JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- No quarterback in the NFL has been better in November and beyond during the past four seasons than Nick Foles.
That makes the timing of his return from a broken collarbone perfect for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are still alive in the playoff race despite a 4-5 record. Their schedule eases up in the second half, so the addition of Mr. November could be just the spark the Jaguars need to make a run.
Per ESPN Stats & Information, Foles has the best winning percentage of any starting quarterback in November or later (including playoffs) since 2016. He’s 10-2 (.833), which is better than Tom Brady (27-7, .794) and Andrew Luck (13-4, .765). Granted, he has played in fewer games than Brady and Luck, but six of those games have come in the playoffs -- including Super Bowl LII -- and the four teams he’s beaten in the postseason have a combined record of 52-20.
Foles was playing for Philadelphia for all but one of those 12 games (the other came when he beat the Jaguars in his lone start with Kansas City in 2016), so he’s had the benefit of a good supporting cast on offense with, among others, Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount. He also had one of the NFL’s best defenses behind him in 2017 (No. 4 overall and in scoring).
Foles doesn’t have the same level of playmakers with the Jaguars, but he does have some good pieces. Leonard Fournette is the league’s third-leading rusher (831 yards) and DJ Chark ranks ninth in the NFL and second in the AFC with 692 receiving yards. However, the Jaguars need to get better production out of the tight end position (35 catches), and rookie Josh Oliver has made no impact in his first three games.
Foles’ biggest advantage is the Jaguars’ remaining schedule: It’s the easiest among the four AFC South teams. The combined record of the Jaguars’ upcoming opponents is 25-33 (.431), and only one of the six teams they play has a winning record (5-3 Indianapolis twice). It also includes games against Tampa Bay (2-6) and Atlanta (1-7).
The Texans have games remaining against Baltimore and New England. Tennessee has to play New Orleans and Kansas City. The Colts have the Saints on their schedule.
Foles’ first two games back are at Indianapolis and Tennessee, and they’re critical games if the Jaguars are going to be in playoff contention entering December.
“The good thing is there’s a lot of division games still left,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said. “We’re 1-2 in the division, but if we win out in our division, we’ll be in a position to go to the playoffs. There’s a lot of good football to be played.”
Looks like Foles is getting back in the nick of time.