Quarterbacks Making First Career Playoff Start Have Historically Struggled in Wild Card Round

Tristan Jung
Ryan Tannehill finished the season with the highest passer rating in the league.
Ryan Tannehill finished the season with the highest passer rating in the league. / Tim Warner/Getty Images

This year's NFL Playoffs feature three quarterbacks making their first career playoff starts: Carson Wentz, Ryan Tannehill, and Josh Allen. However, historical trends have shown us that backing quarterbacks in their postseason debuts hasn't been a good idea.

Passers making their playoff debuts are 8-28 straight up in the Wild Card Round since 2002, 3-11 against the spread (ATS) when favored, and 7-15 ATS as an underdog.

Given these numbers, it's tough to trust Allen, Wentz and Tannehill this weekend. In fact, all three are underdogs in the Wild Card Round, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

With the Philadelphia Eagles coming in as 1.5-point underdogs against the Seattle Seahawks, the odds give Wentz the best chance of advancing of the three. It feels strange that Wentz hasn't started a playoff game in his four-year career, but he was injured throughout the Eagles' playoff runs in 2017 and 2018.

Ryan Tannehill has been around since 2012, but after seven underwhelming seasons with the Miami Dolphins, he has broken out in a big way with the Tennessee Titans. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December after throwing for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns, and ended the year first in passer rating.

However, he remains a 5.5-point underdog on the road against the New England Patriots and their No. 1 ranked defense.

Josh Allen has led the Buffalo Bills to a playoff berth in his second season as the starter. The Bills had their best season in decades with Allen under center, but he faces a big test with a road matchup against the Houston Texans. The Bills are 2.5-point underdogs for Saturday afternoon's game. Allen has been inconsistent this season, ranking last in completion percentage and No. 24 in passer rating.

Whether or not any of these passers can buck the trend and win this weekend remains to be seen, but the numbers suggest that all three could be fighting an uphill battle.

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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.