The Week 14 NFL Sweat Barometer 

December, 8, 2011

If you're reading ESPN Insider on a consistent basis (and let's face it, you should be), you know that Tim Tebow's name has been thrown around quite a bit lately: Chris Sprow examined whether he was more clutch than Aaron Rodgers; Trent Dilfer thinks the Broncos are committed to him, whether they like it or not; Mel Kiper Jr. believes that the Broncos are making a mistake with Tebow and that Denver has the second-worst quarterback situation in the NFL.

Is he a franchise quarterback? Can he throw a tight spiral 30 yards downfield? Will he ever show up to play before the fourth quarter starts?

These are all questions that remain unanswered. One question that has been answered definitively: Can he cover a spread?

The answer is a resounding yes.

The NFL Sweat Barometer (created by Chad Millman and Sal Selvaggio of examines the degree to which teams cover -- or don't cover -- the spread each week. Since Tebow took over the reins, no team has been covering the spread like the Denver Broncos.

The team is 6-1 straight up and against the spread overall with him as a starting quarterback, with an SB number of 3.5. In their past five games (in which Denver has been an underdog of three or more points four times), the Broncos are 5-0 ATS with an incredible SB number of 10.2.

As Dave Tuley of points out, Vegas doesn't quite know what to make of Tebow. "The problem for handicappers is it's hard to quantify a lot of what he does," Tuley said. "Fundamental handicappers have problems with his mechanics, while stats-based cappers have trouble because they're looking at numbers that aren't normal for a winning NFL quarterback."

Enter the suddenly hapless Chicago Bears, who will be missing both Jay Cutler and Matt Forte for this game and starting Caleb Hanie -- a QB so bad that backup Nathan Enderle probably shouldn't be getting too comfy on the sideline.

Sounds like a slam dunk for the Broncos, right? For those of you reaching for your wallets already, hold on just a second.

Ben Fawkes

ESPN Staff Writer