Ranking The top Quarterbacks
THE NFL REPORT: WE RANK THE LEAGUE'S TOP DOZEN QUARTERBACKS IN TERMS OF WHO'S WORTH WHAT VERSUS THE VEGAS SPREAD
PLUS OUR BASEBALL NOTEBOOK FEATURES WEEKEND'S BEST MATCHUPS
There's been lots of quarterback talk in/around the start of these 2016 National Football League ...
The New York Jets' singing of veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (one-year, $12 million) was "breaking news" all 'round the Big Apple this steamy week and now comes word that first-year Cleveland Browns' head coach Hue Jackson is set to name a definite starting signal-caller and - more likely than not - his name is Robert Griffin III.
But we wanted to stop the presses on the quarterback-driven league in these early dog days of training camp and look at who we believe are the top dozen QBs when it comes to what they're worth against the spread, so here goes in reverse order:
#12. PHILIP RIVERS, San Diego - Last season's Chargers missed the post-season for the second straight year but don't blame Rivers (29 TD, 13 INT) who finished second in the league in passing yards (4,792 yards).
Rivers Worth: 1 point
#11. JAMEIS WINSTON, Tampa Bay - This second-year pro threw for more than 4,000 yards a year ago (okay, 4,042) and he could be catapulting up this top list faster than you can say crab legs.
Winston Worth: 1 point
#10. CARSON PALMER, Arizona - Disregard that shoddy showing in last year's 49-15 NFC Championship Game loss at Carolina and consider the 35-TD, 11-INT mark in the 2015 regular season.
Palmer Worth ... 1.5 Points
#9. MATTHEW STAFFORD, Detroit - Plenty of critics like to lay the blame for the Lions' inability to win a playoff game in eons but no running game means Stafford is the center of attention at all times.
Stafford Worth: 2 points
#8. ELI MANNING, New York Giants - Fact of matter is this two-time Super Bowl winner comes off back-to-back superb seasons (35 TD, 14 TD last year) and is the best QB to play in NYC since Phil Simms.
Manning Worth: 2.5 points
#7. ANDREW LUCK, Indianapolis ... Before you go jumping out of your E-Z chair, keep in mind Luck only played a handful of games last year and his one trip to a conference title game was a 45-7 "deflating" loss.
Luck Worth: 2.5 points
#6. DREW BREES, New Orleans - The grizzled vet of the Saints may be inching closer and closer to the big 4-oh but he remains a needle-mover when it comes to the all-important pointspread.
Brees Worth ... 3 points
#5. RUSSELL WILSON, Seattle - This multi-dimensional quarterback deserves more credit for his aerial skills (34 TD, 8 INTs last year) and nobody here at Jim Sez will be shocked if this just-married dude makes a run at league MVP honors.
Wilson Worth ... 3 Points
#4. CAM NEWTON, Carolina - Last year's league Most Valuable Player gets shunted back a few spaces here even though he was the ultimate fantasy league quarterback a year ago (see 35 TDs passing, 10 TDs rushing).
Newton Worth ... 3 points
#3. BEN ROETHLISBERGER, Pittsburgh - No kidding this long-time Steelers' slinger still gets overlooked when ranking the worth of starting quarterbacks but he could be MVP this year if he can only stay in one piece.
Roethlisberger Worth ... 3.5 Points
#2. AARON RODGERS, Green Bay - Had to go all the way to 17th-place to find this name on the list of NFL passing yard leaders last year but we all know better than that!
Rodgers Worth ... 3.5 points
#1. TOM BRADY, New England - It'll be particularly interesting to see how the Patriots' betting lines will look on game days in weeks one-thru-four with this four-time Super Bowl champ suspended.
Brady Worth ... 4 points
BASEBALL'S BEST WEEKEND MATCHUPS
In the National League ...ST. LOUIS (55-47) at MIAMI (55-47) - Fri, Sat & Sun
Score Round I of this four-game extended four-game set for the never-say-die Redbirds who beat RHP Jose Fernandez last night 5-4 and thus drop the All-Star hurler to 26-2 in Marlins Park for his career. St. Louis - fresh off taking two-of-three at the New York Mets this past Tuesday/Wednesday - won't have ace Adam Wainwright on the hill this weekend but still could be cracking it hard at the plate after banging out five extra-base hits last night. Hey, when will Miami OF/PH Ichiro Suzuki get his 3,000th hit ... he's just two away.
In the American League ...BALTIMORE (58-43) at TORONTO (57-45) - Fri, Sat & Sun
There could be some serious movin-and-shakin' atop the AL East this summer weekend as the visiting Orioles enter this set with a 1.5-game lead over the Blue Jays - if the North-of-the-Border crew gets some key hits from born-again 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson (.411 OBP and 86 runs scored) than Buck Showalter's club could be looking up at Toronto come end of July.
NFL PRESEASON COMIN' SOON AND WE HAVE SOME EARLY TIPS
Okay, folks, so now we're just a full week away from the 2016 NFL Preseason opener - a/k/a the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton (OH) this time between the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers - and then four full weeks of Preseason games will follow and so let's spend today's column space on some teams that may be "plays" and some that are "play againsts" this summer ... and we'll also tell you why:
P.S., the Las Vegas numbers-crunchers have this Colts-Packers clash at Pick 'Em with a totals price of 35.5 points.
Meanwhile, we always like to check out teams that are "on the rise" and believe they will be solid plays come the Preseason and among the teams that fit the bill here are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders - all of the above have "feel good" stories going on these days and all are expected to make runs to the post-season this year and so our early-bird ideals say the Bucs, Jags and Raiders will "cash" plenty come the Preseason.
On the flip side, we always tend to "go against" veteran teams/coaches that don't believe they have anything to play for in these summer-time exhibition games and among the go-against sides are the Cincinnati Bengals, the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers - really, what do these three teams have to gain by playing well in the preseason and what gives you the idea they'll be playing all-out in any of these August/September games?
Finally, if you want one more "handicapping tip" then consider betting on head coaches that are feeling some pressure to win this year - normally, it would be a good idea to start the winning in the summer games and so the likes of Buffalo's Rex Ryan and Detroit's Jim Caldwell figure to be solid bets in these preseason games while first-year head coaches Chip Kelly in San Francisco and New York Giants' rookie boss Ben McAdoo may well be in the "something to prove" mode too.