Last Sunday, six teams changed quarterbacks from the previous week. Two of them chose the move, the New York Giants inserting top draft choice Daniel Jones to replace longtime starter Eli Manning, and the Miami Dolphins sitting Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of Josh Rosen.
Four teams were forced into a move due to an injury to their starter. Without Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers turned to undrafted and second year pro Kyle Allen, who promptly tossed four touchdowns for Carolina in a 38-20 road win over the Arizona Cardinals. The New York Jets were using their third string quarterback after Sam Darnold was out with sickness and Trevor Siemian was sidelined with an injury. Luke Falk, who was a sixth round draft choice of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, made the start for the Jets in a loss, but point spread cover, against the New England Patriots.
In second week play, two NFL stars at their positions went down with injuries as Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers were knocked out of action. Brees is lost for probably as much as two months with a hand injury, while Roethlisberger is gone of the year with a surgically repaired elbow.
This week, the Saints started Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback for their road game against the Seattle Seahawks, and the Steelers also played on the west coast with Mason Rudolph getting the start behind center for Pittsburgh against the San Francisco 49ers.
How did the replacement quarterbacks do in their first week out?
Very well, indeed. The Panthers, Saints, and the Giants won straight-up in road games, and two other teams with new quarterbacks beat the point spread in straight-up losses, the Jets and Steelers. Only the Miami Dolphins, of course the Dolphins, lost both straight-up and against the spread with a new quarterback behind center.
What does this mean for Week Four action?
A team will get a motivational boost when they need to play while compensating for the loss of their starting quarterback, as did the four teams who beat the point spread last week with their season starting quarterback out with an injury. This is textbook motivation, as is their problems in the game following a win in the signal callers’ initial start.
In other words, the two teams that won straight-up with a backup behind center, the Saints and Panthers, replace the motivational boost to compensate for the loss of their starter with the confidence that they can win with the backup. That makes a wager on either the Saints or Panthers a low proposition play this week.
Yet, we know that the Saints are a quality team on both sides of the ball, and while hosting the Dallas Cowboys this week will have no letdown as a home team underdog against a quality opponent.
But the Panthers, who are out on the road and still celebrating the four touchdowns Allen tossed last week, are, well simply over-matched by a Houston team that has put back-to-back wins together since their narrow opening Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints.
With Cam Newton behind center, the Panthers lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago. Then they get an underdog role against the Cardinals in Arizona with a new quarterback and took advantage of that sweet spot with a road win. Now, they show up in Houston, without the initial motivation to compensate for the loss of Newton, and against a Houston team geared to play well as they look to keep pace for the top spot in the AFC South Division race.
Qoxhi Picks: Houston Texans (-4½) over Carolina Panthers