It’s just the first week of the National Football League season, but there were some games where key players left to concussions. Not only did it affect the outcomes of the opener, but it leaves a blurry picture on trying to handicap week 2 games. The most curious situation is in Philadelphia. Starter Kevin Kolb was knocked out with a concussion. Kolb’s stats were not impressive in the first half. He went 5 of 10 for 24 yards. Michael Vick came in and ignited the offense. He threw for 175 yards and a touchdown and ran for 103 yards. Eagles coach Andy Reid said after the game that Kolb is still the No. 1 quarterback and will return when healthy.
From a handicapping standpoint, it’s going to be crucial to know who’s going to be playing Sunday. This is the rare example where the backup may be more efficient than the starter. With the nature of concussions, it may not be known for sure for Kolb status until very late in the week. The Eagles are a 4 ½-point favorite over the Detroit Lions. With Reid’s stubbornness about who’s the starter, it would make the Eagles less attractive with a struggling Kolb playing.
It could be game of backup quarterbacks. It was to a shoulder injury, not a concussion, but the Lions lost second-year starter Matthew Stafford to a separated shoulder. He will not need surgery. But the start will go to Shaun Hill this week.
The Carolina Panthers, when healthy, have a limited offense. They are only effective when running the ball with sporadic passing. When quarterback Matt Moore went out of the game against the New York Giants with a concussion, it killed just about any chance of a late score and a back-door cover for the Panthers. The Giants went on for the 31-18 win. The backup for the Panthers is Jimmy Clausen. The rookie from Notre Dame came in and was not prepared to mount a comeback. It’s quite possible he will get the start this week. Moore has to pass a series of tests mandated by the league. The Panthers are home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game is off the board until the quarterback situation is cleared up. If Clausen gets the start, be prepared for the Panthers to play even more conservatively than they normally do. Coach John Fox showed confidence in Clausen if he has to start. “That would be my expectation at any position with any backup,” Fox said in a report. “He’s part of the football team and whether it’s injury or whatever, we expect them to step him and do a good job.” But betting sides or totals, the bettor will be more confident once it is determined who will be taking snaps for the Panthers.
Trying to figure out who is starting due to concussions can leave NFL handicappers with a headache.