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Odds to Lead the League in Interceptions Thrown in 2020 NFL Season – Darnold Favored, Mayfield Close Behind

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in NFL Football

Updated Mar 9, 2021 · 3:19 PM PST

Sam Darnold, QB, New York Jets
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) reacts after throwing an interception during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
  • Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is the slight favorite (+1000) to lead the league in interceptions for the 2020 NFL season
  • A trio of QBs – Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield and Philip Rivers – trail close behind at +1100
  • See odds for each starting pivot to lead the league in picks within the story below

With Jets running back Le’Veon Bell in decline and the possibility of playing from behind, there’s a sentiment that Sam Darnold and New York could throw the ball more in 2020. The third-year quarterback has had turnover issues through his first two seasons, tossing 15 interceptions in 2018 and 13 picks last season.

Both of those ignominious efforts came over the course of 13 games each season. As such, the former first-round pick is the +1000 favorite to lead the league in interceptions this year.

With Jameis Winston safely holding a clipboard In New Orleans (last year’s league leader is the Saints’ third-string quarterback behind future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and Swiss Army knife backup Taysom Hill), Darnold is among an intriguing group to hold the dubious honor.

Odds to Throw Most Interceptions in 2020 NFL Season

QB Team 2019 INT Odds
Sam Darnold New York Jets 13 +1000
Daniel Jones New York Giants 12 +1100
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns 21 +1100
Philip Rivers Indianapolis Colts 20 +1100
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals N/A +1200
Jared Goff LA Rams 12 +1400
Dwayne Haskins Washington Football Team 13 +1400
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers 1 +1400
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons 14 +1500
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills 9 +1600
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins N/A +1600
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans 12 +1800
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals 12 +2000
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions 5 +2000
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers 13 +2200
Drew Lock Denver Broncos 3 +2200
Gardner Minshew Jacksonville jaguars 6 +2200
Teddy Bridgewater Carolina Panthers 2 +2500
Cam Newton New England Patriots 1 +2500
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans 6 +2500
Ryan Fitzpatrick Miami Dolphins 13 +3300
Justin Herbert LA Chargers N/A +3300
Derek Carr Las Vegas Raiders 8 +4000
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings 6 +4000
Nick Foles Chicago Bears 2 +2500
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys 11 +2500
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears 10 +2500
Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles 7 +2500
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8 +2500
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints 4 +2500
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs 5 +2500
Tyrod Taylor LA Chargers 0 +2500
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens 6 +2500
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks 5 +2500
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers 4 +2500

Odds taken Sept. 8th

Jameis Out of the Running

If you were a savvy bettor and saw this same interception prediction piece last year, we won you some money! 2019 preseason favorite Jameis Winston – who was going off at +750 – not only became the first quarterback to throw 30 picks since fellow Buc Vinny Testaverde turned the trick in 1988, but Winston became the first player to throw for at least 30 touchdowns (he had 33) and 30 interceptions in the same season in NFL history.

The key here: which quarterback has the longest leash? Winston was able to throw that many picks (he actually had 21 more dropped!) because he also threw those 33 touchdowns and 5,109 yards for the season.

Which signal-caller takes the title this year? Let’s investigate and make a prediction.

Ghosting the Favorite

I’m fading Darnold as chalk here. While his interception percentage rates (3.6 in 2018 and 2.9 in 2019) are comparable to Winston’s career percentages prior to last year (ranging from 2.8 in 2015 to 3.7 in 2018), Adam Gase isn’t Bruce Arians.

Simply put, Gase won’t put the former USC Trojan in a position to be as bad as Winston was in 2019. While I do think the Jets may pass the ball more this season, they won’t do it anywhere near the clip Tampa Bay aired it out last season.

Rivers Flowing

New Colts QB Philip Rivers is in the exact opposite boat than Darnold. He’s a veteran teamed with a head coach who wants to throw. In Frank Reich’s first year in Indianapolis (and Andrew Luck’s last), the Colts threw the second-most passes in the NFL at 644.

While Rivers is coming in as the wily vet, he also tossed 20 picks last year – and led the league in throws to the other team in 2014 (18) and 2016 (21).


2019 NFL Most Interceptions Thrown

Jameis Winston Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns 21
Philip Rivers LA Chargers 20
Jared Goff LA Rams 16
Kyle Allen Carolina Panthers 16

With Winston and Allen non-factors in 2020, this is a two-man race.

Baker’s Dozen … And Then Some

As far as I’m concerned, you can flip a coin between Rivers and Baker Mayfield to be the 2020 interception leader. Mayfield threw 14 picks his rookie campaign and 21 last year. The 21 would have either led or tied for the league lead in seven of the last nine seasons.

Mayfield has the gunslinger’s mentality (like a Winston or Brett Favre) to win this bet.  At +1100, Rivers and Mayfield may not be longshots, but they’re worth a shot for this embarrassing title in 2020.

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