1. Peyton Manning – Coming off of three neck surgeries and missing the entire 2012 season, I wasn’t expecting Peyton Manning to be the player he used to be. Boy was I wrong. Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. He still shows complete excellence at the quarterback position with his perfect combination of intelligence and skill. He’s continuing to make his wide receivers better, and he still has the arm strength to beat you deep. The only game he showed weakness was the game against the Falcons. Peyton threw an astonishing four interceptions in that game. Nevertheless, in every other game he looked like the best.
2. Aaron Rodgers – Aaron Rodgers’ 2013 season is very underrated. The main reason for that is people expect very much from him after the wonderful season he had last year. There’s no doubt that Rodgers had one of the best seasons there has ever been. He threw 45 TDs to 6 INTs and posted a 122.5 passer rating. The beginning of this season wasn’t great for Rodgers, but’s he’s gotten much better as the season went along and as he formed chemistry with James Jones and Randall Cobb.
3. Tom Brady – Tom Brady has been very good for the most part of this season, but there have been times where Brady has struggled. I think back to Week 2 of the NFL Season when the Patriots hosted the Arizona Cardinals. This was no doubt Brady’s worst game. He was inaccurate on some deep throws that could have one the game, and he made bad decisions during the entire game. This would lead to the Patriots loss. Once Brady can eliminate games like this, he’ll be on top of these rankings.
4. Matt Ryan – What a great season for Matt Ryan. He really has come a long way. He now excels when it comes to reading the defenses and making proper adjustments. He’s turned into one of the most reliable quarterbacks on first down. However, there are some games he leaves you scratching your head. Without a doubt, his worst game was against the Arizona Cardinals, where he threw no touchdowns but committed five interceptions. The Arizona pass rush got to his head, and forced him into making bad decisions. It’s still been a great season for Matt Ryan.
5. Robert Griffin III – Some of you are already ready to comment on this article about how I overrated RG3. I’m ready for it. I’m on that RG3 juice, and I’m not getting off. Since coming into the league, Robert Griffin III has been truly amazing since coming into the league. He’s been everything you want in a quarterback and more. He’s been extremely accurate and has made great decisions. He’s thrown 20 touchdowns to 5 interceptions in 375 attempts. And let’s not forget he’s a rookie. AND let’s not forget his ability to extend plays with his feet. The sky is the limit for Robert Griffin III.
6. Drew Brees – There was no doubt that last year Drew Brees was in the Top 3 of everyone’s Quarterback Power Rankings. However, times have changed. Brees still leads the NFL in yards and touchdowns, but now, he leads the league in interceptions with 19 as well. That’s very uncharacteristic for Brees, who threw only 14 last year. Not only has his interceptions gone up, his completion percentage has gone down, reaching 62.7 after being 71.4 last year. 2012 has been a year of regression for Drew Brees.
7. Tony Romo – The month of October was not kind to Tony Romo. Romo threw 10 of his 16 interceptions during that period. However, the month that stands out to me is December, and Romo excelled during the month of December. His mechanics and decision-making seemed to have ascended to a higher level. That is until the Redskins game. Romo went right back to his old ways in that game. If he can eliminate head scratching games like that, the Cowboys will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders for years to come.
8. Ben Roethlisberger – The common assumption is that “Big” Ben Roethlisberger has taken a step back. Believe me when I say that this is 99% false. Roethlisberger still shows great mechanics and decision-making at the quarterback position. However, the area Big Ben has taken a step back in is the clutch moments of the football games, most notably against the Titans, Chargers, Cowboys and Bengals. Three of those games were after his return from a shoulder injury he sustained midseason. I believe that injury hurt his play more than he lets on,and once he’s healthy, he’s going to be someone to watch out for in 2013.
9. Eli Manning – People are ready to blame Eli Manning for the Giants’ lack of success in the 2012 season, but I’m not one of those people. Eli has never been a great regular season quarterback and won’t be for a long time. he started off great, but the Super Bowl honeymoon ended very quickly. Despite all of this, I take Eli over everyone left on this list because I know that once we make it to the playoffs it’s over. Eli’s just not the game changer in the regular season that he needs to be. He’ll never be league MVP, but he has and will probably be again, Super Bowl MVP.
10. Joe Flacco – After the AFC Championship , it appeared Joe Flacco had finally gone to the next level. He followed up with a great performance Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s no doubt that there are games where Flacco appears to be a Top 5 quarterback. There are also games where’s he dreadful, like the game against the Houston Texans. Flacco registered a 45.4 QBR and a 0.3 Total QBR (0 to 100). He had a similar game against the Broncos. Flacco needs to find consistency before he get a higher ranking in the Top 10.
11. Matt Schaub – How can I say this? Matt Schaub is Matt Schaub. He’s not bad, but he’s not great. He’s good. He’s a pro bowl QB, but he’s just not game changing to me, and that’s what I look for. He also had some pretty bad games this year, a lot of them in December against the Vikings and Patriots. He also had some great games, like against the Tennessee Titans (first time) and the Denver Broncos. If he can be consistently great, then and only then, will the Texans win the Super Bowl.
12. Russell Wilson – This is where the young quarterbacks begin to show up on these rankings, the first being Russell Wilson. Wilson was blessed with having a great running game and defense, but don’t be fooled, Russell Wilson has been a big part of the Seahawks’ success. He started off rocky, but he’s been great for the later half of the season. My only problem with Wilson is his yardage. He never threw for more than 300 yards in a game. He didn’t need to. Once the defense and running game is non-existent, we’ll really see what Wilson is made for.
13. Colin Kapernick – I was initially going to put Kaepernick before Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco, but I stepped back after Kaepernick’s Week 16 performance against the Seahawks. I saw a Kaepernick that was unable to help the 49ers slow down the Seahawks. Aside from that game, Kaepernick has been great for the 49ers. He’s given them everything Alex Smith is not. I always wondered why they never gave him a shot after drafting him in the second round in 2011, but now I don’t have to wonder any longer. Colin Kaepernick is the real deal.
14. Andy Dalton – The most memorable game from Andy Dalton in 2012 for me is his game against the New York Giants in Week 10. The visiting Giants were 6-3 while the Bengals were 3-5. I think if the Bengals didn’t win this game they wouldn’t have made the playoffs. Andy Dalton was great from the start, making great decisions and accurate throws. He even completed 70% of his passes and threw 4 touchdowns. Dalton just needs to do better against the Ravens and Steelers defenses.
15. Cam Newton – Cam. Oh, Cam. The beginning of the year wasn’t kind to Cam Newton. He wasn’t able to lead his team to wins at all. They were embarrassed against the Giants on national television, and the offense couldn’t get anything going against the Seahawks. However, in the months of November and December, Newton was playing like a stud. He still has the potential to be a great quarterback some day. Hopefully that day comes sooner, rather than later.
16. Matthew Stafford – Matthew Stafford still has great footwork and arm strength. The area where Stafford has regressed is the ability to make good decision. Stafford’s decision-making has taken an alarming step back. He also needs to do a better job of stepping into his throws. I think Stafford’s been getting a little lazy with his mechanics which is hurting his production. He’s blessed with the best WR in the league, but that’s not good enough to win football games in the Nation Football League.
17. Andrew Luck – Colts fans are probably shocked by this ranking for Andrew Luck, so let me defend it. Don’t get me wrong. Andrew Luck played was good for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 season. However, he was good, not great. He did play great in the 4th quarter, but he did not play great throughout the entire football game in most cases. He ended the 2012 season with 18 interceptions to 23 touchdowns. He still had more touchdowns than interceptions, but 18 interceptions is just not great football. Luck found a way to make up for it with his big 4th quarter comebacks, but that’s not enough for me to move him in the top half of my rankings.
18. Philip Rivers – Remember when Philip Rivers was considered to be a Top 5 QB and even earned the “elite” label? It seems like such a long time ago now. I actually believe Rivers has improved from his 2011 season, but his team has regressed. More specifically his offensive line. Rivers was the most sacked the quarterback in the league in 2012, and to make matters worse, Rivers fumbled the ball 13 times. That’s just ridiculous. His interceptions are still too high, but at least Rivers brought the number down.
19. Jay Cutler – I’m starting to have serious doubts about Jay Cutler’s ability to lead the Chicago Bears. There’s no doubt the Bears have a Super Bowl caliber defense, but the offense is a completely different story. Jay Cutler has completely regressed. He made terrible decisions all year. You would think the addition of Brandon Marshall would help Cutler. It’s actually hurt him. Cutler tries to throw to Marshall in nearly impossible windows. The horrible play calling and offensive line isn’t helping Cutler, but at the same time, Cutler isn’t helping Cutler.
20. Christian Ponder – Christian Ponder’s season was inconsistent to say the least. The game that impressed me the most was Ponder’s game against the Green Bay Packers Week 17. It was simple. If the Vikings won, they’d be in, and boy, did Christian Ponder help the Vikings get in. His three touchdown passes were a huge part of the Vikings win that helped them cap off a 10-6 season. Although, I’d like to see Ponder be a bigger part of the offense. Peterson ran for more yards than Ponder threw during an eight game stretch. That’s a compliment to Peterson, but it’s also an inditement on Ponder.
21. Sam Bradford – Sam Bradford has actually impressed me this year. We all knew it was going to be a make or break sean for Bradford, and he did make it. He’s still not living up to his #1 overall pick stature, but he’s getting pretty close. He was able to stay healthy all year, he kept his interceptions down and he kept his completion percentage high enough. If Bradford can meet with a QB guru to help shape his mechanics, Bradford could lead his team to a playoff berth.
22. Carson Palmer – Carson Palmer’s 2012 season could be his last as a starting quarterback, but I’m not sure it should be his last. contrary to belief, Palmer actually played good throughout the 2012 season. My big problem with Palmer was his ability to keep the Raiders in games, mostly due to bad decisions in the early quarters of football games. This lead to the Raiders offense scrambling to get something going in the 4th and that never worked out for them. Palmer may start again, but I don’t think it will be for the Oakland Raiders.
23. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his starting job in Buffalo? I don’t think so. He just hasn’t gotten better. He’s still mediocre, and it’s hard to win games with a mediocre quarterback at the helm. His decision-making has improved, resulting in less interceptions, but he sometimes get lazy with his footwork, leading to inaccuracy deep. His eight fumbles were also very alarming. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Fitzpatrick in the NFL, but I do think we have seen him for the last time as a starter for the Buffalo Bills
24. Jake Locker – Oh, Jake Locker. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a die-hard Titans fan, so allow me to analyze. I think Jake Locker is a good quarterback. I just think he struggled because of two things: the change at offensive coordinator and his shoulder injury. Locker suffered the same shoulder injury as Ben Roethlisberger Week 4 against the Houston Texans. I think the injury impacted his play as it did Roethlisberger. As for the coordinator switch, Jake Locker looked much better under Offensive Coordinator Chris Palmer than he did under Dowell Loggains. I think with a full offseason with a new offensive coordinator Jake Locker will be a very good quarterback.
25. Ryan Tannehill – Drafted with the 8th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Ryan Tannehill had an up ad down year, mostly down. Sure he helped the Dolphins win some games, but was he a big part of those wins. I think the running game and defense helped out Tannehill in a big way. He ended up with twelve touchdowns to thirteen interceptions. Really? Twelve touchdowns after starting sixteen games? he needs to make a bigger impact.
26. Josh Freeman – Josh Freeman should not be freed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s played well. Except for in December. He was awful. He threw nine interceptions in that one month. Aside form that ridiculousness, Freeman improved from 2011. I really like Josh Freeman. He just can’t have strides where he’s throwing interceptions like that. Not to mention his ten fumbles on the season. Turnover Freeman shouldn’t be seen in 2013.
27. Michael Vick/Nick Foles – First, let me dive into Michael Vick. Vick had without a doubt one of his worst season during his ten-year NFL career. It can all be simplified with one word. Turnovers. In 10 games, Michael Vick had 14 turnovers, a lot of them being in the red zone. This led to frustration among the Eagles organization and their fans. I still think Michael Vick deserves to start in the league. Nevertheless, his run with the Eagles is coming to an end. As for Nick Foles, I like him. He shows some promise as a quarterback. If the Eagles decide to stick with him, I would not object to that decision.
28. Brandon Weeden – Let’s face it, Brandon Weeden’s 2012 campaign was bad. I’m sorry Browns fans, but the infuriating tale of QBs continues. The Browns could have gotten Russell Wilson, but instead, the elected to go with a 28-year-old that yes, showed talent in college, but didn’t show he could translate it to the NFL. Weeden has made some head scatching throws in the NFL so far. Not even some. A lot. He can definitely be fixed, but the question is how long will that take.
29. Blaine Gabbert/Chad Henne – Let me start off by saying, these two quarterbacks are not as bad as advertised. Though the improvement was minimal, Gabbert improved from last year. He even threw three more touchdowns than interceptions. It was the Jaguars defense and running game that hurt these two the most. The running game was nonexistent without Maurice jones-Drew, and the defense struggled all year. I’ll give them both one more year in Jacksonville. Which one should start? I have no idea.
30. Mark Sanchez – Mark Sanchez regressed in 2012. How the hell is that possible. Sanchez has been bad since he entered the league and he even found a way to get worse? Wow, only Sanchez could do something like that. Only Sanchez could throw eighteen interceptions to thirteen touchdowns. Only Sanchez could fumble the ball 14 times in a season. Only Sanchez could have a passer rating of 66.9. Only Sanchez could fumble the football after running into his offensive lineman’s butt. Only Sanchez.
31. Brady Quinn – The only reason Brady Quinn is not last on this list is because of the ridiculousness that is the Arizona Cardinals. What can I say? Brady Quinn is bad, has been bad, and will always be bad. We now know why didn’t play a minute last year for the Broncos. He’s awful.
32. Kevin Kolb/John Skelton/Ryan Lindley/Bryan Hoyer – Four quarterbacks started for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in my entire life. If Kolb was alone, he’d be higher. Unfortunately, he’s grouped in with these idiots. RYAN LINDLEY AND BRYAN HOYER. I don’t think I’ve heard anything more pathetic during my lifetime. Sorry, Cardinals fans. Your QUARTERBACKS (PLURAL) get #32.