Some quarterback changes don’t pan out

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Perhaps the biggest early season story is the number of QB changes being made either because of injury or performance. Most are due to the unusually high number of early season injuries that have sidelined starters for teams including Carolina, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Jacksonville and the Jets. Poor performance has resulted in the Giants benching Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones.

Including the retirement of Andrew Luck, nearly a quarter of NFL teams are relying on QBs other than the ones projected at the start of training camp.

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Some have performed quite well, including Jacoby Brissett for the Colts and rookie Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville. Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph has shown potential replacing Ben Roethlisberger. As each gets more comfortable in running their offenses there may be value in backing those teams, especially as underdogs.

Sunday

Browns +7 at Ravens: Cleveland continues to be plagued by penalties and poor coaching decisions and must be considered a major early-season disappointment.

Here the Ravens step down in class following a loss. Even in defeat and trailing for much of the game the Ravens rushed for 203 yards in KC and are averaging 217 for the season. Their defense is allowing 60 rushing yards per game and Cleveland’s offense averages just 89. RAVENS

Redskins +3 at Giants: The Giants got a much-needed burst of energy by inserting Jones as a starter last week and he led the G-men to a 32-31 win in Tampa despite trailing by 18 at the half.

Now its Washington with QB issues as to when rookie Dwayne Haskins will replace Case Keenum. Washington lacked energy in Monday’s home loss to the Bears as the offense committed five turnovers. GIANTS

Chiefs -6.5 at Lions: Detroit appears much improved this season with wins over a pair of teams that made the playoffs last season (Eagles and Chargers). The Chiefs are playing their third road game in four weeks.

It’s easy to make a case for the Chiefs every week with their prolific offense that can strike quickly and repeatedly. With a Bye next week the Lions should be well prepared for this challenge. LIONS

Patriots -7 at Bills: The Pats lead the NFL in allowing just 199 yards per game. Buffalo’s defense has been its strength in recent seasons but second-season QB Josh Allen is developing nicely.

Complemented by a running game averaging 151 yds the Bills have the balance to keep this a one possession game. BILLS

Titans +4 at Falcons: Tennessee has extra rest following last Thursday’s loss at Jacksonville but is playing its third road game in four weeks. Atlanta lost both road games and won at home, a familiar pattern. FALCONS

Monday

Bengals +4 at Steelers: Both teams are 0-3 and in desperate need of a win lest they be in a position to need to go 10-2 or 9-3 at the worst to have a shot at making the playoffs.

While much of the Steelers’ poor start can be attributed to the lack of offense their usually formidable defense has performed much worse than expected.

Whether the Bengals can take advantage remains questionable. STEELERS

Last week: 5-1

Season: 10-8

 

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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