Who Will Win the Quarterback Battles Across the League

Quarterback Battles

Two weeks of the preseason are officially in the books, which means the quarterback battles are coming to a close. Choosing the right option under center is the most important choice any team can make heading into the regular season, and there are quite a few teams with questions at the game’s most important position. With only one preseason game to go, let’s take a look at the biggest competitions across the league.

Predicting the Winners of the NFL’s Quarterback Battles

Teddy Bridgewater vs Drew Lock

Most of these quarterback battles have a clear favorite, but this one genuinely could go either way. Bridgewater and Lock are both replacement-level passers with completely different styles of quarterbacking. Lock is an erratic, highly volatile passer capable of making some of the best and worst plays you will ever see. Bridgewater, meanwhile, is exactly as good as his supporting cast, and his conservative style of play isn’t going to win or lose too many games on its own.

Camp reports suggest that Lock and Bridgewater have performed equally well, and the preseason film confirms that assessment. With both quarterbacks playing at a similar level, the coaching staff will probably let play style be the tiebreaker.

In that regard, Teddy Bridgewater is probably a better fit for Denver’s current roster. The Broncos have a fantastic secondary and a great cast of offensive weapons. They should put up a strong fight in all 17 games, which means that they just need a quarterback capable of avoiding big mistakes and keeping the chains moving.

Prediction: Bridgewater starts

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Jameis Winston vs Taysom Hill

Speaking of quarterbacks with dramatically different playing styles, Jameis Winston appears to have taken a massive lead over Taysom Hill. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer absolutely dominated during Monday’s action, completing nine of his 10 attempts for 123 yards (12.3 YPA), two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Hill, meanwhile, struggled to do much of anything against the second- and third-string defenses.

Nobody loves Taysom Hill more than Sean Payton, but Winston is clearly the superior option. The former first-overall pick should get the starting job, but that doesn’t mean Hill won’t see the field. Payton is still going to have special packages for the dual-threat quarterback that he’ll likely use in short-yardage and red-zone packages. 

Prediction: Winston starts

Jimmy Garoppolo vs Trey Lance 

Kyle Shanahan said that Jimmy Garoppolo is still the starting quarterback for the time being, but he didn’t name him as the Week 1 starter. With the regular season just weeks away, could Lance unseat Garoppolo?

It’s possible, but it sure isn’t likely. Lance has had his fair share of highlight moments in the preseason, but his play-to-play consistency leaves something to be desired. This isn’t all that surprising, as Lance missed the vast majority of the 2020 season and only had one year of starting experience. It would be surprising if he wasn’t rusty, and the best thing for him is to start the season on the bench. The big plays are already there, Lance just needs some time to learn how to string them all together.

Prediction: Garoppolo starts 

Cam Newton vs Mac Jones

Mac Jones has been fantastic through two preseason games, but Bill Belichick has exclusively played Newton with the first-team offense. Because of this, Jones doesn’t stand much of a shot at the starting job…or, at least, that was the case before Newton accidentally violated COVID protocols.

With Newton off the practice field for five days, Jones has a chance to show what he can do against first-team competition. It won’t be easy for Jones to steal the job in that limited time, but it is possible. For what it’s worth, Jones didn’t set the world on fire in his first day without Newton. Perhaps this can improve in time, but the game might still be a little too fast for him.

Prediction: Newton starts

Andy Dalton vs Justin Fields

After spending the entire offseason working with the second-team offense, Justin Fields is getting the start for Chicago’s third preseason game. Of course, the only reason Nagy made this choice is because Dalton is the Week 1 starter and needs the rest.

Could a good Justin Fields if performance change Nagy’s mind? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Throughout the offseason, the Chicago Bears head coach has never wavered in his loyalty for the veteran quarterback. Fields is the better player and will see the field sooner rather than later, but it won’t happen in Week 1.

Prediction: Dalton starts

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