Each quarterback is the cornerstone of his franchise, and health has a significant impact on his team’s overall record and playoff probability. With Matthew Stafford set to return, Brett Favre limping around, and Tony Romo with a broken collarbone, AccuScore simulated the rest of the season for the Vikings, Cowboys and Lions to measure each starter’s value compared to their backup.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo vs. Jon Kitna
Despite getting off to a 1-5 start the Dallas Cowboys were still clinging to a 19.5 percent chance of making the playoffs due to the overall mediocrity in the NFC. Now that Tony Romo is out for 6-8 weeks the Cowboys are forced to rely on Jon Kitna thus rendering their season basically over.
The loss of Romo has caused Dallas’s playoff probability tumble from 17.4 percent to a meager 2.1 percent. The Cowboys can say goodbye to the playoffs as their woes are expected to continue in the win-loss column. With Romo at quarterback, AccuScore projected Dallas to finish the season with a 7-9 record. Kitna finishing the season at quarterback creates a four game swing with the Cowboys finishing just 5-11.
Minnesota Vikings: Brett Favre vs. Tavaris Jackson
The difference between Brett Favre starting for the Vikings for the remainder of the season compared to Tavaris Jackson is roughly one game. That one extra win Favre provides translates into a Vikings playoff probability of 55.6 percent vs. 36.3 percent with Jackson.
The number makes it is clear the Vikings need to be all-in with Favre, but also highlights his decline. Before the season started the Vikings were 16 percent more likely to win a game with Favre starting over Jackson. Now with Favre’s less than stellar play that number has been reduced to 7.7 percent margin.
To further illustrate Favre’s decline this season AccuScore projected the Vikings to be 11-5 in the preseason with Favre and 9-7 with Jackson. Now AccuScore projects a Favre-led Vikings squad to finish with nine wins or the same number that the simulations predicted for Minnesota had they simply gone with Jackson and avoided all the quarterback drama.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford vs. Drew Stanton
The return of Matthew Stafford is a catch-22 for Detroit. The Lions are not a threat to make the playoffs no matter who plays quarterback, but Stafford is more likely to produce wins and hurt Detroit’s draft positioning.
Stafford’s return to the starting gig makes the Lions a far more competitive team, but they will still be significant underdogs in their remaining games. With Stafford resuming control the Lions are projected to finish the season 4-12 vs. 2-14 if Stanton were to play for the rest of the year. Detroit has suffered enough in recent years and probably isn’t too worried about draft positioning for yet another season.