Winslow Townson/USA TODAY

NFL playoff odds simulated with backup QBs

Which NFL teams would suffer the most if their backup quartebacks had to play? The simulator says …

Tom Brady is scheduled to be suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season, pending a court ruling coming in the next few weeks. Geno Smith is out for the start of the season with broken jaw. Other starting quarterbacks will inevitably be shelved by injury before or during the regular season.

So which NFL teams would suffer least by having a starting quarterback miss games? The true answer can’t be accurately given at this point, but PredictionMachine.com provided an interesting analysis of what could happen.

The website simulated the regular season and playoffs 50,000 times, once with the projected starter and then with the projected backup. The results were interesting, even if inexact and left to scrutiny.

If Brady misses the first four games of the season, the New England Patriots would still win their division and gain the second seed in the AFC, according to the simulator. However, if backup Jimmy Garoppolo were to start the entire 2015 season, the Patriots’ playoff chances fall from 79 percent to 24.6 percent.

The Denver Broncos had a similarly dire outlook if Peyton Manning doesn’t start. Their chances of making the playoffs drops from 70.8 percent with Manning starting all 16 games to 24.3 percent if he misses all 16.

In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers were the team targeted as having the biggest differential in playoff possibilities without their starter. With Aaron Rodgers, their playoff chances are projected by PredictionMachine.com at 86.8 percent. With Scott Tolzien under center for the regular season, the Packers’ chances decrease to 38.8 percent.

According to the simulation, 12 NFL teams could start their backup quarterback all season and their playoff odds would decrease less than 10 percent. Only one team didn’t suffer a negative result (in simulator terms) by having their starter out – the Jacksonville Jaguars with backup Chad Henne in place of starter Blake Bortles.

Here are the full results offered after the 50,000 simulations run by the web site:

Team Starter (S) Backup (B) (S) In Playoffs (B) In Playoffs DIFF % Change
Patriots T. Brady J. Garoppolo 79 24.6 -54.4 -68.90%
Packers A. Rodgers S. Tolzien 86.8 38.8 -48 -55.30%
Broncos P. Manning B. Osweiler 70.8 24.3 -46.5 -65.70%
Steelers B. Roethlisberger B. Gradkowski 42.9 6.6 -36.3 -84.60%
Cowboys T. Romo B. Weeden 43.4 10.7 -32.7 -75.30%
Falcons M. Ryan T.J. Yates 32 4.7 -27.3 -85.30%
Giants E. Manning R. Nassib 31.9 5.2 -26.7 -83.70%
Panthers C. Newton D. Anderson 64 41.9 -22.1 -34.50%
Colts A. Luck M. Hasselbeck 85.3 63.3 -22 -25.80%
Saints D. Brees L. McCown 24.9 4.9 -20 -80.30%
Bengals A. Dalton AJ McCarron 42.4 25.5 -16.9 -39.90%
Chiefs A. Smith C. Daniel 35.7 19.5 -16.2 -45.40%
Ravens J. Flacco M. Schaub 42.1 27.3 -14.8 -35.20%
Seahawks R. Wilson T. Jackson 83.3 69.9 -13.4 -16.10%
Lions M. Stafford D. Orlovsky 22.9 10.2 -12.7 -55.50%
Chargers P. Rivers K. Clemens 27.5 15.5 -12 -43.60%
Vikings T. Bridgewater S. Hill 51.2 39.4 -11.8 -23.00%
Dolphins R. Tannehill M. Moore 52.7 41.3 -11.4 -21.60%
49ers C. Kaepernick B. Gabbert 13.1 2.2 -10.9 -83.20%
Bills EJ Manuel M. Cassel 28.7 20 -8.7 -30.30%
Bears J. Cutler J. Clausen 11.3 3.3 -8 -70.80%
Browns J. McCown J. Manziel 20.9 14 -6.9 -33.00%
Cardinals C. Palmer D. Stanton 18.4 11.5 -6.9 -37.50%
Titans M. Mariota Z. Mettenberger 15.2 9.4 -5.8 -38.20%
Buccaneers J. Winston M. Glennon 11.3 7.2 -4.1 -36.30%
Raiders D. Carr C. Ponder 16.9 13.1 -3.8 -22.50%
Eagles S. Bradford M. Sanchez 57.5 53.9 -3.6 -6.30%
Rams N. Foles A. Davis 27.4 23.8 -3.6 -13.10%
Texans B. Hoyer R. Mallett 33.2 32.3 -0.9 -2.70%
Jets R. Fitzpatrick G. Smith 13.8 12.9 -0.9 -6.50%
Redskins R. Griffin K. Cousins 22.6 22 -0.6 -2.70%
Jaguars B. Bortles C. Henne 2.3 4.6 2.3 100.00%

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