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Using projected Derek Carr numbers to predict Raiders 2019 win total

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we used aggregate data from multiple quarterbacks around the league to predict Derek Carr’s 2019 statistical output. Today we look at how those projected numbers translate to the Raiders win totals.

Using quarterback statistics from year 5 to year 6 and the second season playing in the same offensive system, some trends were identified. The percentage difference in quarterback stats from one season to the next were used to generate a low prediction, middle prediction, and high prediction for Derek Carr’s statistical output in 2019. Read the full study here.

Low prediction: Passer rating 85.4, Adjusted net yards per attempt 5.77, completion percentage 69.2%, touchdowns 18, and yards 4151.

Middle prediction: Passer rating 97, ANY/A 6.75, completion percentage 70.5%, touchdowns 22, and yards 4324.

High prediction: Passer rating 108.6, ANY/A 7.72, completion percentage 71.8%, touchdowns 25, and yards 4497.

This conversation is good and well, but how does it translate to wins on the field? Quarterback statistics can be volatile and aren’t always the best marker for predicting wins vs losses considering it ignores the other side of the football entirely. However there is a correlation between quarterback production and wins more so than any other single position on the football field.

Looking back at the past 3 seasons there are some takeaways as far as passing statistics that point to what the Raiders record will look like pending the production from the Quarterback position.

Automatic thresholds

By taking the passing statistics of every quarterback who started at least 8 games in the past 3 seasons and arranging them by win totals a couple thresholds were discovered.

The automatic win threshold was found by taking the lowest statistic in each category where quarterbacks only had a winning record with that number or above. The automatic win thresholds are;

  • 110.9 passer rating
  • 7.72 ANY/A
  • 72% completions
  • 38 touchdowns
  • 5381 yards

In plain terms, this means no quarterback in the last 3 years who hit at least one of these marks had a losing record. In the high prediction Carr’s numbers meet or get close to a couple of these marks but neither the middle prediction nor low prediction showed Carr even approaching these numbers. This doesn’t mean a winning record is unlikely, it just means it probably isn’t guaranteed even if Carr does make progress in year 2 under Gruden. This shouldn’t be news to Raiders fans.

The automatic loss threshold was similarly found by taking the lowest statistic in each category where there were no winning records below that mark. The automatic loss thresholds are;

  • 79.3 Passer Rating
  • 4.45 ANY/A
  • 59% completions
  • 11 touchdowns
  • 3098 yards

Again this means no quarterback who posted at least one of these statistics had a winning record in the past 3 seasons. Even the low prediction for Carr’s 2019 numbers don’t get close to this bad. All this means is the Raiders aren’t guaranteed a losing season which should be a relief albeit a small one.

Average passing stats per win

For more predictive survey of statistics, quarterbacks with the same number of wins where grouped together and their passing statistics were averaged. Quarterbacks with 12 or more wins were grouped together as were quarterbacks with 3 or less wins.

There is definitely a correlation between stats and wins here as would be expected but even this method doesn’t produce the cleanest prediction. The 7 win band for example was greatly skewed by Matt Ryan in 2018 and Drew Brees in 2016. Both quarterbacks had outstanding statistical results despite their teams finishing with only 7 wins. This goes to show that defense is important and even a great quarterback performance won’t always power a team to a winning record.

That being said in most categories there is a steady positive progression as stats improve so do wins. Touchdowns is one category where this isn’t completely true considering between 5 and 8 wins quarterbacks threw between 21 and 23 touchdown passes on average. Yards is another statistic that shows confusing correlation to wins. Between 6 and 11 wins quarterbacks threw between 3700 and 3900 yards, essentially no difference.

The statistics in this study that served to best predict win totals were ANY/A, passer rating, and completion percentage in that order. Using only those statistics and attempting to make a prediction for the Raiders record in 2019 lets go back to the 2019 low, medium and high predictions for Derek Carr’s 2019.

  • If Derek Carr hits the low prediction numbers, according to data taken from the last 3 seasons, the Raiders should win 7 games
  • If Carr hits the medium prediction numbers the Raiders should win 9 games.
  • If Carr hits the high prediction numbers the Raiders should win 11 games.

It’s important to note these numbers have been aggregated from objective sources and NFL stats only. There is no opinion in this study and the bias only comes from the timeframe in which these stats were taken. The middle prediction, likely the safest one, suggest the Raiders could be in the wildcard hunt late in the season and at least register a winning season in 2019.

Notes:

When compared to the 43 quarterbacks who started at least 8 games in a season over the past 3 years, Derek Carr ranked:

  • 17th in composite statistical standings
  • 14th in total QB wins
  • 24th in QB wins per season played

These numbers are very middle of the road figures for the Raiders franchise QB. If Carr isn’t able to make a jump in his second season under Gruden then the Raiders would be smart to see if they can upgrade the position. While Carr certainly has not been terrible, he also hasn’t been great except for arguably one season. In 2016 Carr’s composite statistics ranked 25th out of 85 qualifying quarterbacks in the past 3 years and 8th best that season. Carr needs to improve immensely to solidify his status as the unquestioned starter. This truly is a make or break year for him.