The NFL season is upon us! Following an exciting, roller coaster season in 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl XLII. Who will be the next team to win their first Super Bowl?
But before you get to the Super Bowl, you need to make the playoffs, and win at least one game. There are 10 projected starting QBs (with more than 2 games of starting experience) who have yet to take a snap in a playoff game.
What about the QBs that have experience, but no wins?
Unfortunately, some of these QBs have just had bad luck. In their tenures as starter, Carr, Wentz, Tannehill and Bradford’s teams have all made the playoffs but the QB never played due to injury. It seems likely that Wentz will play a playoff game in 2018. But it’s possible multiple QBs from this list appear in their first game.
How would you rank each QB’s chances of playing in their first playoff game?
1. Carson Wentz, Eagles
Coming off a Super Bowl win, the Eagles kept their team mostly intact this off-season to gear up for another run to February. Assuming Wentz comes back at full strength and has another MVP type season, he will play in his first playoff game. What could hold him back is the fact that head coach Doug Pederson is a risk taker. He took risks in 2016 that didn’t always pan out but clearly did in 2017. Is regression in order for the Eagles? Or is this a team too talented to overcome a failed 4th down conversion here and there or a possible turnover? It might be, which is why Wentz is ranked first here.
2. Deshaun Watson, Texans
Watson only played 7 games, but that small sample size was enough to amp up expectations for the Texans in 2018. Some people are talking sleeper Super Bowl contender. I would pump the breaks on that until Watson and members of the defense, notably JJ Watt, can prove they can remain healthy. But this team still has the chance to be very good and possibly win the AFC South or a wild card spot.
3. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Despite just one start as a rookie (week 17), the Chiefs had enough confidence in Mahomes to trade Alex Smith giving the keys to the franchise to the young gunslinger. Not just that, but they gave a huge contract to WR Sammy Watkins. Mahomes is surrounded by Watkins, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, one of the top collective skill groups in the NFL. This should be enough to keep the Chiefs in the mix to win the AFC West, at the very least, if not a wild card spot.
4. Jimmy Garappolo, 49ers
If you use basic prediction math, Jimmy G is undefeated in 6 career starts, which means he is on pace to go undefeated again in 2018. This would definitely get the 49ers into the playoffs. However, he won’t go undefeated. So the question is, how many games will he wins now that he is finally a franchise QB, with full job security and the contract to prove it.
5. Derek Carr, Raiders
Carr missed the Raiders return to the playoffs in 2016, after breaking his leg in week 16. Heartbreaking. Last season didn’t go as planned for Oakland and rebooted with a new, but old, head coac – Jon Gruden. Gruden got paid $100 million to run the Raiders. Is he worth it? Carr’s performance and the timeline for the Raiders return to the playoffs will answer that question.
6. Sam Bradford, Cardinals
The truth is Bradford probably won’t start 16 games. He may not even start any if Josh Rosen comes to camp and dominates. Bradford was part of the Vikings last year when they made the playoffs, but didn’t play a snap as he was behind Case Keenum. The Cardinals may make the playoffs but it’s highly likely if they do, that Bradford won’t be under center.
7. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
I’m not as high on the Bears as others seems to be. Adding Allen Robinson, Trey Burton amongst others will help the offensive improve, but without seeing many signs of light from Trubisky, it’s hard to forecast the Bears success. Of course, Goff looked lost as a rookie too and better coaching helped him see the light. Maybe the same can be said for Trubisky? Not as high on Matt Nagy as I was on Sean McVay. Bears will be improved and probably more exciting but are still at least 1 year away from competing for a playoff spot in a very competitive NFC.
8. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
The Bucs are counting on a breakout season from Winston, who was just suspended for the first 3 games of 2018. His performance and the team’s record, will go a long way to indicating the future direction of the franchise as Winston is eligible for a contract extension after this season.
9. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
The Dolphins won’t be very good in 2018 and part of it may be on Tannehill, who missed all of 2017 with a knee injury. First, we need to see if he can come back healthy. Even if he does, he isn’t surrounded by much on offense. He is very likely on the hot seat and may no longer be the long term option in Miami.
10. Josh McCown, Jets
McCown is simply a stop gap until #3 overall pick Sam Darnold is ready to start (which may be week 1). McCown has been on 8 teams but never played a playoff game.
Check out our starting QB rankings and backup QB rankings.