Since I am already suffering from withdrawal when it comes to football, I feel I must write something on the big NFL news of the offseason thus far: quarterback Donovan McNabb being traded this week from the Eagles to the division-rival Redskins.
Do I think the Eagles are crazy for trading McNabb inside the NFC East? And to the one team in the division that was quarterback-hungry? I very much do. And I don’t buy the nonsense that Philly did it out of respect for McNabb because he didn’t want to play in Buffalo or Oakland. I think the Eagles got the best offer from the Skins and decided they didn’t think McNabb could hurt them at this point in his career. I also think that the Eagles didn’t want to pay a soon-to-be 34-year-old McNabb a $6.5 million roster bonus next month because they believe Kevin Kolb proved in his two starts early last season that he was ready to run the team.
With that said, Bodog has released a few 2010 futures props on the new-look Eagles and Redskins, so let’s take a quick look at them and the best bet on each:
McNabb’s total 2010 passing yards: over/under 3,500
McNabb total 2010 passing touchdowns: over/under 20.5
I think the under 3,500 yards is a dead-solid lock. Washington’s offensive line was one of the worst in the league last year. True, the Skins can now take an offensive lineman with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft now that they aren’t likely to take a quarterback there, but that line still needs a lot of work.
In addition, everyone thinks the Skins will throw more under new coach Mike Shanahan. But while Shanahan was with the Broncos from 1995-2008, Denver had 11 individual 1,000-yard rushing seasons (third in the league). The Broncos ranked among the NFLs top five in rushing during 10 of his 14 seasons, and 16 different running backs posted at least one 100-yard rushing game in the regular season or playoffs, most of any other team. Don’t forget that Washington added both Willie Parker and Larry Johnson this offseason and that Clinton Portis should be 100 percent healthy by the start of the season.
McNabb did throw for 3,553 yards this past season, but that was with DeSean Jackson making big play after big play and with other offensive threats like Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook (when healthy). The Skins don’t have those type of weapons right now. McNabb managed to play in 14 games in 2009, but that might be the exception to the rule. From 2005-07 he played in only a total of 14 games in one season. I don’t see how he stays healthy enough to hit 3,500 yards or more than 20 TDs.
Kevin Kolb total 2010 passing yards over/under 3,750
Kevin Kolb total 2010 passing touchdowns over/under 22.5
Wow, oddsmakers sure do have a lot of confidence in a guy with two career starts. The oddsmakers’ faith probably comes from the fact that Kolb threw for 391 yards in Week 2 of the 2009 season against New Orleans and then 327 against the Chiefs in Week 3 to become the first NFL quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards in his first two starts. But don’t get too excited about that, as the Eagles were getting pounded by the Saints and a lot of those yards were when the team gave up running the ball in an attempt to catch up. Kolb had three picks in that game. And it’s not like Kansas City had a stellar defense last year. Plus both games were played in Philly.
A total of 12 NFL quarterbacks threw for more than 3,750 yards last season, and that same number (although not the exact same 12) exceeded 23 touchdowns. With McCoy and Mike Bell in the backfield, I tend to think the Eagles run a bit more in 2010. Thus I would take the under on both of those Bodog props as well. We’ll see how Kolb does in those cold-weather games, not to mention on the road.
First regular season game between Eagles and Redskins who will have more passing yards and TDs?
Donovan McNabb +10.5 yards
Kevin Kolb -10.5 yards
McNabb/Kolb -115 on TDs
I wouldn’t bother with this bet until you see where the first game is played, which we should find out this month. If it’s in Washington, one would have to lean toward McNabb – but then again he might want to stick it to Philly fans there as well. But there are too many variables to bet here without knowing when and where the first game is, etc.