NFL QBs Power Ranking: No. 1 - No. 16
Of the 32 coveted spots under center in the NFL, all but three of the quarterback battles have been decided. The Jets, Raiders and Bills are still evaluating their candidates, with the Jets recently handing out applications to anyone that suffered through one of their preseason games.
After rookie Geno Smith threw a couple of interceptions and ran out of the end zone Saturday against the Giants, Coach Rex Ryan elected to throw Mark Sanchez to the wolves. Behind a junior varsity-level offensive line, Sanchez was walloped by Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin and injured his shoulder. That prompted a classic press conference from Ryan, who repeated over and over that he is simply not ready to name his starting QB.
Out in Oakland, Matt Flynn appears to be suffering from a severe case of dÃ©jÃ vu. Last summer with the Seahawks, Flynn lost his job to third-round pick and special dual-threat Russell Wilson. This time around, Flynn may be holding the clipboard for Terrelle Pryor. Sorry Matt, but that's what happens when two out of your six passes are picked off, only to be followed by an inspiring two-touchdown performance by Pryor.
As for the Bills, they seemed to have the quarterback quandary figured out when they drafted E.J. Manuel 16th overall. When Manuel underwent minor knee surgery in mid-August, the pigskin was handed to Kevin Kolb. And now, while Kolb is debating whether or not to change his name to Wayne Chrebet due to his high volume of concussions, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel may just be the man to start against the Patriots in Week 1. Breathe easy, though, Bills fans: you guys have Matt Leinart now, too.
Due to the highly realistic probability that the Jets, Raiders, and Bills get no more than 10 wins combined this season, let us move on to the rest of the league - and more specifically, to the rest of the gunslingers. Last year, I revealed my quarterback power rankings, in order of whom I would want starting one game for all the marbles. I took into account overall track record, previous postseason success, the weapons they currently possess on offense and my expectations of them for this season.
Like last year, I'm hopeful that this article will produce a lot of compliments, criticism and arguments. Because until the regular season actually gets underway, wouldn't you rather debate my top16 quarterback rankings than watch third stringers get action in the preseason?
1. Aaron Rodgers: Two years removed from an MVP season in which he had a career-best 45 touchdown passes, Rodgers is still my go-to guy if I had to win a single game. Plus, he's an angry man after being hoodwinked by Ryan Braun.
2. Tom Brady: Never, never count out Tom Brady. It was hard for me to place him over Eli Manning considering the lopsided head-to-head record, but I'm predicting a monster year for Gisele's man despite losing Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and, I guess, Brandon Lloyd.
3. Peyton Manning: It's even tougher to put Peyton above Eli, but we'll just let them battle it out Week 2. The elder Manning now gets Welker's services and, if Joe Flacco didn't sell his soul to the devil in the playoffs with that Hail Mary in the AFC Championship, maybe Peyton would have a second ring.
4. Eli Manning: Laugh all you want at this choice, but the man has two Super Bowl MVPs and has a 15-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those postseasons. Also, unlike Big Ben, Eli stays far away from motorcycles and bar bathrooms.
5. Drew Brees: Brees has the best tight end in football in Jimmy Graham and also gets Coach Sean Payton back. Now, if only Brees could help the Saints defense.
6. Ben Roethlisberger: A true warrior, Big Ben has to cope with the loss of Mike Wallace, who caught one third of his scores last year before taking his talents to South Beach. Pittsburgh better hope tight end Heath Miller recovers from that torn ACL quickly.
7. Matt Ryan: At 28, the $100 million man is in his prime. He also has the best receiving core in the NFL: Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
8. Colin Kaepernick: My man crush this year (sorry, Alfred Morris). He has only started 10 games, but Kaep is a stud. This is my pick for NFL MVP.
9. Robert Griffin III: RGIII ruled the NFL at times last year, throwing 13 less picks than fellow rookie sensation Andrew Luck. Not only does Griffin need to stay healthy, but top target Pierre Garcon must stay off the sideline as well.
10. Joe Flacco: After posting an 11-to-0 TD/INT ratio in the playoffs, he's no longer your Average Joe. Unfortunately, with Anquan Boldin in San Francisco and tight end Dennis Pitta injured, most of the receiving options are Average Joes, at best.
11. Andrew Luck: I'm not buying the Luck hype just yet. He threw for over 4,000 yards as a rookie because he was fifth in the NFL in passing attempts. His completion percentage ranked below Mark Sanchez's. So prove me wrong, Luck.
12. Russell Wilson: A class act, Wilson went from being a good story to one of the best quarterbacks in the world. Losing newly acquired Percy Harvin to a bum hip certainly hurts. Is there a sophomore slump coming?
13. Cam Newton: Yes, I just ranked last year's fresh-faced trio ahead of Newton. Remember, this list isn't solely based on stats; it's about the intangibles. "Superman" is a baby after losses and thinks he is God's gift to the world. Sounds like another Superman, eh, Dwight Howard?
14. Tony Romo: Cue the question "Is this finally the year Romo puts it all together?" for what seems like the 25th straight preseason. Simple answer: should No. 9 fail again, it's time to cut the cord. Get someone else to whip the ball around to top-notch targets Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin.
15. Jay Cutler: Cutler seems like a cool guy to chill with, but isn't it crazy that we're still wondering whether he's franchise QB material? He barely got over 3,000 yards last year, and in 93 career games he has 100 interceptions.
16. Matt Stafford: Stafford threw 57 more times than anyone else last season, and he has two stellar options in Megatron and Reggie Bush. But, in a drop-off that can only parallel that of Amanda Bynes, he went from 41 TDs in 2011 to just 20 in 2012.
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