Curtis Painter is making his first NFL start tonight, and optimism among many fans is high. Though I've said repeatedly that I don't share it on any level, it's worth at least considering the ramifications for the season if Curtis Painter goes and plays a good game against the Bucs.
First, we need to establish the parameters for a 'good game'. Painter is playing the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL. This means that it's not going to get any easier. If he can't move the ball against the Bucs, there is no reason to assume that he'll improve in coming weeks. There's a myth out there that players improve with time. It's just not true. Some guys never get better. If Painter can have a game where he completes 50% of his passes with no turnovers, I'll be thrilled. That's my standard for a good game from him. 50% and 0. Anything else is pure gravy.
I personally don't believe him capable of producing those numbers, but let's assume he does for a moment. It would mean the following: