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Monday, November 12, 2018

Ranking the 15 best quarterbacks in the NFL

Russell Wilson

A very popular argument among NFL fans has to do with the quarterbacks: who are the best? Which team’s quarterback is superior? Whom would you trust to win one game if you had to?

We have no expectation that this list will settle any such arguments, but it’s still fun to debate. Which quarterbacks are the best? Who means the most to their team? Here are the top 15 signal-callers in the NFL.

15) Jared Goff, Rams

A breakout 2017 has ensured that Goff is regarded as one of the NFL’s rising young stars at the quarterback position. He threw for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions in his 15 games, a massive improvement from a promising but uneven rookie season. Expectations are higher than ever for his third NFL year, where he’ll guide an offense that will be expected to contend for a Super Bowl.

14) Andrew Luck, Colts

Luck was a top-ten quarterback before his most recent shoulder injury cost him all of 2017. Now, the question becomes how the 28-year-old will come back after a yearlong absence. The early reports are good, but we won’t really know for sure until we see him in a game situation. What we do know is that Luck, at peak performance with a solid team around him, is capable of 4,000 yards and upwards of 30 touchdowns. He could certainly move up on this list with a fully healthy year.

13) Deshaun Watson, Texans

Watson offered up a tantalizing glimpse of what he could be during his brief injury-shortened cameo with the 2017 Texans. There, he threw for 19 touchdowns in just seven games and added 269 rushing yards and two touchdowns with his legs. An ACL injury is a scary one, but Watson is expected to be healthy for the season. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off.

12) Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

How much can you derive from five games, all of which were ultimately meaningless as far as playoff contention goes? The simply fact is Garoppolo did, in fact, win all five of them, throwing for 1,560 yards in the process. He’d prefer to get his touchdowns up and his interceptions down, but you can’t argue with results. The 2018 season, the first where he will be the undisputed franchise quarterback of a team, will be a major test for him. He looks like he has the credentials to meet the challenges.

11) Cam Newton, Panthers

On one day, Newton can look lost at the quarterback position and throw inaccurate passes. Other weeks, he looks like the best quarterback in the league, a dual-threat dynamo not unlike the man who won the MVP award going away in 2015. Newton can be frustrating, but he’s still an immense talent who was responsible for 28 total touchdowns in a playoff season in 2017.

10) Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Cousins put up consistently excellent numbers in Washington, but never played on a team that was expected to challenge for a Super Bowl. That changes in 2018. Cousins has been brought in to bring the Vikings over the top, and he has all the weapons he could ask for to make it happen. This is a guy who nearly put up a 5,000-yard season two years ago, and he’s a pretty safe bet for at least 25 touchdowns. That consistency is vital, and it’s what Minnesota will be counting on.

9) Philip Rivers, Chargers

Even though Rivers is getting older, he’s still producing at a very high level. He’ll be in search of his sixth consecutive 4,000-yard season this year, and he cut his interceptions significantly in 2017. The Chargers have a very talented offensive unit with Rivers at the head of it. As long as he stays healthy, he should have no trouble returning to the neighborhood of 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns.

8) Matthew Stafford, Lions

Though the Lions have yet to taste playoff success with him at quarterback, Stafford has been the marker of consistency since 2011. He hasn’t missed a game, has surpassed 4,000 yards every season, and has led the NFL in game-winning drives in three of the last four seasons, with a remarkable eight in 2016. He’s not regarded as a truly elite quarterback, and will likely need to find playoff success to move into that bracket, but he’s still been excellent for Detroit.

See Nos. 7-1 on Page 2

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