What Kaepernick and Wilson are up against
January, 11, 2013
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Teams with higher NFL passer ratings have won 79.8 percent of regular-season games since 2008. Teams with higher Total QBR scores have won 86.3 percent.
We're not breaking ground by suggesting the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers might need strong performances from their quarterbacks to advance through the divisional playoff round this weekend.
What are the odds these teams' young quarterbacks will deliver?
Seattle's Russell Wilson makes his 18th career start and second postseason start when the Seahawks visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick makes his eighth career start and first in postseason when the 49ers face the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.
The charts compares how quarterbacks have fared against Atlanta and Green Bay to how these same quarterbacks fared against other teams.
I've ordered the charts by the largest gaps in Total QBR scores. Players faring much better against Atlanta/Green Bay than against other teams appear higher in the charts.
For example, Carolina's Cam Newton completed 64.4 percent of his passes with four passing touchdowns, no picks and 202 yards rushing in two games against Atlanta. His QBR score for those games was 86.0 out of 100. Newton's QBR score was 49.1 against all other opponents. The gap between those numbers (36.9) earns Newton the No. 2 spot in the first chart.
This is a rough way to see which QBs fared better/worse when facing the defenses NFC West playoff teams will face.
Wilson and Kaepernick are unlike most of the quarterbacks listed in the charts.
Seattle might find some encouragement in the rushing success Newton enjoyed and in the overall success another mobile quarterback, Tony Romo, managed against Atlanta.
Kaepernick shares some physical traits with Tennessee's Jake Locker, who struggled against Green Bay. But there's no comparison between how Kaepernick and Locker have produced overall.
Kaepernick has the highest QBR score (77.8) for any player making his first seven starts since 2008, ahead of Andrew Luck (72.2), Robert Griffin III (71.8), Matt Ryan (68.7) and Aaron Rodgers (66.9). He has the second-highest NFL passer rating (99.9), just behind Griffin (101.8) and just ahead of Rodgers (98.8) through seven starts since 2008.