Vick or Foles? (10/07/13)

John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
Who should start for the Philadelphia Eagles the rest of the season, Michael Vick or Nick Foles? We simulated the rest of the season to find out.


 
Nick Foles filled in for an injured Michael Vick (hamstring) Sunday leading four scoring drives including throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in an Eagles win. Vick is expected to miss Sunday’s game with his injury but should he be starting even if healthy?
 
We simulated the rest of the season 50,000 times to find out which Eagles’ quarterback gives Philadelphia the better chance of making the playoffs.
 
Michael Vick
In five games this season Vick has completed just 53.8% of his passes for 1,185 yards and five touchdowns. Vick has compensated, as he has in the past, for his poor accuracy by rushing for 307 yards with a 9.3 yards/carry average.
 
Stats as starter rest of season:

Passing Yards Pass TDs INTs Rush Yards Rush TDs
2,890.60 19.4 8.4 458.9 6.1
 
With Vick starting, the Eagles finish the season with 8.6 wins and 7.4 losses. Philadelphia is 49.9% likely to win the NFC East and 58.9% likely to make the playoffs.
 
Nick Foles
Foles helped the Eagles win last week with a strong performance but in six starts last season the quarterback was inconsistent at times and the Eagles managed to win just one of Foles’ starts. Nonetheless, the second year player has shown enough promise to have some calling for him to start.
 
Stats as starter rest of season:

Passing Yards Pass TDs INTs
2,811.60 18.6 8.4
 
With Foles starting, the Eagles finish the season with 7.8 wins and 8.2 losses. The Eagles odds of winning the NFC East drop to 34.6% and their playoff odds decrease from 58.9% to 42.4%.
 
Foles is a promising young talent who gets rid of the ball quicker and has proven better in the red zone than Vick. However, Vick has a stronger arm, especially on deep balls, plus the threat of his running ability opens up huge running lanes for LeSean McCoy and makes the Eagles a more balanced and potent offense. With Vick, Philadelphia has a 2.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl (9th best in the league), without him the Eagles’ Super Bowl odds decrease to 1.5%.
 
Conspiracy theory, the Dallas Cowboys are driving the Nick Foles bandwagon. Dallas has the most to gain with Foles as the starter for the Eagles. The Cowboys odds to win the division increase from 44.0% to 54.5% if Foles is the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. 

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