HomeFootball DirtLamar Jackson Takes the Lead

Lamar Jackson Takes the Lead

Published on

spot_img

You can’t win a Super Bowl in the modern NFL without a good quarterback. Fortunately for the four teams remaining as the conference championship games loom, four good-to-great passers remain. Unsurprisingly, the guy headed into the gridiron’s final four with the most momentum is its presumptive regular season MVP. Lamar Jackson finished 2023 as a first-team All-Pro, typically the prerequisite to the league’s top individual award. He harnessed that momentum into a gorgeous performance in the divisional round, ending the Houston Texans’ Cinderella story in a 31-10 win. If Jackson is the top quarterback remaining in the playoffs, how does the rest of the field sort out? Fortunately, we’ve got data that can help us sort through the remaining three candidates.

Expected points added (EPA) is a concept that’s been around since 1970. It’s effectively a comparison between what an average quarterback could be expected to do on a certain down and what he actually did — and how it increased his team’s chances of scoring. The model we use comes from The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin and his RBSDM.com website, which is both wildly useful AND includes adjusted EPA, which accounts for defensive strength. It considers the impact of penalties and does not negatively impact passers for fumbles after a completion. Because the playoffs are as much about how hot you are as how good your team has been, let’s limit the scope of our data. Rather than limit ourselves to the too-wide net of all of 2023 or the too-small sample size of this year’s playoffs, let’s scoop our numbers from the final six weeks of the regular season on. Plotting that data gives us a 34-quarterback sample size that looks like this: via RBSDM.com That’s entirely too busy for our purposes, so let’s eliminate all the guys who aren’t playing this weekend. Poorly and with garbage photoshop skills, as is tradition. via rbsdm.com

Let’s see how everyone rates when sorted by a composite of EPA and completion percentage over expected (CPOE). The guy at No. 1 won’t surprise you. The guy at No. 4 might. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports EPA+CPOE composite: 0.194 (first among all NFL starters after Week 13) No surprise here; the guy who hasn’t lost as a starter in this span — and who won all but one of those six games by 10 points or more — reigns. Jackson’s brilliance isn’t always appreciated by statistical models; it’s difficult to quantify his ability to take a negative play and turn it into a modest gain. Even so, the numbers got this one right. Jackson was awesome in his 2024 playoff debut, roasting the Houston Texans for four total touchdowns and more than 15 EPA. His 11.4 CPOE showcased how many throws he’s able to make that typical quarterbacks don’t. And he averaged nearly a point of added value to the scoreboard every time he ran with the ball. .@Lj_era8 picks up the first 🔥 Tune in on ESPN/ABC pic.twitter.com/I8BBX7LhYR — Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 20, 2024 Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports EPA+CPOE composite: 0.177 (third) Purdy’s incredible start gave him an insurmountable lead when it came to advanced stats through the end of the regular season. He’s looked more mortal as the weather grew colder. A big part of that problem was Week 16’s game against the Ravens, in which Baltimore bullied him to the worst game of his pro career that didn’t end in him needing elbow surgery. The second-year quarterback looked like a liability early in the divisional round on a rainy night in Santa Clara. While his accuracy left plenty to be desired, he rose up in a turnover-free performance (thanks to a pair of dropped interceptions) and kept the Niners on their path to the Super Bowl. Also, this throw ruled. KITTLE OVER THE MIDDLE. #GBvsSF on FOX📱 NFL+ // https://t.co/KTh0i4oaLh pic.twitter.com/0ePKDPeazc — San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 21, 2024 Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports EPA+CPOE composite: 0.124 (ninth) Goff has been extremely good in the postseason, throwing for 564 yards in two games with three passing touchdowns and zero turnovers. Detroit’s needed all of that, since its defense has given up 400-plus yards in each of those playoff wins. As good as Goff’s been, he may need to be even better to push the Lions into their first Super Bowl. The 49ers finished 2023 ranked third in scoring offense and second in total yardage, suggesting the only way out is through a shootout win on the West Coast. All-Pro players make All-Pro plays 😤@amonra_stbrown | 📺 NBC pic.twitter.com/ZietQIWA6L — Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 21, 2024 Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports EPA+CPOE composite: 0.110 (13th) Mahomes has been surprisingly… just sorta above average in 2023. A big chunk of this relative malaise can be attributed to a thin receiving corps that led the league in drops and has given meaningful snaps to gridiron disasters Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman in big moments. But the two-time MVP has dealt with more pressure this fall and defaulted to shorter passes with limited opportunities to replicate the game-breaking success that’s defined his career. His 6.5 air yards per throw were by far the lowest of his career and is the shortest average distance of any quarterback still in the playoffs. At the same time, he’s Patrick Mahomes. The Bills’ special teams let him off the hook last week, but there remains no one scarier in the fourth quarter of a playoff game.

Latest articles

The Philadelphia Phillies Maintain Stellar Performance Throughout 2024 Season

The Phillies are finally armed with a healthy Bryce Harper (pun intended) manning first...

Is It Time for the Astros to Fall? Evaluating Four MLB Starters for Buy or Sell

We're approximately two months into the MLB season, with most teams having played over...

Christian Watson, Packers wide receiver, discusses progress in hamstring rehabilitation

Throughout his initial two seasons in the NFL, Christian Watson has been sidelined for...

Odell Beckham Jr, Christian Barmore Join Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots

Dolphins The Dolphins signed WR Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency hoping he can be...

More like this

Christian Watson, Packers wide receiver, discusses progress in hamstring rehabilitation

Throughout his initial two seasons in the NFL, Christian Watson has been sidelined for...

Saints Update: Marshon Lattimore News

Dennis Allen reaffirmed that Marshon Lattimore will remain with the Saints in 2024. The...

Bonus Points: Cap, Interviews, Texans, Pash

May 24th, 2024 at 11:09am CST by Sam Robinson In place since 1994, the...