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Is Matt Schaub washed up? Is he the next Jake Delhomme? For the first six seasons of his Texans career, Schaub was an above-average quarterback in both Net Yards per Attempt and Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. But last year was disastrous in a way that his poor conventional stats fail to completely capture (for example, Schaub threws picks six in four straight games).

But does that mean hope is lost? Schaub turns 33 in June, which means more than you might think. Sure, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can defy the odds, but 33 is still six years to the right side of the peak age for passers. Perhaps even more damning, Schaub’s steep decline in 2013 was his second in two years; he averaged 7.8 ANY/A in 2011, 6.5 in 2012, and then 4.5 last year; his NY/A averages (7.7, 6.6, 5.7) have followed a similar pattern. The graph below shows Schaub’s Relative NY/A and Relative ANY/A — i.e., his averages compared to league average — for each year of his Texans career:

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Yesterday, I previewed Saturday’s games with um, mixed results (skip the Denver-Baltimore preview and just read the San Francisco-Green Bay breakdown twice). Let’s take another crack at it by examining Sunday’s matchups.

Seattle Seahawks (11-5) (+1) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3), Sunday, 1:00PM ET

An offense where the star eats Skittle is a young one

Did you know Marshawn Lynch eats Skittles?

Once again, Atlanta is tasked with facing a dominant wildcard team. Is this the year Matt Ryan finally silences his critics?

Atlanta is only a one-point favorite, just the seventh time a home team has been given such little respect this late in the season since 2000. Home teams are 3-3 when underdogs or small favorites over that span in the divisional conference championship rounds, although one of those losses came by the Falcons in 2010 against the Packers when Atlanta was a 1.5-point favorite. But let’s focus on these two teams, because the stats might surprise you.

Russell Wilson edges Matt Ryan in Y/A (7.9 to 7.7), AY/A (8.1 to 7.7), and passer rating (100.0 to 99.1), despite having a significantly worse set of receivers. Ryan does have the edge in NY/A (7.0 to 6.8) but the two are deadlocked in ANY/A at 7.0. Both quarterbacks led four 4th quarter comebacks this year, and Wilson led 5 game-winning drives while Ryan led six. Considering one quarterback has Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez, and the other is a 5’10 rookie, I consider this pretty remarkable.
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You’re probably hearing a lot right now about how Matt Schaub is not a primetime player — literally. Schaub and the Texans struggled in embarassing losses on Sunday Night Football to the Packers earlier in the season and on Monday Night Football two days ago to the Patriots. Schaub posted terrible numbers in a defensively-driven 13-6 win over the Jay Cutler/Jason Campbell Bears.

For his career, Schaub is 2-5 (0.286 winning percentage) in night games and 41-31 (0.569) in day games. Among the 24 quarterbacks studied (more on that below), that drop in winning percentage is the largest such decline. You might think this is due to facing better defenses in night games, but that’s not really the case.

Schaub has averaged 7.8 Adjusted Yards per Attempt during day games and 6.0 AY/A during night games; that difference of 1.8 AY/A is the second largest among the twenty-four quarterbacks.

So yes, there is no debate: Schaub has been noticeably worse during night games in his career.

The table below shows all quarterbacks who have started a game this season and that have started at least five night games in their career. The data consist of all games throughout their career in which they were the starter. To make it a little easier to read, I’ve shaded the day and night categories differently:

QB
D_W/L
D_WIN%
D_Y/A
D_AY/A
N_W/L
N_WIN%
N_Y/A
N_AY/A
Y/A_DIFF
AY/A_DIFF
Win%_Diff
Jason Campbell28-310.4756.936.653-90.255.754.77-1.18-1.88-0.225
Matt Schaub41-310.5697.937.792-50.2866.946-0.99-1.79-0.284
Jay Cutler37-280.5697.36.8413-140.4817.16.08-0.2-0.76-0.088
Joe Flacco46-210.6877.116.912-70.6326.646.19-0.47-0.71-0.055
Ben Roethlisberger67-270.7137.947.7929-140.6747.857.14-0.09-0.65-0.038
Matt Ryan47-190.7127.197.037-50.5836.636.4-0.56-0.63-0.129
Carson Palmer48-580.4537.256.745-100.3336.556.27-0.7-0.47-0.119
Matt Cassel25-290.4636.596.114-50.4446.355.65-0.24-0.46-0.019
Matt Hasselbeck75-720.516.886.4210-60.6256.96.220.02-0.20.115
Aaron Rodgers40-200.6678.218.6814-70.66788.49-0.21-0.190
Alex Smith31-320.4926.616.078-50.6156.325.91-0.29-0.160.123
Sam Bradford13-200.3976.215.791-40.26.335.710.12-0.08-0.197
Michael Vick43-380.536.976.5515-80.6527.066.520.09-0.030.122
Mark Sanchez29-200.5926.645.828-90.4716.425.83-0.220.01-0.121
Tony Romo35-270.5657.77.6720-120.6258.177.740.470.070.06
Eli Manning61-390.617.136.5424-190.5586.966.68-0.170.14-0.052
Matthew Stafford16-210.4326.876.511-50.1677.476.90.60.39-0.266
Peyton Manning120-620.6597.587.3940-180.697.77.790.120.40.03
Tom Brady112-300.7897.397.4938-140.7317.557.90.160.41-0.058
Byron Leftwich21-240.4676.5163-30.56.656.470.140.470.033
Philip Rivers51-350.5937.87.5320-100.6678.18.130.30.60.074
Drew Brees79-620.567.397.1823-110.6767.77.840.310.660.116
Charlie Batch16-270.3726.725.789-30.757.738.221.012.440.378
Chad Henne12-170.4146.35.172-30.48.057.811.752.64-0.014

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