t see how Kansas City doesn’t take a quarterback very early in this year’s draft. Maybe K.C. doesn’t like Matt Barkley or Geno Smith at No. 1 overall (or No. 2) and decides to wait until the second round. Vick could be a one-year placeholder and give Chiefs fans a reason to care. Clearly Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn won’t be back, so I might roll the dice on the Chiefs here.
As for Foles, his totals are set at 250.5 passing yards (“under” -125 favorite), 1.5 touchdown passes (under -140 favorite) and .5 interceptions (“over” -225 favorite). Washington isn’t good against the pass, ranking No. 30 in yards allowed and tied for 31st in TD passes. The Skins haven’t faced a rookie QB this season but did play against Minnesota’s Christian Ponder, a second-year player. In that game, Ponder threw for 352 yards, two scores and two picks. All were season-highs, with the TDs and picks being matched in a few other games. I could see Foles putting up 270/2/2 so take the over on all.
There is one other totals prop on a backup this week: Pittsburgh’s Byron Leftwich against Baltimore. He makes his first start in three years with Ben Roethlisberger likely out multiple weeks. The veteran Leftwich saw his first action of 2012 last week vs. Kansas City in place of the injured Big Ben. Leftwich was 7-of-14 for 63 yards. Normally you would never bet on a backup QB against the Ravens, but these aren’t your older brother’s Ravens as their defense is No. 25 overall and No. 26 against the pass.
But Leftwich is a statue at this point in his career and will be dinking-and-dunking all day. His totals are 235.5 passing yards, 1 TD pass (under -130 favorite) and .5 interceptions (over -200 favorite). Take the under yardage (I’d be shocked if he hits 200) and touchdowns (probably a push) and the over picks.
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