Quarterback Newbies Opening in Week One

Opening week NFL season will see five quarterback padawans (1st-2nd year players) starting. All five play on teams that are the underdog in the match-up. Statistics of how they play will be tossed around. Quarterback stats are great for comparing quarterbacks. But to me the real measure of a great quarterback is in his win record. The great ones come thru in the clutch. They find a way to win games. They keep their teams in the game.

Here are the top ten most winningest quarterbacks of all time. Six of the ten are in the Hall of Fame. Another one will be eligible in 2021 and will probably be a first ballot vote in. The other three are still playing and will all make the Hall of Fame with two of those three probably first ballots.

  1. Tom Brady                  223 wins
  2. Peyton Manning      200 wins
  3. Brett Favre                 199  wins
  4. John Elway                 162 wins
  5. Dan Marino               155 wins
  6. Drew Brees               149 wins
  7. Ben Rothlisberger    148 wins
  8. Joe Montanna         133 wins
  9. Fran Tarkenton        130 wins
  10.  Johnny Unitas         124 wins

So with that in mind lets look at the chances of these quarterback newbies getting a win this weekend.

9/9 Sunday 1:00 BUF vs BAL (Home)

BUF QB Nathan Peterman
Favorite: BAL by -7
Peterman will have a tough go to move the ball on this Ravens defense. The Raven’s secondary is one of the best and deepest n the league. Cornerback Jimmy Smith is out due to suspension. However the projected starters of cornerback Brandon Carr, strong safety Tony Jefferson, free safety Eric Weddle will be joined by cornerback 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey. In 2017 Humphrey played in 16 games and quarterbacks had a 53.5 passer rating when targeting Humphrey. That was the fifth lowest in the league amng cornerbacks. Humphrey was one of 12 cornerbacks who did not give up a touchdown all season. The Ravens are also strong at run defense. Pro Football Focus ranked them as sixth best against the run. Their missed tackle percentage on run plays for 2017 was 10% which was 5th best in the league. I don’t see Peterman leading the Bills to a victory.
Prediction: Loss for Bills and Peterman.

9/9 Sunday 1:00 HOU vs NE (Home)

HOU QB DeShaun Watson
Favorite: NE by -6
I see Deshaun Watson and the Texans pulling off the upset in Foxboro. I give the edge to the Texans in defense, run game and the passing game. The Texans eased Watson into the preseason on his return from the ACL injury that ended his rookie season after seven games. Watson was having a successful rookie season and made the PFWA All-Rookie Team. Watson has the slight edge in receivers with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The Patriots have wide receiver Chris Hogan and tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Texans have the better running back in Lamar Miller over Patriot new addition Jeremy Hill. Overall I give a slight edge to the Texan defense over the Patriots defense. With defensive ends JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney the Texans should put pressure on Brady.
Prediction: Win for Watson and the Texans

9/9 Sunday 4:05 KC vs LAC (Home)

KC QB Patrick Mahomes
Favorite: LAC by -3
These two teams are loaded at wide receivers. I give the slight edge to the Chargers as they have three elite receivers (Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin) to the Chiefs two (Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill). The running back advantage goes to the Chiefs (Kareem Hunt) over the Chargers (Melvin Gordon). Chief tight end Travis Kelce excels at the tight end position over the Chargers even if just signed Antonio Gates plays for the Chargers. The defense advantage goes to the Chargers with players like defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and cornerback Casey Hayward. Mahomes can escape pressure and in college Mahomes totaled more rushing touchdowns than Deshaun Watson over his final two years of college. Patrick Mahomes looked good in the preseason completing 72% of his passes and having a passer rating of 103.5.
Prediction: Win for Mahomes and the Chiefs

9/9 Sunday CHI vs GB (Home)

CHI QB Mitchell Trubisky
Favorite: GB by -7.5

Trubisky was thrown into the fire his 2017 rookie season after Mike Glennon was benched for a 1-3 start. Trubisky went 4-8 with a 77.5 passer rating, 59% completion rate and seven passing touchdowns to seven interceptions. He rushed for 248 yards averaging 6 yards a carry and had two rushing touchdowns. Trubisky had ten fumbles with three lost. In the 2018 preseason Trubisky did nothing to standout. On 18 attempts he had a 61% completion percentage, a 70 passer rating, an average yards per attempt of 5.2 and an average years per completion of 8.5.  Only 22% of his pass attempts made first down and he had no passes of 20+ yards. He had one passing touchdown and one interception.

The defensive edge goes to the Bears. There is a question as to how much each will play due to late starts but linebackers Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith should vastly improve the Bear’s linebacker roster. The Bears were in the top ten teams in minimum yards per game allowed in 2017. Offensive weapons wise,  I give the edge to the Bears. They have elite weapons in running back Jordan Howard, receiver Allen Robinson (if healthy) and tight end Trey Burton. The Bear’s offensive line is not as good as the Packers. However they are not far off. The big difference is the quarterbacks with Aaron Rodger having the significant advantage based on past performance. However Rodgers could be a tad rusty and he does not have a great supporting team.

Prediction: Trubisky and the Bears pull the upset and win.

9/10 Monday NYJ vs DET (Home)

QB Sam Darnold
Favorite: DET by -6.5

Sam Darnold did okay in the preseason but not great. Teddy Bridgewater was better but that is water under the bridge so to speak. So Sam gets the start. The Jets have one of the worst pass rush defenses in the league and Detroit has a top ten ranked receiver corp with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay. Add to that the Jets secondary is nothing exceptional with the exception of safety Jamal Adams. On the flip side the Lions secondary is pretty good with Darius Slay and Glover Quinn. I do not see Sam Darnold being able to keep up with Mathew Stafford. Darnold averaged just 8.4 yards per completion in the preseason and had zero passes of 20+ yards. The Jets should have the advantage in the run game. However it will not be enough to keep up with Detroit.

Prediction: Loss for Darnold and the Jets.

Enjoy the Games!

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