The 2020 NFL season is only days away, which means The Grueling Truth’s quarterback power rankings are back. Last year, I ranked every team’s starting quarterback each week. We’ll go through the same process this season, ranking quarterbacks up until the playoffs.
Ordinarily, rankings feature stats from the past week, but, since this is for Week 1, quarterbacks appear without any stats. If you want a better understanding of how these rankings work, check out my first QPR article from last year.
Now, let’s look at how the NFL’s best quarterbacks stack up entering the 2020 season.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes won the regular season MVP in his first season as a starter and took home the Super Bowl MVP last year. Kansas City’s front office put in endless hours this offseason, re-signing all of the offense’s key pieces. There’s no reason for Mahomes not to hold the top spot in the pre-Week 1 quarterback power rankings, even if he struggles on some short to mid-range throws.
2. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson is the most well-rounded quarterback in the NFL. He can make every throw and possesses enough mobility to extend plays and run for chunks of yardage. Over the past several seasons, Wilson carried a mediocre Seahawks team to winning records. This year’s team is probably Seattle’s best unit since the Legion of Boom days.
3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson took the NFL by storm last year, leading the league with 36 passing touchdowns and winning the regular season MVP. His 1,206 rushing yards ranked sixth in the league, narrowly trailing Seattle’s Chris Carson. Defenses can’t contain Jackson because of his insane agility and speed.
4. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady isn’t washed up. He played on a depleted New England offense last season, but that won’t be a problem in 2020. Tampa Bay features the league’s top offense in terms of personnel. Expectations are sky-high for Brady and Head Coach Bruce Arians.
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Despite missing five games last season, Brees still made his 13th Pro Bowl. The 41-year-old completed 74.3% of his pass attempts, which was only a tenth of a percentage off of his own single-season record. Brees recorded a passer rating over 100.0 for the fifth consecutive season.
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The Packers didn’t give Rodgers help this offseason. Instead, the team drafted Jordan Love in the first-round and Aaron Jones’ eventual replacement a round later. Look for Rodgers to come out firing in 2020 to stick it to General Manager Brian Gutekunst.
7. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Despite playing behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines, Watson thrived last year. He led the Texans to a 10-5 record as a starter and made his second consecutive Pro Bowl. Some offseason changes at wide receiver and running back could impact Watson’s production this season.
8. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles suffered through waves of injuries this past season. Despite facing a massive disadvantage, Wentz set a career-high with 4,039 passing yards and led Philadelphia to the NFC East division title. Wentz does more with less.
9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott had a career-year statistically in 2019. He threw for 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. However, the former fourth-round pick didn’t make the Pro Bowl, and Dallas missed the playoffs. This season, Prescott’s offense features even more weapons.
10. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Before landing on injured reserve (IR), Stafford was having the best year of his career. Through the first eight weeks, Stafford paced 4,998 yards and 38 touchdowns. We’ll see if he can match that production over a 16-game season.
11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Losing Stefon Diggs could hurt Cousins, but Adam Thielen is healthy again, and the Vikings selected LSU’s Justin Jefferson in the draft. Cousins has plenty of weapons and should lead the Vikings to another ten-wins season.
12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan had a down year in 2019, but the former MVP’s play goes up and down like a rollercoaster. History says he’ll bounce back with a Pro Bowl-caliber performance in 2020. Having Todd Gurley, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley should help.
13. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger missed Pittsburgh’s final 14 games last year. Everyone wants to say he’s washed, but the veteran led the NFL in passing yards in 2018. When healthy, Roethlisberger elevates all of Pittsburgh’s offensive weapons.
14. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Burrow torched NCAA records in his final season at LSU. The reigning National Champion and Heisman Trophy winner is the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. Between having a loaded wide receiver corps and Joe Mixon in the backfield, Burrow should experience a successful transition to the NFL.
15. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Some fans continue hyping up Murray as a dark horse MVP candidate. The addition of DeAndre Hopkins helps Murray’s stock, but he’s nowhere near an MVP level yet. Let’s start with a Pro Bowl appearance before we crown Murray as the next Lamar Jackson.
16. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
The law of averages says Tannehill won’t match his career numbers from 2019, and the Titans might limp into the playoffs with another Wild Card bid. Tannehill set career-highs in completion percentage, passer rating, and touchdown to interception ratio last season.
17. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Fans love attacking Carr, but he’s only serving as a scapegoat for a poorly run organization. You can’t blame Carr for the Raiders trading away Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack and not re-signing Latavius Murray. Carr is a good quarterback stuck in a black hole.
18. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Late in the Super Bowl, Garoppolo missed a shot to Emmanuel Sanders that would’ve gone for a touchdown. While Garoppolo is a reliable quarterback, he isn’t spectacular. The 49ers relied more on the running game and defense than their quarterback during their 13-3 season.
19. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Without a strong running game, L.A.’s offense crumbled. Goff never got comfortable, and he threw 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions as the Rams missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Goff can still play at a Pro Bowl level, but he needs a better offensive line and a more balanced offense.
20. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
After leading the Chargers on a 12-4 tear in 2018, Rivers came up flat last season. Los Angeles went 5-11 as Rivers threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. A change of scenery and the league’s best offensive line could give the veteran one final shot at winning a title.
21. Cam Newton, New England Patriots
Newton didn’t look right during his two starts last season. After a late-game loss to the Buccaneers, Carolina placed Newton on IR. The team later cut him, and Newton spent months on the open market before Bill Belichick scooped him up. Newton in New England is still a strange reality, but the former MVP could revive his career alongside one of the NFL’s best coaching staffs.
22. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Darnold’s decision making needs improvement, but he’s got the potential to be a top-15 quarterback. After he fully recovered from a battle with Mononucleosis, Darnold led the Jets to six wins in their final eight games, throwing 13 touchdowns and four interceptions along the way.
23. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Jones didn’t have a bad rookie season, if you ignore the league-leading 18 fumbles. We saw Jones author some impressive performances last year, despite New York’s incomplete offensive supporting cast. The Duke product has potential, but he’s still a raw prospect.
24. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
Everyone picks on Fitzpatrick for being inconsistent year-to-year and being nothing more than a bridge quarterback, but the Harvard grad did everything for Miami last season. He piloted an understaffed team to a 5-8 record as a starter and led the Dolphins in rushing yards.
25. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
We only saw Lock for five games, but the rookie went 4-1. Lock remains a relative unknown entering his first season as a full-time starter, but the Broncos surrounded him with weapons during the offseason. He should have a breakout season.
26. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield was terrific as a rookie, but he flopped last season. The former No. 1 overall selection completed fewer than 60.0% of his pass attempts and threw 22 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. This is why Cleveland can’t have nice things.
27. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
If not for his mobility, Allen wouldn’t be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s wildly inconsistent, inaccurate, and doesn’t take advantage of Buffalo’s tremendous defense. Despite having one of the NFL’s strongest arms, Allen routinely misfires on deep shots.
28. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Minshew isn’t a bad quarterback. I’m tempted to put him above Allen and several other struggling passers, but Minshew is in a terrible situation. Jacksonville’s front office is dismantling the team, and the organization seems to have no intention of competing for a title this season.
29. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
Bridgewater completed an epic comeback last year after suffering a brutal leg injury before the 2016 season. Bridgewater played five games with the Saints in relief of the injured Drew Brees. New Orleans went 5-0 with the backup quarterback at the helm, but Bridgewater hasn’t started more than five games in a season since 2015. Plus, Carolina’s offense is much weaker than New Orleans’.
30. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Chicago officially named Trubisky the Week 1 starter after a well-documented training camp battle with Nick Foles. Trubisky couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at times last season, and his confidence looked shattered. The Bears even declined the former second overall pick’s fifth-year option. If Trubisky gets off to a rocky start, we could see Foles before Chicago’s bye week.
31. Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
Taylor made the Pro Bowl in 2015, but he hasn’t started more than three games since 2017. The former sixth-round pick is nothing more than a bridge quarterback who will eventually give way to Justin Herbert.
32. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team
After several horrible games, Haskins began putting the pieces together toward the end of last season. We’ll see if he continues on that path, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Kyle Allen wins the starting job later in the season.