All of the critics will finally get to see whether or not former Heisman Trophy winner, two-time college national champion and current first-round draft pick Tim Tebow can play QB in the NFL when the Denver Broncos play their preseason opener on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tebow will make his pro debut against the Bengals and another former Heisman winner in Carson Palmer, who struggled in their first game against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game last Sunday.
Cincinnati managed just seven points against the Cowboys, scoring the touchdown in the final minute of the game on a 1-yard pass from Jordan Palmer to Darius Hill. Carson completed 2-of-5 passes for 18 yards – both to new WR Terrell Owens – while brother Jordan was 10-of-20 for 102 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while getting sacked three times for 16 yards.
The timing between Carson and T.O. still needs to be refined, as CB Leon Hall picked off Palmer twice in practice after returning from a back injury on Monday because the duo seems to be locked in on each other too often. It is worth noting that Chad Ocho Cinco did not have a catch in the preseason opener and could start developing a bit of a complex if his new sidekick keeps getting targeted more often than him.
The good news for the Bengals is that their defense has continued to show dominance this preseason following last year’s outstanding campaign that saw them finish with the NFL’s fourth-best unit. They limited Dallas to three field goals before the Cowboys returned one of Jordan’s two picks for their only touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter.
Denver’s quarterback situation is clear for now with Kyle Orton being anointed the starter by head coach Josh McDaniels. But that does not mean it will stay that way, especially with McDaniels using a first-round draft pick on Tebow, who will likely become increasingly involved with the offense. Orton will be the man until the Broncos begin to struggle, which started last year following a stunning 6-0 start. They lost eight of their last 10 games with Orton under center, prompting McDaniels to not only draft Tebow but also pick up Brady Quinn from Cleveland.
Tebow will garner lots of attention and hopes to perform better than the other rookie QBs from this year’s draft have done so far this preseason. Overall #1 pick Sam Bradford struggled for the Rams in a 28-7 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, throwing for 57 yards and getting sacked four times. Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen threw for 80 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception in a 17-12 setback at Baltimore. Cleveland’s Colt McCoy actually played for a winner in a 27-24 upset of Green Bay but threw for only 25 yards and had two interceptions before leaving the game with a hand injury after banging it on the helmet of one of his teammates.
To make matters worse for Denver, the team needs to find somebody to run the ball with Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter out with injuries. The Broncos signed former Raider Justin Fargas to help fill that hole which becomes even deeper because Lendell White is facing a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season. The running game used to be Denver’s staple and provided offensive balance for Hall of Fame QB John Elway en route to winning back-to-back Super Bowl titles. Tebow might be utilized in this capacity, but there is no doubt that the passing game for the Broncos will continue to struggle if they can’t effectively run the ball.
At the current NFL betting line of -3.5, the Bengals look like a decent play. We haven’t decided if we are going to get involved in this game yet, but one would have to think if this line goes to -3 at most shops, we are going to be on the Bengals. You can get signed up for our NFL sports picks anytime. Predictions come from guys that make their living betting the same games they are selling.