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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Ranking the 15 best quarterbacks in the NFL

Matt Ryan

7) Matt Ryan, Falcons

Ryan’s resume looks an awful lot like Stafford’s but with a Super Bowl appearance tacked on. Even after a relative down year in 2017, Ryan is a consistently high-quality passer with a career 95-63 record. In ten playoff games, he’s thrown 20 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. Expect another very strong season in 2018, especially with the Falcons adding Calvin Ridley to their receiving corps.

6) Carson Wentz, Eagles

Wentz might have won league MVP had he not torn his ACL and LCL late in the season, costing him three regular season games and the Eagles’ playoff run. In his 13 starts, he was at 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and was probably on his way to a 4,000-yard season had he played in all 16 games. Expectations will be very high for him in 2018, though he may be a bit rusty upon his return.

5) Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Roethlisberger has pondered retirement on occasion, but it’s certainly not because the game has passed him by. 2017 saw him throw for 4,000 yards for the first time since 2014, as the Steelers went 12-3 in his starts. He’s been very successful in the playoffs, going 13-8 in the postseason. With a very talented roster around him, there’s no reason to believe his numbers will slip much at all in 2018.

4) Drew Brees, Saints

The things that Brees does are amazing at any age, but it’s even more incredible when you consider that he’ll be 39 when the 2018 season kicks off in September. It’s telling when over 4,300 yards feels like a step down, but New Orleans balanced the offense a bit more last season, which allowed Brees to be sharper with the ball. His touchdown passes dropped, but his eight interceptions were his lowest-ever tally as a New Orleans Saint. The tradeoff was worth it — his 72 percent completion rate was a career-best.

3) Russell Wilson, Seahawks

As the rest of the Seahawks get older around him, Wilson only seems to get better. He threw 34 touchdown passes in 2017 and ran for three more, fell just short of 4,000 yards, and was a dark-horse MVP candidate for a while. He’s an excellent passer and has dual-threat ability that makes him unique among NFL quarterbacks. He’s good enough to keep Seattle competitive even as the Legion of Boom splinters for good.

2) Aaron Rodgers, Packers

You need only compare the records of the Packers with and without Rodgers in the lineup to know how vital he is to the team. When the two-time MVP started for them last season, they were 4-3 — not great, but a winning record that could have been improved upon. Without him, Green Bay went a miserable 3-6. Rodgers seemed well on his way to another outstanding season before his collarbone injury cost him most of it. If healthy, he’ll have Green Bay firmly in the playoff conversation again.

1) Tom Brady, Patriots

Now 41, you’d have logically expected Brady to start slowing down. It simply hasn’t happened. He’s stayed healthy, led the NFL in attempts in 2017, and threw for 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns. He had a flawed Patriots team within a drive of a second-consecutive Super Bowl title despite a defense that struggled, especially in the big game. He’s still the best, and as long as he’s playing, the Patriots will have a chance to win it all. It’s as simple as that.

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