The Monday Night Football battle between the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins pales in comparison to the intra-squad battle that will take place between incumbent starting QB Brian Hoyer and rookie QB Johnny Manziel.
Neither has flopped or excelled enough to create a significant gap in the competition, so their performances tonight will matter a lot. Who will come out on top for Week 1?
"Before camp started, I predicted Hoyer would hold off Manziel and start Week 1," wrote Nate Urlich of the Akron Beacon Journal. "I still believe he will as long as he doesn’t choke at the finish line with Johnny Football on his heels."
The Browns have a bye in Week 4, so even if Hoyer gets the nod in the opener, he'll have to prove himself worthy of keeping that gig during their first three games. Otherwise, coach Mike Pettine may turn to the rookie.
In the meantime, tonight's battle is wide open for either to make a statement:
"The Browns need someone to step forward in the most-discussed race since Bush-Gore hit the Supreme Court. Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel have had moments, but neither has leaned off the horse to grab the brass ring. As a result, the Browns are splitting time in Game 2 between the two, with the hopes that one of them steps forward. If they don’t -- and coach Mike Pettine said he will do his best to ensure each ends up with equal playing time -- the Browns have to decide whom the tie favors. Hoyer has the edge of being around the league for a few years and Manziel has youthful exuberance and the ability to make something happen with his feet. A decision is expected to be announced by Wednesday at the latest."