Followup: Vick vs. Brady

After I posted about my out-of-character decision to start Vick over Brady last week and my subsequent relief that it didn’t blow up in my face, I’ve heard from a number of readers who find the week 3 Vick/Brady decision equally tough to call.

In my eyes, both are high-end QB1s this week with matchups against inferior defenses (Jacksonville for Vick, Buffalo for Brady), so you can’t really go wrong either way. I’m going back to my conservative start-your-studs roots this week – I’ll be starting Brady. Vick’s an exciting player, but it’s important to keep in mind that we’ve seen him do two things so far: 1) Terrorize a completely unprepared Packers defense, and 2) Pile up numbers against a Lions defense that allows every opposing quarterback to have a pleasant day. It remains to be seen how he’ll do once teams have had some time to adjust their defensive playbooks for him. The key question: Is he really a better pocket quarterback now than he was before he went to jail, as he and Andy Reid are proclaiming? I don’t think we have a clear answer to that one yet, even though it looks promising so far.

Tom Brady, however, is Tom Brady, and the Bills are the Bills. Moreover, the Bills defense has a specific vulnerability that the Patriots seem perfectly built to attack: They can’t cover tight ends:

We believed entering the 2010 season that the Buffalo Bills’ biggest weakness defensively was their linebackers. Two games into the season, that belief has been vindicated, as the Bills have been brutalized not just by injury at the position, but by opposing tight ends exposing the inherent weakness of the group – pass coverage. […] In Week 3, they get to take on New England’s dynamic rookie duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

The Patriots offense is a nightmare matchup for teams that can’t stop short pass plays – that’s what they do best. Tom Brady’s going to keep going back to Welker and the TE twins and I don’t know how the Bills can dream of slowing them down.

Brady’s a top-six QB this week, in the mix with other top options Rodgers (@GB), P. Manning (@DEN), Brees (ATL), Rivers (@SEA) and Schaub (DAL) – they all have drool-worthy matchups and any one of them could be your top scorer this week. Romo (@HOU), Cutler (GB) and Vick are second-tier options in my mind – all still very strong starts but with a question mark or two more than the top-tier guys.