Is Jay Cutler better than Eli Manning? Would you rather have Nick Foles or Andy Dalton? These types of argument occur in sports bars all the time. There's no right answer. But BetOnline offers some head-to-head props among QBs for the 2014 season.
Tom Brady +1.5 TD passes vs. Matthew Stafford
Brady is the -125 favorite on NFL odds with Stafford at -105, and I couldn't disagree more. If you want to win a Super Bowl you still have to take Brady over Stafford, but Brady's numbers are trending downward. He had only 25 touchdown passes in 2013. True, Rob Gronkowski missed much of the season, but can you really count on him? Stafford plays in a dome and has a vast array of offensive weapons around him, led by the incomparable Calvin Johnson. Stafford had 29 TD passes last year and I expect at least 35 in 2014. I'd take him at -5.5 on this prop.
NFL Pick: Stafford.
Matt Ryan +1 TD passes vs. Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is the -180 favorite with Ryan at +150. Ryan's career high is 32 touchdowns, which was set in 2012. He dropped to 26 a year ago when the Falcons lost star receiver Julio Jones for most of the season. He's healthy now, although tight end Tony Gonzalez is no longer around. Rodgers had 39 TDs in 2012, his last healthy year. A career-high 45 the year before that. Will the Packers run a bit more this year with 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy? For sure, but Rodgers still seems good for 35.
NFL Pick: Rodgers.
Eli Manning +2.5 TD passes vs. Jay Cutler
Cutler is the -145 favorite with Manning at +115. Manning had a terrible 2013 season, throwing only 18 TDs and a career-high 27 picks. But Manning has also proven incredibly durable. Does Cutler play in a much better offense? No doubt. But his career high in TD passes is only 27, and he hasn't sniffed that the past three years while dealing with injuries. You can't count on him staying healthy.
NFL Pick: Manning.
Ryan Tannehill +1.5 TD passes vs. Joe Flacco
Flacco is the -125 favorite with Tannehill at -105. It's hard to know what either of these guys will do in 2014. Flacco took a gigantic step back last year and has never been a huge touchdown guy, with a high of 25 in 2010. Tannehill had 24 TD passes last year which is very impressive considering he was sacked by far more than any other quarterback. That Dolphins line looks better -- it can't be worse. Tannehill might be ready for his breakout season.
NFL Pick: Tannehill.
Andy Dalton +.5 TD passes vs. Nick Foles
Foles is the -120 favorite with Dalton at -110. Foles threw 27 touchdowns last season in 13 games (11 starts) and he plays in an up-tempo offense that is going to give him plenty of chances (i.e. plays). It's also a run-based offense, and Foles lost his best receiver in DeSean Jackson. Foles will regress some this year. Dalton's TD passes have risen each year to last season's 33. He also has a stud receiver in A.J. Green, who should grab 12-14 by himself.
NFL Pick: Dalton.
Russell Wilson +2 TD passes vs. Ben Roethlisberger
Wilson is the -140 favorite with Roethlisberger at +110. The Seahawks are going to run the ball a ton, but Wilson quietly has had 26 TD passes in each of his first two seasons. His receivers are a bit concerning only that Percy Harvin seems incapable of playing a full season. Big Ben had 28 last year, the second most of his career. He also usually misses at least a couple of games a season.
NFL Pick: Wilson.
Colin Kaepernick +1 TD passes vs. Robert Griffin III
Kaepernick is the -125 favorite with RGIII at -105. Perfect they paired these two dual-threat QBs. San Francisco might run the ball more than any team in the NFL. Kaepernick isn't super accurate and had only 21 TD passes last year but has some nice weapons in Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. RGII has a new playmate in DeSean Jackson. However, Griffin hasn't looked great this preseason and his style of play seems to hint he will never last all 16 games.
NFL Pick: Kaepernick.
Tony Romo +1 TD passes vs. Philip Rivers
Romo is the -120 favorite with Rivers at -110. Romo had 31 scores last year in 15 games and has one of the NFL's best receivers in Dez Bryant. Romo is also coming off major back surgery. Rivers has 32 scores in 2013, his most since 2008, and the Chargers lost offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
NFL Pick: Romo, because the Dallas defense looks so bad that Romo will get a lot of garbage yards and TDs.
Drew Brees +4.5 TD passes vs. Peyton Manning
We saved the best matchup for last. Drew Brees is the -140 favorite with Peyton Manning at +110. Brees seems a lock for at least 40 because that's where he's been the past three seasons (well, 39 in 2013) without signs of slowing down. This Saints offense might be his best yet. Brees also gets to play in the dome. Manning had those record 55 TD passes a year ago, but I expect at least 20 percent regression. He also could sit a late-season game if Denver has clinched the AFC's top seed.
NFL Pick: This should be close, but Brees.