29. New England Patriots: Newton, Stidham, Hoyer
The caveat to any prediction about Cam Newton and the Patriots is that we don’t know what Cam Newton’s body will allow him to do. If Newton enters the season healthy, angry, and motivated you can bet Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will have him leading the Pats deep into the playoffs.
If Newton continues to be the Newton we’ve seen in the last couple of seasons then we’ll likely get to see the journeyman Brian Hoyer and maybe even the oft-talked about youngster Jarrett Stidham. For the first time in decades, there’s much uncertainty in New England.
Projected Record: 9-7
28. Chicago Bears: Foles, Trubisky
The quarterback situation has been holding the Bears back for the last few years. Actually, it’s been since Jim McMahon that they’ve lacked a leader in that position but it’s been particularly difficult the last few seasons because their defense has been so good.
Enter former Super Bowl MVP, Nick Foles, who comes in to challenge Mitchell Trubisky for the starting quarterback job. The problem is that Foles has rarely been that much better than Trubisky, except for that one half-season in Philly. Looks like it’s all on the defense yet again.
Projected Record: 7-9
27. Los Angeles Chargers: Taylor, Herbert
For the first time since 2004, Philip Rivers won’t be under center for the Chargers. Replacing the 8-time Pro Bowler is Tyrod Taylor, who is essentially a short-term babysitter for the starting quarterback job until rookie Justin Herbert is ready.
Taylor used to be a competent, if uninspiring, starting NFL quarterback. Who knows, this may be his last chance to start in the NFL. He could be great, but it’s not likely. Expect to see Herbert by the middle of the season, whether he’s ready or not.
Projected Record: 10-6