It frankly doesn’t much matter who the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback will be this season as the team is going to be lousy again. Maybe not 1-15 bad like 2016, but bad. The Browns are having a quarterback battle in camp and the preseason, and you can bet on the winner between Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer.
Heading into the preseason the favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com was second-year Kessler at -165, but it appears he’s the odd-man out in the three-man derby despite starting eight games a season ago. Osweiler, acquired in a salary-dump trade from Houston this offseason, started the preseason opener on August 10, a 20-14 win over the Saints. He played into the second quarter and was 6-for-14 for 42 yards.
Kessler relieved him in the second and was 5-for-10 for 47 yards. Kizer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, played the entire second half and was 11-for-18 for 184 yards and a touchdown.
So while Kizer had clearly the best numbers, keep in mind that it came against third- and fourth-stringers and that Kizer is considered a project. Thus he was at +800 on this prop to start Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh. Osweiler was +130, but he has been getting the majority of the first-team reps in practice and will start the team’s second preseason game as well.
Cleveland’s best player, left tackle Joe Thomas, said this week that he believes Coach Hue Jackson is preparing Osweiler to start against the Steelers. If so, Osweiler would be the team’s 27th different starting QB since 1999.
The New England Patriots proved last year they didn’t need Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski to win the Super Bowl. “Gronk” is one of the best receiving tight ends in NFL history with 76 touchdown catches in just 88 regular-season games. The only knock on Gronkowski is his health. He played all 16 games in 2010 and 2011, his first two seasons, but hasn’t since. He was limited to eight last year due to a ruptured disc in his back that required surgery.
Since 2012, Gronkowski has broken his forearm (requiring four separate surgeries), torn his ACL and had another surgery on his back. On the NFL odds, Gronk is given an over/under of 10.5 games played this year, with the over a -150 favorite.
Finally, who will be this year’s Defensive Player of the Year? Houston’s J.J. Watt has won it three times in his career, tying Giants Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor for the most. Watt is +250 to win No. 4 and is healthy after being limited to three games in 2016 due to back surgery of his own.
Oakland’s Khalil Mack, last year’s winner, is +400 along with Denver’s Von Miller, the 2016 runner-up to Mack. Could a rookie win this award? Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick, is +4000.