NFL Power Rankings: Top 15 Quarterbacks Through Week 6
Two of the All-Time Greatest
The NFL has been a quarterback-driven league for so long, fans are used to seeing the same names at the top of every power rankings for this position. Usually after the first six or seven, most would probably agree that it would be a crap shoot if you were going to build a team with any of the QBs left over.
Yet 2012 has produced many surprises throughout the first six weeks, as we have seen the emergence of such names as Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco and Alex Smith turn heads as they lead their teams to very formidable records, as well as some rookies who might have made this cut. Yet for all the accolades that analysts, fans and teammates can give any of the following QBs, the NFL has yet again provided the formula for a dominating QB in the form of the old guard.
The only difference is where the old names fit on this top 15 power ranking, and the one surprise that I feel has snuck in among the best. Some may be surprised, others may disagree, but it is no matter where you put your top five QBs, just know that they deserve to be there and there should be no argument that they deserve the spot.
After the top ten, you may just want to throw the names in a hat and take your chance, because it really doesn't matter if you have any of these QB's on your team or not, they all will produce the same reaction: heartburn. So as we head into week seven, if any of these quarterbacks are on your favorite team, you will either be very lucky, or very stressed out. But it still beats the alternative of having a QB that is not on this list. Because if you do, all you can hope for is the start of the NBA and NHL seasons.
Michael Vick-Philadelphia Eagles #15
Even though Michael Vick has been plagued with turnover issues, he has still led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 3-3 record. Vick only completes 59% of his passes and boasts a QB rating of 77.7, but can still be an elusive QB that can beat you running.
Vick may the poster boy for Rolaids in the NFL, but you would still rather have him as your QB than say, Russell Wilson, Mark Sanchez or any other bottom feeders in the NFL.
Tony Romo-Dallas Cowboys #14
Understand that Tony Romo has the ability and the arm to be a top 10 QB in this league consistently. Understand that also, Romo is right there with Vick in the Rolaids commercials. It is uncanny with the talent that Romo is surrounded by that he is not able to excel and lead his team over the top.
It is the mental instability in the pocket and under duress that causes Romo to fall short of a better spot. He completes 67% of his passes, but has 7TDs against 9INTs and 2 fumbles on the year. If that's not cause for heartburn, then I don't know what is, but again, you would still choose him over some others not on this list for the possibility of a big game.
Robert Griffin III- Washington Redskins #13
The only rookie on this list needs to get his props. Robert Griffin III has led the Washington Redskins to a 3-3 record while posting the best completion percentage in the league at 70.2. Add to that 11TDs(6 rush) against 2INTs and you can almost forget about the few fumbles that have plagued him.
I know Andrew Luck might have a solid argument on this list, but with Griffin's arm and legs combined, the nod comes here.
Jay Cutler-Chicago Bears #12
Jay Cutler has one of the best gunslinger arms in the league and has led the Chicago Bears to a 4-1 record so far in 2012. He also is prone to pouting on the sideline while screaming at teammates and losing his cool which causes him to become erratic on the field.
You have got to love the fact that he can thread a needle in the secondary when he wants but Cutler's numbers just do not add up to a top 10 QB. Cutler has 7TDs, 7INTs and only completes 57.7% of his passes.
Philip Rivers-San Diego Chargers #11
Philip Rivers has had one of the roughest two game stretches that any quarterback could go through watching on the sideline as his Chargers lost late to the Saints in week 5 and was completely dismantled by Peyton Manning and the Broncos in week 6.
Rivers has always been considered a top ten QB until this year. He has 10TDs, 9INTs and 5 fumbles through week 6 and some would think that his window in San Diego is closing quickly. I tend to believe that Rivers' best years are truly behind him as long as Norv Turner remains his coach.
Alex Smith-San Francisco 49ers #10
Alex Smith has looked like more than just a game manager this year for the San Francisco 49ers. He has completed 67.7% of his passes and has 8TDs, 4INTs and 3 fumbles. Most of those turnovers came in the last game against the Giants as the pass rush seemed to rattle Smith like he was caught in a tornado.
Smith might have a spot in the top ten for now, but with Colin Kaepernick getting more and more snaps, the 49ers offense is beginning to look more like a hybrid that will hinder the progression that he has made.
Matt Schaub-Houston Texans #9
Matt Schaub has become a stud quarterback in the NFL. His Houston Texans are sitting at 5-1 and he has been steady with 8TDs , 4INTs and a rating of 91.6. What stops him from being higher on this list is his durability and the fact that he has one of the best run games in the league led by Arian Foster.
Schaub may be the leader, but when you can balance the attack behind a powerful offensive line and dominating defense, it is easier to sit back and just do what is necessary. I would like to see Schaub in more stressful situations before jumping him up on the list.
Joe Flacco-Baltimore Ravens #8
What a welcome sight to see Joe Flacco actually taking control of this offense, rather than just being a game manager as he has in the past. The Ravens are 5-1 to start 2012 thanks to Flacco completing 62% of his passes with 8TDs and 4INTs.
As the injuries mount on the Ravens defense, it will be interesting to see how Flacco handles the adversity going forward. Flacco, however, has the arm, durability, mental makeup and the weapons to stay high on this list for some time.
Drew Brees-New Orleans Saints #7
Most would question why Drew Brees is seventh in my power rankings, and I do understand. The New Orleans Saints are off to a horrid start at 1-4, thanks to a comeback against the Chargers in week 5. Brees is an excellent QB that can be in the top three at any time in his career, but this is not that year.
Brees does have 1720 yards with 14TDs, 6INTs, 2 fumbles, but is only completing 58.9% of his passes. This is very un-Brees like and the pressure of having to do too much in the absence of Sean Payton has clearly taken a toll on him. I do know that it will not take him long to reach the top again.
Ben Roethlisberger-Pittsburgh Steelers #6
Ben Roethlisberger has been as solid as a quarterback through the first six weeks as you will find in this league. While the Pittsburgh Steelers are only 2-3, the lack of run game and a defense that has shown age and wear is the bulk of their problems.
Big Ben boasts a 99.9 rating while throwing 10TDs against 2INTs with 1487 yards so far. Those stats combined with the fact that he is the hardest QB to bring down while in the grasp sets him up as number six on this list. Once you get to this point though, there is no wrong choice for which QB you would want to lead your team among those that remain.
Matt Ryan-Atlanta Falcons #5
The top five quarterbacks through week six are a special bunch that have shown ability, poise, leadership abilities and the opportunity to succeed every time they step on the gridiron. Matt Ryan has shown all of these traits as a QB that has his team undefeated through six games.
Some may argue that Matty Ice is good but does not belong in this upper echelon because of his lack of success in the playoffs. This is a power ranking through the first six weeks of 2012 and Ryan is more than deserving at this spot. Ryan has thrown for 1756 yards, 67.8% completions, 14TDs, 6INTs and a 98.8 rating. Not many others in the NFL at this point have better numbers and nothing but wins on the board.
Eli Manning-New York Giants #4
This was the hardest top four to choose as any one of the next QBs could have an argument to be number one. Eli Manning is probably the best "Awww Shucks" QB to ever play the game. He has an easy killer instinct to him that just ebbs from his arm to the spiral he releases.
This past week, Eli picked apart the 49ers as if they were the Buffalo Bills with the league's worst defense. Manning does have 11TDs and 5INTs while completing 63.6% of his passes, but he has his defending Super Bowl champs sitting at 4-2 with one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Let the haters begin to show, but is there anyone else you would rather have late in the game looking for a game-winning drive? Oh yeah, the other Manning. But you get my point.
Tom Brady-New England Patriots #3
No, this is not a typo, a grudge, a disrespect or a flat out refusal to put Tom Brady yet again as number one on any QB list. Tom Terrific has thrown for the most yards of any QB with 1,845. But with an explosive offense that relies more on the run game this year, Brady has not had to be the same quarterback we have come to know.
Brady only has 10TDs while completing 65.8% of his passes and 3INTs. Not a very Brady-like year, but when he has to, there may not be anyone better in the league. Anytime Brady takes the field, the New England Patriots have a chance to win against anyone not named the New York Giants. With that said, let's move on to the two best quarterbacks through the first six weeks of this young NFL season.
Peyton Manning-Denver Broncos #2
You can call me biased, or just plain crazy, but whatever the case, the stats simply do not lie. When looking at the top two quarterbacks through the first six weeks, the standard should not alone be about stats. Peyton Manning has the Denver Broncos at 3-3 in a parity filled AFC Conference. But what he did against the San Diego Chargers last week was simply criminal. When a 36 year old QB completes 80% of his passes to lead his team back from a 24 point deficit to win a football game, there should be no argument.
Manning on the year is simply 154-227, 1808 yards, 67.8% comp, 14TDs, 4INTs, 1 Fum, and a 105.0 rating. Should anyone doubt the drive of probably the greatest QB to ever play the game? He is not only back, but determined to prove all doubters wrong. Add to that win in San Diego the fact that the Broncos have played some of the toughest defenses in the NFL and Manning's stats look even more impressive. There is only one other QB with better numbers than Peyton, and that is why he is number one on this list.
Aaron Rodgers-Green Bay Packers #1
No quarterbacks list is complete unless Aaron Rodgers is at the top. Rodgers is better than Brady at avoiding the blitz and releasing the ball and is one of the most surgical QBs when threading the needle to find his receiver. Rodgers is one of the smartest QBs to take the field, can take hits and also run for the first down at any time.
The numbers don't lie here either. Rodgers is 153-225, 1637 yards, 68%comp, 16TDs, 4INTs and a 105.4 rating. While getting the Packers off to what seems like a slow start, they now sit at 3-3 and look to go on a run with an easy schedule ahead after taking care of business against the then-undefeated Houston Texans. Make no mistake, Rodgers is the most complete quarterback in the NFL at this time and I do not expect him to fall from the number one spot at any time through 2012 barring injury.