By Tom Green, Conor Perrett and David McDonnell.
This week we put our team to work by rating each starting quarterback from 1-32. We added up the results and below is our final tally from the scores. We also divided up the 32 starters and we gave our honest opinion on each.
We hope you enjoy!!!
1. Patrick Mahomes – No. 15 – Kansas City Chiefs – Age: 27 – Year 6
Writers ranks: Conor: 1 / David: 1 / Tom: 1
2022 stats: 8 games / 6 wins / 2 losses / 66.2 pct / 2605 pass yds / 7.9 ypa / 21 pass TD / 6 INT / 176 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 1 fumble
David’s take: The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is a generational talent that keeps improving his game which is always the sign of a top professional. He has become a master of his craft and I believe he is the best player in the NFL.
This season his understanding of the game has taken a step forward to match his incredible natural ability and ingenuity. Although he doesn’t have the ridiculous speed of Tyreek Hill at his disposal, he has become better at going through his progressions, understanding what defences are throwing at him and he has become even more unpredictable under centre. Currently he is leading the NFL with 21 passing touchdowns.
I love watching him play and he is one of less than a handful of players in the league who can put any game on his back and win regardless of the opposition. He makes the Chiefs perennial Super Bowl contenders and has built up an excellent connection with slot receiver Juju Smith Schuster in recent weeks.
Mahomes and his Chiefs are the team most likely to challenge the Buffalo Bills for the AFC honours and are realistic Superbowl contenders. Fingers crossed Mahomes meets Josh Allen in the postseason, as they never fail to disappoint.
Projected stats: 45 pass TD / 13 INT / 5536 pass yds / 374 rush yds / 2 rush TD
2. Josh Allen – No. 17 – Buffalo Bills – Age: 26 – Year 5
Writers ranks: Conor: 2 / David: 2 / Tom: 2
2022 stats: 8 games / 6 wins / 2 losses / 64.1 pct / 2403 pass yds / 8.1 ypa / 19 pass TD / 8 INT / 392 rush yds / 4 rush TD / 4 fumbles
David’s take: Josh Allen has been immense this season and week-to-week is showing why is on his way to being regarded as one of the best quarterbacks ever in the NFL. He is a dual threat quarterback and what sets him apart from most of the other similarly regarded players is his arm talent throwing the ball and his size and strength when he takes off on a run.
Let’s start with the former. He has the arm strength to put the ball anywhere and fast and has the level of ability to hit a home run pass on every play. His game has improved every season since he arrived in the league and this is a mark of a top professional who has dedicated himself to the game. He is better at reading defences and knowing how to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. When he runs with the ball, as he often does, especially on third and fourth down, he is incredibly difficult to stop as he is fast and has the power to make it through force of strength and will.
He has plenty of weapons in the passing game and has a top three defence which should be even stronger with the return of captain TreDavious White at corner-back. The Bills have an easy enough schedule facing none of the top six teams in our recent Power Rankings. The loss to the Jets last Sunday now sees them in a three-way tie in their division. The loss came from two poor decisions by Allen that resulted in turnovers. This is something he needs to clean up from his game, if the Bills are to win the Superbowl.
Projected stats: 40 pass TD / 17 INT / 5106 yds / 833 rush yds / 9 rush TD
3. Lamar Jackson – No. 8 – Baltimore Ravens – Age: 25 – Year 5
Writers ranks: Conor: 5 / David: 3 / Tom: 3
2022 stats: 9 games / 6 wins / 3 losses / 62.3 pct / 1768 yards / 6.9 ypa / 16 pass TD / 6 INT / 635 rush yds / 2 rush TD / 1 fumble
Conor’s take: Lamar Jackson has still been a star this year doing damage to opposing defences in the air and on the ground. Lamar has 17 touchdowns on the year for six interceptions, but it’s the work he’s been doing on the ground that’s been most impressive. Before this week Jackson was fifth in the league for rushing yards, with 553 yards currently from the quarterback position! He’s also averaging 7.4 yards per carry, which is a career high. What Lamar does on the ground is something the NFL hasn’t seen since Micheal Vick and even at that point I believe he has eclipsed Vick.
With the physical traits Jackson poses it’s only fair, he relies on them more than the usual stereotypical quarterback, leading to emphasis on the running game. Compared to his MVP season, Jackson’s passing stats are down with him only throwing for over 220 yards twice this season, but his results have not differed too much. Overall there’s been a lot of talk about Lamar’s contract situation this year, but the former MVP is proving himself to still be one of the most dangerous players at his position.
Projected stats: 30 pass TD / 11 INT / 3340 pass yds / 1199 rush yds / 4 rush TD
4. Joe Burrow – No. 9 – Cincinnati Bengals – Age: 25 – Year 3
Writers ranks: Conor: 6 / David: 4 / Tom: 5
2022 stats: 9 games / 5 wins / 4 losses / 70.0 pct / 2535 pass yds / 7.6 ypa / 18 pass TD / 6 INT / 141 rush yds / 4 rush TD / 3 fumbles
Conor’s take: Joey Cool is going along nicely in his third season in the NFL. The former first overall pick had a record breaking senior year in college that earned him that right, so when he broke-out last season it was only fair to question whether he could keep this production up every year instead of just one. Well through nine weeks, it looks like the Joey nicknames will carry on after a league high 481 passing yards the other week against the Falcons.
Since Week 1, Burrow has only thrown one interception and continues to play elite football with the third most passing yards in the league and 22 touchdowns. The big question around Burrow’s game will come in the next month, with his star receiver Ja’Marr Chase missing some game time. Burrow and Chase are among one of the most deadliest duos in the league, with them going all the way back to their time in LSU. How Burrow will do without Chase lined up will be a first for him, as he turns to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd to be his new man.
Projected stats: 34 pass TD / 11 INT / 4788 pass yds / 266 rush yds / 8 rush TD
5. Jalen Hurts – No. 1 – Philadelphia Eagles – Age: 24 – Year 3
Writers ranks: Conor: 3 / David: 13 / Tom: 4
2022 stats: 8 games / 8 wins / 0 losses / 68.2 pct / 2042 pass yds / 8.2 ypa / 12 pass TD / 2 INT / 326 rush yds / 6 rush TD / 2 fumbles
Tom’s take: The rise of Jalen Hurts has been one of my personal favourite stories from the first half of the 2022 NFL season. There were many skeptics entering Week 1 (including the person writing this), but Hurts has dazzled with poise and leadership far beyond his 24 years. Take a small bit of time out of your day and watch a post-game video of Hurts speaking to his teammates in the Philadelphia locker room. The confidence and belief in himself and the team around him is infectious and that confidence and belief is required to be the sole remaining undefeated team in the NFL.
We always knew Hurts to be a threat moving the ball with his legs but his impressive improvement throwing the pigskin has him winning plaudits. He is averaging 8.5 yards per attempt, 68.2% completion percentage and a 63.1 QBR, all top ten in the league, back this up. But he leads in the stat that matters most in the league, wins. Eight in a row and not looking to slow down any time soon, Hurts and the Eagles will slowly begin to cast their eyes towards January and hope to bury the demons of last year’s underwhelming wildcard performance.
Projected stats: 26 pass TD / 4 INT / 4339 pass yds / 693 rush yds / 13 rush TD
6. Geno Smith – No. 7 – Seattle Seahawks – Age: 31 – Year 10
Writers ranks: Conor: 4 / David: 9 / Tom: 7
2022 stats: 9 games / 6 wins / 3 losses / 73.1 pct / 2199 pass yds / 7.8 ypa / 15 pass TD / 4 INT / 196 pass yds / 1 rush TD / 1 fumble
Tom’s take: Geno Smith ranks at number six! And it is fully warranted, it’s been an incredible season for the former West Virginia Mountaineer. Number one in completion percentage, fourth in QBR, top five in passing touchdowns and sixth in passing yards. All while leading the Seahawks to an unlikely lead in the NFC West division.
Honestly, what Geno is doing is unparalleled in the modern age of the NFL. 2014 was the last time Smith was an opening day starter for a team, eight years passed by and it seemed that Geno would be only really remembered as the guy who got sucker punched by his own teammate and the guy who ended Eli Manning’s starting streak (screw you Ben McAdoo).
But here we are, Geno Smith is playing like a man who waited eight years for this opportunity. Putting together an eight-game stretch like this is no fluke. Geno has been on fire the entire season and made the Seahawks decision to back Pete Carroll and not Russell Wilson this off-season look like a stroke of brilliance.
This season will be remembered for many things, the comeback of Geno Smith is absolutely one of them and maybe a Comeback Player of the Year award awaits him. With the NFC as void of talent as it is, maybe the Seahawks could be a sneakily smart team to put some money on to make the Super Bowl. Write Geno off if you want, just don’t expect him to write back.
Projected stats: 28 pass TD / 8 INT / 4153 pass yds / 370 rush yds / 2 rush TD
7. Justin Herbert – No. 10 – Los Angeles Chargers – Age: 24 – Year 3
Writers ranks: Conor: 8 / David: 5 / Tom: 8
2022 stats: 8 games / 5 wins / 3 losses / 66.4 pct / 2254 pass yds / 6.4 ypa / 13 pass TD / 5 INT / 51 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 1 fumble
David’s take: It is hard to know what is really going on at the San Diego Chargers. On paper they have incredible players all over the roster and it is true that they have been one of the unluckiest teams with injuries this season. But it still doesn’t fully explain what has happened to one of the best and most promising quarterbacks in the league.
One thing when you study the metrics from Joe Lombardi’s offence, Herbert is taking less deep shots than every quarterback, which sounds curious when you consider that he has one of the best arms in the National Football League.
Another part of his game that is being under-utilised in my opinion is his run-threat ability. He is a big man who can really move and anyone who saw him at the Oregon Ducks can attest to that. I believe he can become a type of Josh Allen dual-threat quarterback with his size and speed. Losing most of his O-line to injury certainly has been a hindrance but rookie guard Zion Johnson has impressed.
Herbert looked more like himself after resting up during the bye week and he led his team to a late victory over the Falcons. With a record of 5-3, if they can continue to get healthier there is no reason why they shouldn’t make the play-offs.
Even with the long injury list, if the San Diego coaching staff don’t start to get the best out of Herbert in the second half of the season, questions will be asked. And a franchise with a penchant for changing head coaches have done so for less.
Projected stats: 28 pass TD / 11 INT / 4790 pass yds / 108 rush yds / 0 rush TD
8. Tua Tagovailoa – No. 1 – Miami Dolphins – Age: 24 – Year 3
Writers ranks: Conor: 7 / David: 12 / Tom: 6
2022 stats: 7 games / 6 wins / 1 loss / 69.9 pct / 1980 pass yds / 9.2 ypa / 15 pass TD / 3 INT / 35 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 1 fumble
David’s take: All the Tua detractors have been very quiet lately as he has the highest QB rating in the NFL with 115.9. The three games the Dolphins were without him they lost and the six games he started and finished they won.
For a more rounded perspective, let’s go back even further. Since the start of last season, which adds up to 20 starts, he has thrown for 4,633 yards, including 31 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
What I’ve always liked about Tua coming out of college is that he is accurate and has good timing with his throws. He doesn’t just fling it in there with power, he has that natural feel for putting the ball where it needs to go on time and he has always had that deep ball threat at Alabama. There are times when he throws the ball without having his legs set and in my opinion this has led to his tendency of under-throwing the ball.
For someone that lacks size and athleticism, he moves well in the pocket and I’m glad to see him delivering on the talent he showed at Alabama and putting a few naysayers back in their box. No doubt having an offensive mastermind in Mike McDaniel has been significant and playing with the two fastest wide receivers in the league also certainly helps.
The addition of Bradley Chubb will make a competitive defence close to elite that should make a team with play-off ambitions a possible post-season contender. One thing for certain, the Dolphins are back in the big time after a generation away from postseason relevance.
Projected stats: 32 pass TD / 6 INT / 4243 pass yds / 75 rush yds / 0 rush TD
9. Tom Brady – No. 12 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Age: 45 – Year 23
Writers ranks: Conor: 9 / David: 7 / Tom: 10
2022 stats: 9 games / 4 wins / 5 losses / 65.3 pct / 2547 pass yds / 6.4 ypa / 10 pass TD / 1 INT / -5 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 2 fumbles
David’s take: David’s take: So what the hell is going on with Tom Brady. I don’t want to be too harsh on a guy who is playing elite level sport at the age of 45 but he has certainly been inconsistent with his throwing this season. So why is this and what are the repercussions?
A lot of this has to do with the offensive line, in particular the middle trio of centre and guards are not performing at the levels that Brady needs them too. The two guards from the Super Bowl win in 2021, Ali Marpett was lost to retirement and Alex Kappa decided to get paid while protecting Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. More importantly, the prickly All-Pro centre Ryan Jensen got injured on the eve of the season
They have been replaced by an experienced veteran in Shaq Mason but also Robert Hainsey and Luke Goedeke, who were drafted in the last two years and are still learning their trade. Both starting tackles Tristan Wirfs and Donovan Smith have also been playing banged up for much of the season so the dam has been leaking water all season.
Brady was always good at moving within the pocket and this season he has shown less dexterity in this regard and he has taken more punishment than he has ever had before. You would expect a guy to be slowing up as he gets older but he never had much pace to begin with.
Surprisingly, he is getting the ball out of his hands quicker, with the effect that he is taking less time to go through his reads. The knock on effect is that his receivers are getting less time to get into the position to make the catches. So when you are looking at the Bucs this season you will notice that their collective timing has often looked off in every game and there have been many occasions where Brady should have been intercepted.
Even more worrying is that they can’t run the ball which is leaving them a lot of third and long, which is giving teams more opportunities to rush the passer. So what can be done?
I wouldn’t rule Jensen coming back this season. There was very little clarity when he was put on injured reserve and if you read between the lines, that sometimes means that teams are being coy in releasing pertinent information. Also they have had injuries to their receiving core early in the season but you would expect those to have been ironed out by now. Luckily they still have a realistic play-off chance due mainly to being in a poor performing division. This is a team that needs to get their act together and fast. Vita Vea has started to dominate recently, so if the defense can become shutdown that would be a big step in the right direction.
Projected stats: 19 pass TD / 2 INT / 4811 pass yds / -9 rush yds / 0 rush TD
10. Justin Fields – No. 1 – Chicago Bears – Age: 23 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 13 / David: 8 / Tom: 13
2022 stats: 9 games / 3 wins / 6 losses / 58.8 pct / 1322 pass yds / 7.1 ypa / 10 pass TD / 6 INT / 602 rush yds / 4 rush TD / 4 fumbles
Tom’s take: When writing this, I pondered the question, which quarterback had improved the most over the past five weeks? The answer: Justin Fields. And to be honest, it wasn’t really that close. The more I watch Fields, the more I like him.
Chicago seemingly were doing everything in their powers to hinder the development of their young signal caller by essentially placing all their eggs into future seasons. No disrespect to Darnell Mooney, but he could sit comfortably at number three on the depth for the majority of teams and behind him, yeesh. The offensive line was and still is a big ol’ mess. The first four weeks were as bad as expected, it seemed Fields was all at sea, holding the ball too long and not pulling the trigger when he had the time. To be fair though the offensive scheme wasn’t extenuating his pros, just highlighting his weaknesses.
The last five weeks have seen a trend in the right direction, highlighted by a dazzling display against the Dolphins, where he ran for 178 yards and passed for 3 TDs. Bears fans were clamouring to let Fields use his legs in designed run plays and it seems that is coming to fruition. The result, a much more productive and confident looking young quarterback who looks like he could be in fact the future of the franchise for a team and fan base that has been under-nourished at the position for so long.
Fields is currently trailing only Lamar Jackson in rushing yards by a QB this season and if that trend keeps going in the same direction, he will overtake him by the end of the season. That isn’t something that should be overlooked. The addition of Chase Claypool through a trade before the deadline is also something for Chicago fans to get excited about. Fields throws a very good deep ball and I’m excited to see how quickly these two young players can build a rapport.
Projected stats: 19 pass TD / 11 INT / 2497 pass yds / 1140 rush yds / 8 rush TD
11. Aaron Rodgers – No. 12 – Green Bay Packers – Age: 37 – Year 18
Writers ranks: Conor: 15 / David: 6 / Tom: 15
2022 stats: 9 games / 3 wins / 6 losses / 64.7 pct / 2091 pass yds / 6.6 ypa / 14 pass TD / 7 INT / 60 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 2 fumbles
David’s take: Where do I start with Aaron Rodgers? Look, he is still a top five quarterback in the league in my book. Because of his prominence, he gets too much of the credit when the Packers win and too much of the blame when they lose. This comes after arguably the worst
performance of his career where he threw three interceptions against the Lions. The previous week he played some of his best stuff against the Bills.
The contrast in his demeanor in both games is telling. In prime time against the Buffalo, gone was the frustrated persona with the disappointed body language. He was more encouraging with the younger players and maybe he was making up for throwing a few of them under the bus with a recent appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. But it seemed to work.
Last Sunday in Detroit, he had that ball of deflation look and he needs to lead his young team rather than be outwardly exasperated all the time. At this stage it is looking more performative than anything else and his teammates deserve better. It has been my forte to give Rodgers the benefit of the doubt as it’s hard to stop believing in a man, when you have seen him work miracles at the top for so long.
The truth is that the narrative of Green Bay’s season looks set and I think it’s time to count them out of any Superbowl conversations. With Rodgers about to turn 39 next month, Green Bay could likely be looking for a new QB in the next few months.
Away from the QB hype, where this team has been majorly disappointing is on defence. They have an excellent line-backing core and secondary but are not putting enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks to get them off the field. I hope they rally but that hope is based on what they have done in the past and not anything they have shown me this season.
Projected stats: 26 pass TD / 13 INT / 3950 pass yds / 113 rush yds / 0 rush TD
12. Dak Prescott – No. 4 – Dallas Cowboys – Age: 29 – Year 6
Writers ranks: Conor: 11 / David: 14 / Tom: 9
2022 stats: 3 games / 2 wins / 1 loss / 66.7 pct / 591 pass yds / 7.3 ypa /
3 pass TD / 2 INT / 45 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 0 fumbles
Tom’s take: Dak was a little difficult to rank in this exercise, I mean three games are hardly enough to place him in comparison to some QB’s with half a season of tape on them. I feel that this is the reason he finds himself at number 11 and not closer to the top 5, but the fact he is still ranked this high with such little game time is credit to the player he is.
Cooper Rush was fun and kept Dallas afloat when the ship could have sank, but the Cowboys are so much more dynamic with Dak captaining the boat. He orchestrated brilliant drives, made precise throws and steered the Cowboys to an impressive 49 points against an all at sea (I don’t know why I’m adding so many nautical references to a paragraph about the “Cowboys” QB) Bears defence.
The next time we do these rankings, I fully expect Dak to be challenging the likes of Jackson, Burrow and Smith for best of the rest honours behind Mahomes and Allen.
Projected stats: 12 pass TD / 8 INT / 2364 pass yds / 180 rush yds / 4 rush TD
13. Kyler Murray – No. 1 – Arizona Cardinals – Age: 24 – Year 4
Writers ranks: Conor: 14 / David: 11 / Tom: 11
2022 stats: 9 games / 3 wins / 6 losses / 66.7 pct / 2168 pass yds / 6.0 ypa / 12 pass TD / 6 INT / 359 rush yds / 2 rush TD / 2 fumbles
Tom’s take: Kyler Murray is an enigma of sorts, both on and off the field. Let’s talk on the field though, we have a man who is arguably the most athletically gifted QB in the NFL not named Lamar Jackson. An intelligent runner of the ball, his escapability and penchant for the spectacular leave this particular writer in wonder how a man of his stature can perform such feats. He can break out a 100 yard rushing game as easily as some of the premier running backs can. He’s so adept at it. And yet, it feels so rare to see.
Murray has ran just 51 times in 8 games so far, comparing that to the 325 times he has attempted a pass in that span and it becomes almost lunacy. This isn’t to say that Kyler is a poor thrower, far from it, but with a Cardinals team flirting with falling into an abyss of no return in regards to playoff aspirations you would think Kliff Kingsbury and co would find a way to utilise their star quarterbacks unique abilities a little more often.
I genuinely believe that Murray is a bonafide superstar and MVP contender if he opened things up and let loose. But alas, the return of DeAndre Hopkins will probably scupper any hopes I have of seeing Kyler run more.
Projected stats: 23 pass TD / 11 INT / 4235 pass yds / 678 rush yds / 4 rush TD
14. Kirk Cousins – No. 8 – Minnesota Vikings – Age: 34 – Year 11
Writers ranks: Conor: 12 / David: 18 / Tom: 12
2022 stats: 8 games / 7 wins / 1 loss / 64.8 pct / 1999 pass yds / 6.6 ypa / 13 pass TD / 6 INT / 38 rush yds / 2 rush TD / 1 fumble
Tom’s take: Having a team with the second best record in all of the NFL would place most signal callers up a little higher than this spot, but name a Quarterback with seemingly as many bipolar traits to his game as Kirk Cousins.
Even crazier is that it isn’t even on a game-by-game basis, it’s quarter-by-quarter. Cousins goes from looking completely comfortable and at home whilst reeling off 10+ straight completions to open a game to refusing to release a pass that could go further than 10+ yards. Inconsistency has been a defining part of his career and 2022 is proving no different.
That being said, I think the Vikings and new head coach Kevin O’Connell must be feeling pretty content with the overall performance of their QB. Often an ostracized figure during the Mike Zimmer years, O’Connell has developed a much better relationship with Cousins and I think that has allowed for Kirk to feel more confident. He does have them at a 7-1 record, and based on the dire outputs from the rest of the NFC North this year, a division win appears a foregone conclusion at this point. People will doubt the threat of a postseason run from Minnesota and Cousins, and they would be right to do so. But perhaps Cousins can get hot in January and Minnesota’s wait for a Super Bowl will finally come to an end.
Projected stats: 28 pass TD / 13 INT / 4273 pass yds / 81 rush yds / 4 rush TD
15. Derek Carr – No. 4 – Las Vegas Raiders – Age: 31 – Year 9
Writers ranks: Conor: 10 / David: 15 / Tom: 19
2022 stats: 8 games / 2 wins / 6 losses / 62.3 pct / 1880 pass yds / 6.9 ypa / 11 pass TD / 5 INT / 67 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 2 fumbles
David’s take: Derek Carr is coming off two of the worst Raiders defeats of the season. They laid an egg on the scoreboard against the Saints in the Superdome which was followed up by losing a 17-point lead against the Jags last Sunday.
The Raiders are one of a number of teams that are under-performing with the talent they possess on their roster.
In recent weeks, Carr was starting to motor with Devante Adams and the Raiders have leaned heavily on Josh Jacobs for offensive production. The passing stats have come mainly off play-action and the Raiders have used play action on 33% of their drop-backs as Josh McDaniels is trying to insert the Patriot way of slowing making your way up the field to wear down the opposition defence. Is this the right approach when he has a cast that has the potential to blow teams away? I’m not so sure.
What is concerning to me is that Carr has not been finding his two favourite targets from last season. Hunter Renfrow has been severely under-utilised since his return from injury. Last season he had the highest third down completion percentage in the league and one of the best tight ends over the last few years, Darren Walller has become anonymous this season. There was significant interest in his services by Green Bay before the trade deadline closed last week.
To me, this seems to be a case of a coach trying to fit his players into his scheme rather than adjusting the scheme to fit his players. I am a fan of Carr and he has enough credit in the bank with me, if he is allowed, to take control of this offence and start winning games. With a current record of 2-6, their season is over. There needs to be serious questions asked of whether Josh McDaniels is the right man for this job.
Projected stats: 23 pass TD / 11 INT / 3995 pass yds / 142 rush yds / 0 rush TD
16. Russell Wilson – No. 3 – Denver Broncos – Age: 33 – Year 11
Writers ranks: Conor: 20 / David: 10 / Tom: 18
2022 stats: 7 games / 3 wins / 4 losses / 58.8 pct / 1694 pass yds / 7.4 ypa / 6 pass TD / 4 INT / 51 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 0 fumbles
David’s take: There is no hiding away from the fact that Russell Wilson has had a very poor season so far. He is on a team with an excellent defence and I was surprised they traded their best player in Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins last week. Wilson has a trio of quality receiving talent and he is developing an exciting partnership with rookie tight-end Greg Dulcich, who has become his favourite target.
No one has been as surprised at how poor the Broncos have been as the prime time schedulers and there have been some tough watches involving Denver this season. Still they are 3-5 and are coming off their best win and performance of the season by coming from behind to beat the Jags in London last time out.
Sometimes it is good to get away and clear the head and Wilson helped pull a game that was going the way of the Jaguars out of the fire in the second half. His best throw of the contest came when he found KJ Hamler along the right wing for a big chuck of yardage on the game-winning drive.
Looking at Wilson over the last few weeks, one thing I think is that he has become too bulked up and it is affecting his movement in the pocket. One of the big dangers when he was at the Seahawks was that if you didn’t account for him, with his quickness and speed he would gobble up any yardage that was offered to him.
This is something I have often seen with smaller-bodied players across many contact sports that they work themselves to become as strong as they can be in order to compete with bigger-bodied players. He needs to remember he is a QB and not a linebacker or running back.
Losing a half-step of pace significantly impacts his dual-threat ability and makes him more predictable and easier to play against. If he dropped some timber, perhaps a stone and a half or 20 pounds, his mobility would return and in my opinion he would find his best form quickly.
The question for now is will he be able to cook when an ultra-aggressive Tennessee Titans D-line turns up the heat in the kitchen next Sunday? He will need to as the Broncos struggled with Travis Eteinne in the run game against Jacksonville and are facing an in-form Derrick Henry, who rattled off 334 yards and four touchdowns in his last two matches.
I am convinced Russ is still a top 10 quarterback in the NFL but I think we will continue to see inconsistency in his game until he improves his competitive conditioning and spends more time on the track and less time in the gym.
Projected stats: 14 pass TD / 9 INT / 3872 yds / 258 rush yds / 2 rush TD
17. Matthew Stafford – No. 9 – Los Angeles Rams – Age: 34 – Year 14
Writers ranks: Conor: 18 / David: 17 / Tom: 17
2022 stats: 8 games / 3 wins / 5 losses / 68.4 pct / 1928 pass yds / 6.8 ypa / 8 pass TD / 8 INT / 5 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 2 fumbles
Tom’s take: If the 2021 season was a Hollywood blockbuster for Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams, the 2022 season so far has been an underwhelming sequel which has flopped in box-office sales. To be honest, not many sequels live up to their predecessors, so we shouldn’t be shocked I guess.
Stafford himself hasn’t looked comfortable all year, throwing for multiple touchdowns in just one game so far (week 2 vs. the Falcons) and is tied second in interceptions. The Rams lack the depth in skill positions it did a year ago. Stafford and off-season darling Allen Robinson have yet to develop a good rapport and if it were not for Cooper Kupp, this would be the worst receiving corps in the league.
Maybe there’s more to the off-season elbow surgery Stafford had and we will see a return to the play of 2021 in the second half of the season. If not, a lot of soul-searching and a massive re-work of offensive personnel will be needed in tinsel town.
Clearly the Rams like the roster they currently have, or are certain of bringing Odell Beckham Jr. back into the fold once his injury has healed, because they didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline passed on Tuesday? We should find out soon.
Projected stats: 17 pass TD / 17 INT / 4097 pass yds / 11 rush yds / 2 rush TD
18. Ryan Tannehill – No. 17 – Tennessee Titans – Age: 34 – Year 11
Writers ranks: Conor: 16 / David: 24 / Tom: 16
2022 stats: 6 games / 4 wins / 2 losses / 65.1 pct / 1097 pass yds / 7.5 ypa / 6 pass TD / 3 INT / 29 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 1 fumble
Conor’s take: Tannehill’s stats don’t exactly blow you out of this world but what he continues to do is be careful with the football and produce when his name is called upon. When your running back is ‘The King’ Derrick Henry, it’s handy handing the ball off to him and then just getting to throw the ball when defences are fed up trying to tackle Henry.
It’s a job Tannehill is great at and it’s been the difference to some of their games that had the Titans on a five game winning streak before losing the the Chiefs last time out. Being at the helm for four of those five games, Tannehill has only turned the ball over once to his four touchdowns. It’s earned him the right to a 69.2 PFF grade as his team continues to win after a shaky start.
Tannehill might not be the electric quarterback that teams think they need in order to compete for championships, but he goes about his work slowly and gets the job done when it’s time to finish up.
Projected stats: 15 pass TD / 8 INT / 2743 pass yds / 72 rush yds / 3 rush TD
19. Jimmy Garoppolo – No. 10 – San Francisco 49ers – Age: 30 – Year 9
Writers ranks: Conor: 17 / David: 25 / Tom: 14
2022 stats: 7 games / 4 wins / 3 losses / 66.7 pct / 1691 pass yds / 8.1 ypa / 11 pass TD / 4 INT / 23 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 1 fumble
Tom’s take: At the risk of falling flat on my face with this “hot take”, I’m going to say it anyway, Jimmy G is playing his best football since his first season in San Francisco in 2017. I know, I’ll try to calm down now.
But honestly, this version of Jimmy G is better than the one who was under centre of the 2019 NFC Champion 49ers team. That being said, you need to surround Garoppolo with highly skilled play-makers to bring the best out of him. San Francisco have done just that,
adding RB Christian McCaffrey through a trade and it is already paying dividends during last week’s drubbing of the Rams. Garoppolo produced one of the most efficient and impressive performances of his career (20-25, 2 TDs and a 81.1 QBR).
If the 49ers are to reach the playoffs again this season, they will need games like this more often from Jimmy. Who knows if this will be enough for Kyle Shanahan to decide to ditch the Trey Lance experiment and stick with Garoppolo, but I do think it’s enough to ensure he’ll be starting somewhere in 2023?
Projected stats: 25 pass TD / 9 INT / 3865 pass yds / 53 rush yds / 2 rush TD
20. Trevor Lawrence – No. 16 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Age: 22 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 19 / David: 20 / Tom: 22
2022 stats: 9 games / 3 wins / 6 losses / 64.3 pct / 2075 pass yds / 6.7 ypa / 11 pass TD / 6 INT / 152 rush yds / 3 rush TD / 4 fumbles
Conor’s take: Lawrence got off to a hot start this season, but the last few weeks have shown his turnover self from his rookie year. Through the last five games, Lawrence has turned the ball over six times to three passing touchdowns. Now there is no problem being a gunslinger, some of the best QBs have been like that and the Super Bowl last year both had gun-slinging quarterbacks either side. But when you’re attempting the risky big time throws, you have to be completing the easy throws and he’s been missing simple passes too much.
Lawrence was regarded as a generational talent when he came out of college and that talent is still inside of him, it just feels he needs to walk before he runs. Throughout college and high-school Lawrence was always on the best team and when you’re in that position you can afford to play like how he is now. But the reality in the NFL is different and when playing for Jacksonville you have to play to your resources around you. Trevor should be allowed to play to how he’s comfortable, but he’s not at Clemson anymore, when if you turn the ball over your defence would get it straight back. There’s consequences to his turnovers now.
Projected stats: 21 pass TD / 11 INT / 3919 pass yds / 287 rush yds / 6 rush TD
21. Jared Goff – No. 16 – Detroit Lions – Age: 28 – Year 7
Writers ranks: Conor: 22 / David: 26 / Tom: 20
2022 stats: 8 games / 2 wins / 6 losses / 62.9 pct / 2041 pass yds / 7.4 ypa / 14 pass TD / 7 INT / 29 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 1 fumble
Tom’s take: It was all going so well for Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions, 11 touchdown passes after four games and the number one offence in the league. Well three games later and Goff has added just a sole touchdown pass and the Lions have dropped out of the top 10 on offence. Two straight games without a touchdown, including being shut out by the Patriots in week 5 will do that I guess.
Goff hasn’t really been the major issue in this slump, but yet again he seems unable to elevate his team. Goff is a tick below an average starting quarterback, the Lions are looking likely to be picking at the pointy end of the NFL Draft in April 2023 and it would be a mistake for them to not consider taking a QB with that selection, in spite of all their defensive inabilities.
Goff has eight games left to either prove that statement to be untrue or win just enough games to take the Lions out of contention for a Bryce Young or CJ Stroud. Time will tell I guess.
Projected stats: 30 pass TD / 15 INT / 4337 pass yds / 62 rush yds / 0 rush TD
22. Jacoby Brissett – No. 7 – Cleveland Browns – Age: 29 – Year 7
Writers ranks: Conor: 21 / David: 21 / Tom: 26
2022 stats: 8 games / 3 wins / 5 losses / 63.9 pct / 1862 pass yds / 7.3 ypa / 7 pass TD / 5 INT / 142 rush yds / 2 rush TD / 0 fumbles
Conor’s take: When Brissett filled in for Deshaun Watson, nobody expected his outcome to be running the offence to 8th in offensive DVOA. But that’s exactly what Brissett has done and his performance so far and probably earned himself another shot at a starter job next season. His performance this Halloween on Monday Night Football was his best, when he teed off on an elite Bengals defence. With 278 passing yards on the night and a passing and rushing touchdown to show, Brisseett has been efficient with the ball in his hands.
The last three weeks, he’s thrown for over 250 yards in each game and he also had an average of 79.4% completing percentage the last two weeks with zero turnovers. It would be easy to see the performances of Nick Chubb and imagine he’s carrying the Browns to their great offensive performances, but the reality is Brissett is also heavily involved and deserves praise for how things are going in Cleveland.
Projected stats: 15 pass TD / 11 INT / 3957 pass yds / 302 rush yds / 4 rush TD
23. Zach Wilson – No. 2 – New York Jets – Age: 23 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 26 / David: 16 / Tom: 27
2022 stats: 6 games / 5 wins / 1 loss / 57.5 pct / 1202 pass yds / 7.2 ypa / 4 pass TD / 5 INT / 68 rush yds / 2 rush TD / fumbles
David’s take: When Zach Wilson came back in Week 5, he was at the helm as the Jets rattled off four wins in a four. In hindsight, that record was mainly due to an outstanding defence and an offence that was heavily run-dependent and lent on the rushing magic of rookie Breece Hall.
One thing I love about Wilson is the way he throws the ball. He just has that natural ability to ping it with a perfect spiral and he is to me undoubtedly one of the most natural throwers of a football in the league.
Where it is coming undone is consistency and there are growing pains which are to be expected for a QB in their second season. He is not the only QB who is going through a sophomore slump and you could make similar comparisons about Trevor Laurence and Mac Jones. Only Justin Fields has shown significant improvement on his rookie season and that has only been evident in the second quarter of the season.
In the three wins leading up to the week 8 loss to the Patriots, Wilson threw for 210, 110 and 121 yards, which is hardly setting the world alight. If you look at the headlines of the loss to the Patriots, you will no doubt see that he threw two unforgivable interceptions. You won’t hear too many people saying this right now but in my opinion there is a lot to be positive about Wilson’s game. But further investigation into the loss to the Patriots, I believe sheds better light on his current situation.
His three interceptions came off one technical error and two mental mistakes. His first one came as he threw while pedaling backwards and leaning back, he overthrew his intended
receiver. The second turnover came after the breakdown of in play, he was throwing the ball away and left it short of the sideline only to be intercepted by Devin McCourty. The worst one came in the fourth quarter, when again after a play had broken down he flung the ball into traffic and McCourty picked him off again.
What I like about Wilson is that he has fight in him and he brought the Jets up the field to make it a five-point game with just under two minutes left. On the day he had 355 passing yards including 115 to rookie receiver Garrett Wilson. I can just see ‘Wilson to Wilson’ becoming a common refrain. All this down his starting running back and his two best offensive lineman, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton, on injured reserve.
A lot of people are quite down on Wilson but I am not one of them and I see enough green shoots to believe that with more experience, this is a young player who could blossom into an NFL superstar. Often the best way to learn is to make mistakes and to learn from them. Wilson has something about him that reminds me of Aaron Rodgers and although in a minority right now, I think he could be something special if he continues to learn his trade.
Last weekend he led the Jets to a surprise win over the Buffalo Bills. Another example of his bouncing back after the previous week.
Projected stats: 9 pass TD / 12 INT / 2805 pass yds / 159 rush yds / 3 rush TD
24. Daniel Jones – No. 8 – New York Giants – Age: 25 – Year 4
Writers ranks: Conor: 25 / David: 23 / Tom: 21
2022 stats: 8 games / 6 wins / 2 losses / 65.0 pct / 1399 pass yds / 6.4 ypa / 6 pass TD / 2 INT / 363 rush yds / 3 rush TD / 1 fumble
Tom’s take: It’s been a long three years but I think it’s finally okay to start using the ‘Danny Dimes’ moniker again for Daniel Jones. The Giants have been a remarkable feel good story so far this season, reeling off an impressive six wins (including four on the bounce). Jones and the Giants have been down in a lot of games but have seemingly developed a culture where they never feel truly out of any game.
Maybe a lot of that has to do with the return to superstardom of Saquon Barkley or the hire of Brian Daboll as head coach or Wink Martindale coaching up a fiery defence. But can we give some love to the Giants quarterback as well please? The guy is playing his heart out there and is a really impressive runner when he isn’t falling over.
He isn’t going to flash on the box score, nor should he, the Giants offence rolls through Barkley, but he is giving the front office in New York a reason to be questioning their decision to not take up his fifth-year rookie option. I think we’ll see the Giants playing football come January and how he performs then will be a definitive answer in the question of if he is the future at QB for G-Men.
Projected stats: 13 pass TD / 4 INT / 2973 pass yds / 771 rush yds / 6 rush TD
25. Marcus Mariota – No. 1 – Atlanta Falcons – Age: 28 – Year 8
Writers ranks: Conor: 24 / David: 22 / Tom: 23
2022 stats: 9 games / 4 wins / 5 losses / 62.9 pct / 1561 pass yds / 7.8 ypa / 10 pass TD / 6 INT / 304 rush yds / 3 rush TD / 6 fumbles
David’s take: Outside of Geno Smith, the resurgence of Marcus Mariota from the NFL scrapheap has been wonderful to watch and one of the feel-good stories of the season. The Falcons have built their offence around his dual-threat skill set and surrounded him with players such as Kyle Pitts and Drake London, who at 6 ‘6 and 6 ‘3 respectively, are a match-up nightmare with their size and gigantic catch radius or radii or radiuses. I give up!!!
The Falcons are awesome to watch on a weekly basis and most of their games have gone down to the wire. They score a lot of points and concede a lot of points and being competitive most weeks has allowed the impressive Young-hue Koo to often kick them to victory.
They have surpassed all expectations and who could have predicted that they would sit joint-top of the NFC South with a record of 4-6. They have given themselves a chance of making the playoffs but more importantly of being relevant in December.
Mariota has been key and he has the athleticism to adhere to a dual-threat game plan. He still struggles with his accuracy and that is unlikely to change but on a brighter note he has started to build up a better connection with Pitts in recent weeks.
The loss of Calvin Ridley in a surprising trade to Jacksonville gives Atlanta more capital to draft one of the handful of dual-threat QBs coming out next year. It is a complex trade with the Jags but it could result in a second round pick should Ridley sign a contract extension for the Jags. The Falcons have a multitude of late round picks that could be used to move up the draft board, which I believe is at the heart of that surprising move. Watching Mariota has been fun but he is not the long term answer.
Projected stats: 19 pass TD / 11 INT / 2949 pass yds / 574 rush yds / 6 rush TD
26. Mac Jones – No. 10 – New England Patriots – Age: 24 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 28 / David: 19 / Tom: 25
2022 stats: 6 games / 3 wins / 3 losses / 66.1 pct / 1140 pass yds / 6.8 ypa / 4 pass TD / 7 INT / 78 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 1 fumble
David’s take: Mac Jones is under pressure mainly from within the Patriots camp and nobody expected the emergence of Bailey Zappe as a potential threat to his starter position. So far this season Mac Jones is a quarterback going through a sophomore slump and like many in the same position is struggling for form and consistency.
What I like about Jones is he is smart and can confidently manage a game, which is what the Pats ask of him to do. He is not the most athletic but he can still pick up a first down if a defence gives him too much space. He is a good decision maker and is likely to keep improving as he gets more games under his belt.
I guessed that Belichick would go with Jones last weekend but with the home crowd in Foxboro enamored with the rookie Zappe, it is a tricky time for Jones especially if he is struggling or losing at home. At the last home game, the home supporters cheered wildly when he was replaced by his understudy.
I believe there is certainly an NFL starter in Jones and like the other young quarterbacks he needs to keep learning as his career progresses. I think he suits how New England wants their offence to play and having a strong running game takes a lot of pressure off him trying to outscore teams without a blue chip pass-catcher at any position. This is something the Pats will need to remedy in the off-season. Whether they do it in free agency or in the draft will be interesting. Because the last time they went either direction, they failed miserably.
What will be most intriguing is when Bill Belichick makes a decision between the pair and if Jones was to be put on the trading block, I could see the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Commanders being two of the teams interested in his services.
Projected stats: 9 pass TD / 16 INT / 2660 pass yds / 182 rush yds / 2 rush TD
27. Andy Dalton – No. 14 – New Orleans Saints – Age: 35 – Year 12
Writers ranks: Conor: 23 / David: 29 / Tom: 24
2022 stats: 6 games / 2 wins / 4 losses / 65.3 pct / 1385 pass yds / 7.3 ypa / 10 pass TD / 5 INT / 33 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 3 fumbles
David’s take: Andy Dalton is a safe pair of hands, well a safer pair of hands than Jameis Winston and that is why he is under centre for the New Orleans Saints. He is an experienced QB playing in his 12th season in the league and is adept at reading coverages and moving his team up the field. One of the reasons for his success in New Orleans is having the Swiss-army-knife talent of Taysom Hill in their back pocket and he routinely gets them over the gain-line on third down and in the red zone.
The pair together make it tricky for defensive coordinators to visualize where and when they will be attacked and with Alvin Kamara motoring again, it will open the playbook for more play-action for Dalton and run-options for Hill. This is a team laden with talent and they have the ability to dominate teams especially in the Superdome.
Their QB combo will do for now but is not going to win them a Superbowl. Without a first rounder in next year’s draft, they will probably have to trade for another veteran to be their new QB in the off-season or take a punt on a young talent falling out of the first round.
Projected stats: 18 pass TD / 9 INT / 2539 pass yds / 61 rush yds / 0 rush TD
28. Taylor Heinicke – No. 4 – Washington Commanders – Age: 29 – Year 7 Writers ranks: Conor: 27 / David: 27 / Tom: 28
2022 stats: 3 games / 2 wins / 1 loss / 63.0 pct / 629 pass yds / 6.8 ypa /
5 pass TD / 3 INT / 50 rush yds / 1 rush TD / 3 fumbles
Tom’s take: Not the most physically imposing or gifted quarterback, but few in this league play with as much heart and fury as Taylor Heinicke.
Entering the league in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion. Floating around back up roles, practice squads and free agency for most of his seven year career has formed Heinicke into a gritty journeyman who you know will leave everything he has on the field. You have to respect the hustle he shows.
And so far in 2022, Heinicke is 2-1, helping lead the Commanders back to a just below 500 record and still very much in NFC wildcard contention. He has a fantastic connection with Washington’s best player: Terry McLaurin and knows what to do when the game comes to crunch time.
If I was a Commanders fan, I would be quite comfortable riding the season out with Heinicke over a return to Carson Wentz once he is back from IR. And I wouldn’t doubt he fights and claws them into the postseason again this year.
Projected stats: 18 pass TD / 11 INT / 2306 pass yds / 183 rush yds / 4 rush TD
29. Kenny Pickett – No. 8 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Age: 28 – Year 6
Writers ranks: Conor: 32 / David: 28 / Tom: 29
2022 stats: 3 games / 1 win / 2 losses / 67.9 pct / 962 pass yds / 5.8 ypa / 2 pass TD / 8 INT / 98 rush yds / 2 rush TD / 0 fumbles
Conor’s take: Kenny Pickett has looked interesting for sure in his first few starts in the NFL. Granted the stats don’t look great, with 10 turnovers through five games. But he’s shown to be a quick decision maker that trusts his wide receivers. Pittsburgh hasn’t had a losing season like this for a while, so maintaining Pickett’s confidence and making sure he’s the quarterback for the future is key for that franchise right now.
The story of Pickett’s season so far has been the turnovers I previously mentioned, with eight interceptions and two fumbles on the season. Now some of these have been misfortune with tipped passes going the wrong way, but these rookie mistakes are starting to count up with the Steelers losing two games by one possession, in which Pickett threw three interceptions. Pickett will have plenty of time before he’s shown the door and in a well-run franchise, Pittsburgh should put the pieces around him in the next few years to know if he’s the guy or not.
Projected stats: 8 pass TD / 32 INT / 3848 pass yds / 392 rush yds / 8 rush TD
30. Baker Mayfield – No. 6 – Carolina Panthers – Age: 27 – Year 5
Writers ranks: Conor: 30 / David: 30 / Tom: 30
2022 stats: 6 games / 1 win / 5 losses / 56.6 pct / 1117 pass yds / 6.5 ypa / 6 pass TD / 4 INT / 40 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 6 fumbles
David’s take: Did the Carolina offence start kicking into gear with the arrival of Steve Wilks or was it when PJ Walker replaced Baker Mayfield? The truth lies somewhere in between. Walker was a huge improvement since he started and his teammates seem to be playing for him. That all came crashing down when the Bengals took a 0-35 lead into half-time last Sunday and Baker was brought back in.
Mayfield helped the Panthers score three touchdowns to add much needed credibility to the scoreline. I am not a fan of Baker and I think for a smaller quarterback he is slow to run and moves poorly in the pocket. If Baker is now back in favour I would not be surprised if he is out of favour again in a few weeks. I believe with a boatload of draft picks from the CMC trade in the 2023 draft, Carolina is likely to take a shot at one of the five college quarterbacks already circled to be drafted in the first round. I will be surprised if Baker is still starting for the Panthers next year and I don’t think he will have a starting job in the NFL.
Projected stats: 14 pass TD / 9 INT / 2606 pass yds / 62 rush yds / 0 rush TD
31. Davis Mills – No. 10 – Houston Texans – Age: 23 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 29 / David: 31 / Tom: 31
2022 stats: 8 games / 1 win / 6 losses / 1 tie / 62.8 pct / 1656 pass yds / 6.4 ypa / 10 pass TD / 8 INT / 28 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 4 fumbles
Conor’s take: For a third-round pick quarterback, Mills exceeded expectations last season in his rookie season, but his development into this year has not been enough to warrant a starting role in 2023. Mills hasn’t put together games in which he looks awful, but his lack of good moments is enough to overlook that. His position isn’t exactly ideal with Houston having an unstable team around him, but it always felt Mills was a stopgap quarterback similar to how they have been treating their coaches. With a good QB class ahead for the draft it seems inevitable that Houston would spend a high pick on that position, leading to a potential challenge for Mills. Throwing for a reasonable 1656 yards on the season is good for 21st in the league, but his QBR of 31.6 ranks for 32nd, leaving a lot to be desired.
Projected stats: 21 pass TD / 17 INT / 3519 pass yds / 60 rush yds / 0 rush TD
32. Sam Ehlinger – No. 4 – Indianapolis Colts – Age: 24 – Year 2
Writers ranks: Conor: 31 / David: 32 / Tom: 32
2022 stats: 2 games / 0 wins / 1 loss / 61.5 pct / 304 pass yds / 5.8 ypa /
0 pass TD / 1 INT / 54 rush yds / 0 rush TD / 0 fumbles
Conor’s take: In his NFL debut Sam Ehlinger looked quite good as he just fell short in a loss to Washington. Ehlinger was named the starter for the Colts last week, after an underwhelming start which saw former MVP Matt Ryan not live up to expectations. The sixth-round pick in last year’s draft is well known for his time in college with the University of Texas, but he made his presence known in the professional sense this weekend. Throwing for 201 yards, the Colts didn’t see the negative offensive trends they were seeing previously with Ryan.
Decades of history suggest that the 2021 sixth-round selection will not prove to be the Colts’ long-term solution, but Ehlinger looked like he belonged under centre against the Commanders. The same couldn’t be said for his second start after a blowout loss to the Patriots, where they completely shut him down. Ehlinger might have the rest of the season in the starting spot still, but if Indy continues to see play similar to his Week 9 performances then it won’t last any longer than that.
Projected stats: 0 pass TD / 5 INT / 1520 pass yds / 270 rush yds / 0 rush TD