Week eight saw a wide variety of quarterback play, ranging from Matthew Stafford’s incredible last minute heroics, to Peyton Manning tossing a season high three interceptions. There is a lot to digest concerning the top quarterbacks of the NFL, so here we go.
Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to pass in the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
1. Peyton Manning
I am looking for just about any excuse to bump Peyton off of the top spot, but sadly, I can’t find a legitimate reason for him not to be number one. Yes he has struggled as of late, throwing six interceptions over the last four games, but his overall level of play has been above everybody in the league, so even though he had another sub-par performance this past week, there is nobody that deserves the top spot more than Mr. Papa Johns.
Oct 27, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the Buffalo Bills prior to a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
2. Drew Brees
I say this week after week, but somehow, when we discuss the ‘elite’ quarterbacks of the NFL, we overlook Brees. He continues to play at an incredibly high rate, as evidenced by yet another great outing, this week coming against the Bills. Brees completed 76.5% of his passes for 332 yards, and five touchdowns. His accuracy and knowledge of what the defense is doing is up there with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (although Brady hasn’t had the best year), and Brees’ overall stats justify his top two ranking. He has tossed 19 touchdown, which is second in the league, his completion rate is over 67%, good for third in the league, and quarterback rating is an astounding 109.2, also checking in at number three. As if this weren’t enough, Brees has led his team to a 6-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of the New England Patriots two weeks ago. If those numbers don’t justify ‘elite’, then I don’t know what does.
Oct 20, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) waves to the crowd as he leaves the field after the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
3. Andrew Luck
Luck was on a bye week this past Sunday, so he couldn’t do anything to help improve his status, but his play through the first seven weeks, has been good enough to get him a top three ranking. Luck’s Colts are off to a 5-2 start, largely due to the improved play of their quarterback. Luck has thrown only three interceptions through the first seven games thus far, and after throwing eight picks through seven games in 2012, I would say that this is a significant improvement. In my opinion, the turnovers were the only major flaw in Luck’s game as a rookie, and now that he has appeared to make solid gains on this, the sky is the limit for this youngster.
Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks to pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
4. Matthew Stafford
As I mentioned earlier, one of the highlights of week eight was seeing Matthew Stafford lead his Lions down the field in the waning moments of their tilt with the Cowboys, and come away with a stunning 31-30 victory. This “clutchness” displayed by Stafford is a big reason why he finds himself in the top five this week. Stafford calmly delivered two well thrown balls to Calvin Johnson (who had an absolutely monstrous day) and a beautiful 40 yard bomb to Kris Durham on that game winning drive, before Stafford took it in himself for the winning score. It is moments like these that make a quarterback great, not to mention the fact that the Lions are now in prime position to make a run at the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
Oct 27, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Packers win 44-31. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
5. Aaron Rodgers
Speaking of the Packers, how about we give a little love to their quarterback? Rodgers overcame a rocky start to lead the Pack to a 5-2 record, which puts them in first place in the NFC North. Rodgers played a near perfect game this past week in Minnesota, completing 82.8% of his passes, to go along with two touchdown tosses. Rodgers has had to deal with a lot of injuries to his receiving corps, but he has continued to put up big numbers, along with grinding out victories week after week. Rodgers is sixth in touchdowns, fifth in completion percentage, and seventh in both yards and total QBR.