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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / NFL 2020 Quarterback Power Rankings heading into Week 17

NFL 2020 Quarterback Power Rankings heading into Week 17

NFL Quarterback Power Rankings
Publish Date: 01/04/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

While Aaron Rodgers remains the favorite to win the regular season MVP, several places below him are exchanging hands. Josh Allen and Tom Brady made enormous leaps over the past several weeks while Patrick Mahomes slowly drifted into the background. There’s one week left in the 2020 NFL regular season, meaning we’ve likely seen some quarterbacks for the final time this year.

1. Aaron Rodgers 21/25 231 yards, four touchdowns, one interception

Last week’s ranking: 1

Rodgers torched Tennessee’s defense in a snowy Sunday night game. The 37-year-old continued humiliating his own team for drafting Jordan Love by posting his sixth game this year with at least four touchdown passes. Rodgers is completing over 70.0% of his passes for the first time as a full-time starter, and he leads the NFL with 44 passing touchdowns and a 119.4 passer rating.

2. Josh Allen 27/36 320 yards, four touchdowns, 35 rushing yards

Last week’s ranking: 3

Over the past four weeks, Allen has vaulted himself past Mahomes in the MVP debate. The third-year quarterback destroyed the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, tossing four touchdowns in a game for the fourth times this season. Allen has 34 passing touchdowns, eight rushing touchdowns, and nine interceptions this year.

3. Tom Brady 22/27 348 yards, four touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 7

Tampa Bay dominated the Detroit Lions. Brady carried over his success from last week, posting a perfect 158.3 passer rating during the first half. Blaine Gabbert went 9/15 for 143 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Brady in the third quarter. I know it was against an awful Lions defense, but this is the kind of performance Tampa Bay needs to build momentum heading into the playoffs.

4. Patrick Mahomes 24/44 278 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

Last week’s ranking: 2

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs should not have won on Sunday. The reigning Super Bowl MVP led a touchdown drive with less than five minutes left, which gave the Chiefs a three-point lead. Atlanta blew a late opportunity to at least force overtime. After throwing two interceptions in his first 12 games this year, Mahomes has four interceptions in the past five weeks.

5. Deshaun Watson 24/33 324 yards, three touchdowns, 38 rushing yards, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 6

Watson hurt his hand and arm late in Sunday’s game when his hand got caught in a defender’s face mask. The Pro Bowl quarterback shouldn’t play in Week 17. There’s nothing left for the Houston Texans to play for. If the Texans want Watson to play in Houston well into his thirties, the team better find a new coaching staff and better supporting cast this offseason.

6. Russell Wilson 20/32 225 yards, one touchdown, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 5

The Seattle Seahawks clinched the NFC West title with a win over the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend. Wilson didn’t have his best showing, but the former MVP frontrunner still carried Seattle’s offense. While the Seahawks are 5-1 in their last six games, they must hope that Wilson recaptures his early-season form before entering the playoffs.

7. Ryan Tannehill 11/24 121 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 55 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 4

Tannehill has arguably his worst game of the season against Green Bay. The Pro Bowl quarterback posted a 40.5 passer rating while completing 45.83% of his passes, both season lows. Despite the rough outing, Tannehill still has 32 passing touchdowns and only seven interceptions this year to accompany his 106.7 passer rating.

8. Kirk Cousins 27/41 291 yards, three touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 14

Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings scored 33 points against New Orleans’ defense. That’s a respectable showing from the offense, but Minnesota’s defense absolutely collapsed. For his part, Cousins posted a 110.9 passer rating while only taking two sacks. If not for a historic performance from Alvin Kamara, Minnesota might’ve inched out New Orleans.

9. Lamar Jackson 17/26 183 yards, two touchdowns, 80 rushing yards, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 13

Jackson’s only blemish on the day was a fumble that really was the running back’s fault, not his. Otherwise, the former MVP carved up a supposedly strong defense with his arm and legs. He’s averaging a 115.5 passer rating over the past four games, and the Baltimore Ravens are undefeated during that stretch. Jackson has 1,029 total yards and 12 total touchdowns in the last four weeks.

10. Philip Rivers 22/35 270 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 10

Entering Week 16, Rivers hadn’t thrown an interception in three weeks. He also had three consecutive games with passer ratings over 118.0. That all came crashing down against Pittsburgh’s defense. After taking 14 sacks in his first 14 games, Rivers took five as the Steelers hounded the 39-year-old throughout the day. Rivers finished the game with an 84.2 passer rating.

11. Baker Mayfield 28/53 285 yards, two fumbles lost

Last week’s ranking: 8

They are who we thought they were. The Cleveland Browns ended their chance of winning the AFC North by losing to the New York Jets. Without the running game and his top receivers, Mayfield had nowhere to go. Cleveland’s offense ground to a halt, and Mayfield posted his lowest passer rating (68.5) since Week 8.

12. Matt Ryan 27/35 300 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 16

Ryan is a much better quarterback than Atlanta’s organization and team deserve right now. The former MVP posted a 121.1 passer rating against Kansas City, but a dropped interception by A.J. Terrell and a missed field goal by Younghoe Koo cost Atlanta the upset. Even without Julio Jones, Ryan put on a display, and the Falcons wasted it.

13. Ben Roethlisberger 34/49 342 yards, three touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 24

Welcome back Big Ben! After almost vanishing from Pittsburgh’s offense since Week 12, Roethlisberger found his swagger and arm strength against Indianapolis. Against a team he’s dominated over the past decade, Roethlisberger caught fire in the second half. He connected on several 30-yard pass plays in the 17-point comeback.

14. Andy Dalton 22/30 377 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

Last week’s ranking: 20

Except for an interception, Dalton did almost anything he wanted to Philadelphia’s secondary on Sunday. The former Pro Bowler connected with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for 121 yards apiece. With a win next week and a Washington loss, the Cowboys snag the NFC East title and the fourth seed in their conference.

15. Derek Carr 21/34 336 yards, one touchdown, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

After missing most of Las Vegas’ Week 15 loss, Carr returned with a solid performance against one of the NFL’s best secondaries. He posted a 104.5 passer rating and didn’t turn the ball over. At the end of the game, Carr connected with Nelson Agholor on an 85-yard touchdown and helped the receiver draw a questionable pass interference call a few minutes later, leading to a field goal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep the Raiders from suffering another humiliating defeat.

16. Justin Herbert 21/33 253 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 15

Herbert set the rookie passing touchdown record as he posted a 97.2 passer rating against Denver. It’s been an up and down season for the Oregon product. However, he’s on pace to finish the year with a passer rating over 96.0 and a completion percentage in the mid-60s. The double-digit interceptions (ten) aren’t great, but several Pro Bowlers have at least that many this year.

17. Kyler Murray 31/50 247 yards, one interception, 75 rushing yards

Last week’s ranking: 9

There’s the inconsistency that always worries me with Murray. Arizona has one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses, but Murray has a few off games every season. While every quarterback suffers from a lackluster performance occasionally, most don’t do it late in the season with a playoff spot on the line.

Murray’s three worst performances this season came against teams with losing records (Detroit, New England, San Francisco), and they all resulted in losses for Arizona.

18. Sam Darnold 16/32 175 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 21

Darnold didn’t have the best performance against Cleveland, only completing 50.0% of his passes. However, the 23-year-old didn’t turn the ball over, and he led the Jets to their second consecutive win against a playoff-caliber team. Considering what he’s working with, Darnold deserves all of the credit in the world for these two late-season wins.

19. Drew Brees 19/26 311 yards, two interceptions

Last week’s ranking: 17

Brees has looked old and off his rhythm since returning from a rib injury in Week 15. Luckily, he and the New Orleans Saints can always rely on Kamara to carry them across the finish line. However, if the Saints don’t get Michael Thomas back and have Brees level out, New Orleans is headed for another playoff disaster.

20. Mitchell Trubisky 24/35 265 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 25

Trubisky picked the right time to get hot. The 26-year-old has the Chicago Bears up to 8-7 and battling for the final spot in the NFC playoff picture. He’s got seven passing touchdowns and only two interceptions over the past four weeks. Compared to Nick Foles, Trubisky looks like a stud quarterback. The former No. 2 overall pick has breathed some life into Chicago’s offense.

21. Teddy Bridgewater 19/28 197 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 18

At 5-10, the Carolina Panthers are ahead of schedule with their rebuild. However, theories continue swirling that Matt Rhule might invest a first-round selection in Zach Wilson or Trey Lance. Bridgewater is a quality starting quarterback, but he doesn’t consistently uplift offenses. While Carolina beat Washington, Bridgewater’s mistakes nearly turned the tides.

22. Tua Tagovailoa 17/22 94 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 11

The consistency isn’t there for Tagovailoa yet. While he posted a 99.4 passer rating against the Raiders, Las Vegas boasts one of the NFL’s worst defenses. Only gaining 94 passing yards is inexcusable. Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly doubled that total in less than a quarter.

The conservative offensive play calling is part of Tagovailoa’s issues. He needs more opportunities to prove himself. Hopefully, the Alabama product turns things around because he’s looking less like Drew Brees and more like Teddy Bridgewater right now.

#Dolphins HC Brian Flores says Tua Tagovailoa is still his starter. He will start next week vs. Buffalo.

— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 27, 2020

23. Ryan Fitzpatrick 9/13 182 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

Fitzmagic is alive and well in 2020. In the fourth quarter, the veteran journeyman replaced Tagovailoa and led Miami on an immediate scoring drive, tying the game at 16 apiece. The Dolphins scored on each of Fitzpatrick’s three drives, answering Raider scores on the final two. With less than 20 seconds left, Miami kicked a game-winning field goal.

Miami won this game because of Fitzpatrick and Las Vegas’ putrid defense. While Tagovailoa is the future, switching to Fitzpatrick changed the momentum in favor of Miami. So long as these two quarterbacks recognize their roles on this team and don’t overreact to situations like this, these occasional substitutions won’t alter Miami’s long-term trajectory.

#Dolphins HC Brian Flores on going to Ryan Fitzpatrick: “If we need to go to a relief pitcher in the 9th, it’s what we’ll do.”

— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 27, 2020

24. Jared Goff 24/43 234 yards, one interception

Last week’s ranking: 23

Goff can’t take the full blame for his poor performance on Sunday. The former Pro Bowler wasn’t entirely healthy. Goff suffered a dislocated finger during the game, and we found out later that he suffered a broken thumb. His regular season is over. John Wolford is Los Angeles’ backup quarterback.

Jared Goff underwent surgery on his thumb this morning, John Wolford will start on Sunday.

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 29, 2020

25. Brandon Allen 29/37 371 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

Houston’s defense made Allen look like Mahomes on Sunday. The backup quarterback posted a 126.5 passer rating as Cincinnati dropped 37 on the Texans and advanced to 4-10-1. While this is a lost season for the Bengals, there’s a lot to build on next year. These late-season wins shouldn’t save Zac Taylor’s job.

26. Jalen Hurts 21/39 342 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 69 rushing yards, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 12

Eventually, NFL defenses will figure out Hurts and force him to adjust his style. Perhaps that happened on Sunday, or maybe a combination of playing from behind and bad play calling put Hurts in a tough spot. Either way, Hurts had the first bad game of his NFL career. I still have greater hopes for the Oklahoma product than several first-round quarterbacks from the past few years.

27. C.J. Beathard 13/22 182 yards, three touchdowns, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

I wrote San Francisco’s matchup against Arizona off as an easy win for the Cardinals after learning that Beathard was starting. While San Francisco’s defense and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. deserve a lot of credit, Beathard made the most of his snaps. The 27-year-old finished the game with a 125.4 passer rating.

28. Daniel Jones 24/41 252 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

Jones returned to action for New York, just in time to face Baltimore’s defense. He took six sacks and didn’t have time to breathe for most of the game. Jones only completed 58.54% of his pass attempts as New York found the end zone once. The Giants can still build around Jones, but he’s not the kind of quarterback that can win a Super Bowl.

29. Drew Lock 24/47 264 yards, two interceptions, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 29

The Denver Broncos are one of the most talented teams on paper, but they lack a qualified quarterback. If Denver doesn’t make a move to upgrade the position this offseason, the front office should be cleaned out, including John Elway. Lock has five games with passer ratings below 60.0 this season.

30. Cam Newton 5/10 34 yards, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 27

The Patriots finally gave up on Newton in the second half, replacing him with Jarrett Stidham. The young backup went 4/11 for 44 yards. It’s safe to say that the 2021 starting quarterback for New England isn’t on the current roster. The Newton signing gave the Patriots an alternative to Brian Hoyer and Stidham, but it hasn’t done much beyond that.

31. Chase Daniel 13/18 86 yards

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

Matthew Stafford suffered an apparent foot injury early in Week 16, which forced him from action. Daniel replaced him for most of the game, but David Blough saw playing time in the fourth quarter, going 6/10 for 49 yards and an interception. With Stafford out of the game, Detroit never stood a chance against Tampa Bay.

32. Mike Glennon 24/37 211 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

After deciding that Gardner Minshew played too well in Weeks 14 and 15, the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched Trevor Lawrence by starting Glennon. The veteran journeyman looked awful against Chicago’s defense, feeding the Bears turnovers in a blowout loss.

33. Dwayne Haskins 14/28 154 yards, two interceptions, one fumble lost

Last week’s ranking: 32

“If not for Alex Smith dealing with injuries, I bet Ron Rivera would’ve already cut Haskins.” I wrote that sentence on Sunday. On Monday, the Washington Football Team officially released the former first-round pick. Taylor Heinicke replaced Haskins in the fourth quarter and went 12/19 for 137 yards and a touchdown. Heinicke will start next week if Smith isn’t available.

Washington has released QB Dwayne Haskins, per me and @TomPelissero.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 28, 2020

Check out previous power rankings.

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