NFL Preseason Betting – Bills’ QB Hopefuls Set to Battle Carolina
Zack GarrisonNo comments
New Buffalo head coach Rex Ryan finds himself in a familiar predicament heading into the season: his team boasts a tremendous defense and a tremendous problem at quarterback. Ryan will get his first chance to assess his unenviable host of QB hopefuls tonight when the Bills host the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium (7:00 PM Eastern).
Ryan tapped Matt Cassel as the starter for tonight’s game. Somewhat surprisingly, Tyrod Taylor is listed as the backup, while last year’s opening day starter, EJ Manuel, has been relegated to third on the depth chart. If the third-year pivot can’t find his way back into the starting role by the end of the season – or at least solidify himself as a solid number-two option – his career may be over before it began.
Cassel effectively won the battle for the starting spot (to date) based on past performance. (He’s the only one of the three to lead a team to a winning season in the NFL.) None of the three QBs impressed Ryan in camp, and he was left with little else to go on.
“Maybe I was looking for a little separation, or someone to rise to the occasion, but that really didn’t happen,” Ryan said to the Democrat Chronicle. “Everybody had their moments. I thought EJ had the best of the scrimmage, today it was clearly Cassel, and the previous two days it was Tyrod. I’m looking for that consistent guy that’s going to be at the top each time out. I’m patient; we haven’t even gotten to a preseason game. I expected this to draw out a little bit, and to be fair, the big thing is to be fair and get the right guy, make the right decision.”
The Carolina Panthers, meanwhile, will have massive expectations of their starting QB, Cam Newton, in 2015. The team inked Newton to an extremely lucrative contract extension in the offseason ($130 M over five years) in hopes that the Auburn product will lead them to the promised land.
Newton will start and play at least a series tonight, but then Derek Anderson and Joe Webb will take over in order to protect the franchise player, who suffered through much of last season with a fractured rib.
Newton will once again be sporting a little extra protection to his torso when the preseason starts. “The one thing you can always tell when you look at his pads is that you’ll see the underlining that he’s got it all on,” said Carolina head coach Ron Rivera about Newton’s extra rib padding. “He will [wear it] once we get into the games.”
If you’re looking to wager on tonight’s game, know that Rex Ryan is 11-13 during the preseason and just 1-5 during Week 1, while Ron Riveira is a model of consistency at 8-8 overall and 2-2 in Week 1. The Buffalo QBs will have all the incentive in the world to play hard and play well. That said, there’s a reason Ryan hasn’t been able to decided on a starter – none of them actually are playing well. Look for a Newton to play well on the first series and a loose Derek Anderson to outdo his Buffalo counterparts.
Pick: Panthers (+3).