NFL - Carson Wentz Healthy Enough To Return Week 3

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TwinSpires Staff

September 17th, 2018

by BetAmerica Staff
He's back. Carson Wentz has been cleared to resume his rightful place as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, and this news could not come at a better time for the team. Philaeldphia just lost in embarrassing fashion to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, and need something to lift them up. They have it. Wentz healthy, starting under center, and launching footballs should do the trick.

The tough part about this whole situation is where it puts Nick Foles. We can't definitely utter the phrase, "the Eagles can't win without Carson Wentz" because they already have. Nick Foles will forever be remembered fondly by Eagles fans, and he deserves to be. Not only did he earn Super Bowl MVP honors and deliver an elusive championship to the City of Brotherly Love, Foles also stayed. He didn't try to cash in. He didn't force a trade. He didn't try to hold the team hostage. He did everything right. Unfortunately, he hasn't been good enough as a place holder through the 2018 campaign.

The sample size is unfairly small, but the Eagles are managing just 322.0 yards per game (24th) and just 19.9 points (25th). This is a far cry from the team that blasted opponents for 365.8 yards per game and 28.6 points (3rd) last season. Foles in particular has been unremarkable. He's produced just one passing touchdown and averaged a 78.9 rating that has him ranked 24th in the league (to be fair, he's sandwiched between Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo). There's no question that Foles is the lesser of the two quarterbacks, and with Wentz healthy enough to start, there's new light for Philadelphia's offense.

Wentz posted 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions with a blistering 101.9 rating in just 13 games before going down with a knee injury that ended his season. Something that gets lost in the shuffle of his mind boggling passing numbers is the fact that Wentz's mobility was a huge factor in his play. Wentz produced 299 yards on the ground with 64 attempts, which averages out to 4.9 carries per game. This is a linear way of looking at it. The more important element here is that the Eagles rely on Wentz's ability to shake rushers, evade defenders and keep plays alive. It's a skill that Foles doesn't really have.

Tearing your ACL takes time to recover from both mentally and physically, and the latter part is done. But now there are always going to be lingering concerns. It's not like the Eagles boast the most amazing offensive line. More than that, Wentz's ability to keep moving in and out of the pocket is what made the Eagles' offense churn out huge outputs through the season. I'm not suggesting that Wentz will play scared, but the fear will be there. Every great quarterback who relies on running is forced back in to his pocket for health reasons. It's not that the well runs dry, but that they just go to that well less often. It will be easier and safer for Wentz to drop down to take sacks instead of attempting to keep plays alive. What makes him special is that fearlessness, and until we see it in action, it's hard to assume that he's just going to step on the field and be the same MVP caliber player he was in 2017.

Nobody is overreacting to Wentz's return in betting even though we're all excited for him to be back on the field. Philadelphia opened as -6.5 point favorites against Indianapolis, and the line hasn't really budged even though a cavalcade of action is coming in on the home team's side. A return from a major injury needs to be seen to be believed. Even if we're just airing on the side of caution, Wentz healthy and back in the saddle is a sight for very sore Eagles eyes.

The Eagles are listed at +1200 odds to win the Super Bowl, and that number will probably only adjust ever-so-slightly. The odds for Philly were priced long term with the understanding that Wentz was coming back, but we still don't know what he's going to look like. Even with Wentz healthy enough to get the starting nod in Week 3 against Indianapolis, there are still a lot of concerns about whether or not he can spark that 2017 form that set the league on fire. Prior to losing against the Bucs in Week 2, the defending champs were +1000 as the fourth choice in the market. Now they're a bit further down the list, but retain their contender status.

Top Odds to win Super Bowl LIII New England +650 Los Angeles Rams +700 Minnesota Vikings +900 Jacksonville Jaguars +900 Green Bay Packers +1100 Philadelphia Eagles +1200 Kansas City Chiefs +1400