Picks for Starting Quarterback Padawans and Winless Teams

Back in my first post in August on the first and second year quarterbacks I referred to them as padawans. A term from Star Wars for young Jedi knights in training. Now in week four there are a total of eight padawans starting. The games and staring padawan are:

Browns vs Raiders  – Baker Mayfield

Texans vs Colts – DeShaun Watson

Bills vs Packers – Josh Allen

Chiefs vs Broncos – Patrick Mahomes

Jets vs Jaguars – Sam Darnold

Buccaneers vs Bears – Mitch Trubisky

49ers vs Chargers – CJ Beathard

Seahawks vs Cardinals – Josh Rosen

I have picked three of these games as being most likely for the padawan to get a win or loss. It happened that all three games include one of the three remaining winless teams. Here are the picks.

Browns vs Raiders (-2.5)

Baker Mayfield starts his first NFL game following being put in for an injured Tyrod Taylor in week three. In that week 3 game against the Jets, Mayfield helped lead the Browns to their first victory since December 24th 2016. He was 17 of 23 for 201 yards and a 100 passer rating.

The Browns and the Raiders are teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Browns are excelling in three main categories that are generally recognized as influencing the outcome of a game. Those three categories are explosiveness, starting field position and turnovers. For the sake of measurement explosiveness in this evaluation is the number of 20+ yard plays of the offense minus the number of such plays the defense gives up. The Browns are plus three in explosiveness, plus nine in turnover differential and fifth place in net starting position (their offense minus the opponent offense). The Browns are one of the top five teams in these categories combined. See my post on Best and Worst Teams by Turnovers and Big Plays. The Raiders on the other hand are one of the bottom five teams in these categories. They are minus five in explosiveness, minus four in turnover differential and twenty seventh place in net starting position.

Prediction: Look for Mayfield and the Browns to win and the Raiders to remain winless.

Texans vs Colts (-1)

DeShaun Watson and the Texans have had a bad start and are now one of only three teams without a win.  The Colts are a better team in turnovers and lead the Texans with a plus one turnover differential to a minus two differential for the Texans. However in terms of explosiveness the Texans are a plus five compared to the Colts minus three. In starting field position the Colts are a decent seventh place with a positive 5.17 yards Net Line of Scrimmage (LOS) starting field position. However the Texans are even better in third place with a positive 7.47 yards Net LOS.

Prediction: Watson and the Texans win and break their three game loss streak.

Seahawks (-3) vs Cardinals

Josh Rosen gets his first NFL start following replacing Sam Bradford with 4:31 remaining in the loss to Chicago in week three. He was 4 of 7 for 36 yards and one interception . The Seahawks have a plus three in turnovers, a minus one in explosiveness and are in 18th place in Net LOS with a minus 1.63 yards. On the other hand the Cardinals are minus three in turnovers, minus seven in explosiveness and in 15th place in net LOS with a minus 0.3 yards.

Prediction:  Seahawks to win as the Cardinals with Rosen remain winless.

So two of the three padawan quarterbacks get a win and two of the winless teams remain winless.  Enjoy the games!

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