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Comparing Josh Allen and Zach Wilson’s first 18 NFL starts

Numbers often paint a very different picture in a vacuum

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NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen, as most Buffalo Bills fans know, seems like a good, quality guy. Between his charity work and lighthearted personality, it’s why Bills Mafia and NFL fans all over the country love him. This week on Kyle Brandt’s new show Kyle Brandt’s Basement, Allen showed his good nature again when speaking on his adversary this week in New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.

“I think it’s a guy trying to make a play, and I was at that same position,” Allen said on Brandt’s podcast when asked to assess Wilson’s play. “I threw three picks against the Patriots my second year, and that’s kind of the game where it all clicked for me, after that game. So you can take that for what it is.”

Allen continued speaking on the sometimes long process it takes to figure out the game at the NFL level.

“Sometimes it takes a little longer,” Allen said. “It took me a while to kind of understand the nuances of this game and trying not to do too much. I think that’s what it comes down to, not trying to do too much and allowing you to trust your guys on the field with you.”

This interview got me thinking. It was well-documented how Allen struggled in his rookie season. The difference was, he flashed greatness in moments that gave us hope about his future. I haven’t watched a ton of Zach Wilson, but I was curious to see how the two signal callers compared when looking at the start of their careers.

Wilson will make his 18th start against the Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Allen made his 18th start on October 20, 2019 against the Miami Dolphins, where he led the Bills to a 31-21 win. I wanted to compare passing stats through 18 games for both players, and this is what I found:

Both players were highly-touted prospects coming into their respective draft years. Rookie quarterbacks notoriously struggle in the NFL. As Allen discussed, they have a rookie quarterback killer coaching in their division in Bill Belichick. Since 2003, rookie and second-year quarterbacks have a record of 4-43 at Gillette Stadium.

Allen has since famously taken a quantum leap in his play, garnering NFL MVP votes and being the leader of a team considered the Super Bowl favorite. Will Wilson take a similar step? Who knows. Allen was lucky not to have any disfunction around him as he developed. If Wilson does take a step, will it be to the magnitude of Allen? Again, who knows. But the trajectory of Allen’s career gives hope to guys like Wilson who struggle early in their career.

What do you think about the statical comparison between Allen and Wilson? Closer than you thought? Are we crazy for even comparing the two? Let me know in the comments below!