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Week 4 brought us two stud performances by rookie quarterbacks and some vintage play from a 43-year-old the media was ready to write off as “washed up”. As the season continues, we’re getting a clearer picture of who belongs in the elite quarterback discussion and who might enter their ranks in the coming seasons. As the quarterback rankings continue shifting, we’re getting a look at the NFL’s future.
While the order shifted a little, the top three quarterbacks remained the same this week. However, Josh Allen and Tom Brady are throwing their names into the discussion for elite play. What initially seemed like an impenetrable top three could crack in the coming weeks.
Last week’s ranking: 1
Wilson threw a bad interception on Sunday that let Miami hang around and cost Seattle a chance to score. However, the future Hall of Famer completed 70.59% of his pass attempts and posted a 112.4 passer rating. After years, the Seattle Seahawks are finally letting Wilson show the world that he’s a legendary quarterback.
Last week’s ranking: 3
Rodgers completed 81.82% of his pass attempts against Atlanta, posting a nearly perfect 147.5 passer rating. At his current pace, Rodgers will finish 2020 with 4,856 yards, 52 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a single-season career-high 70.5 completion percentage. If Wilson stumbles down the stretch, there’s a chance Rodgers picks up his third MVP.
Last week’s ranking: 2
This is Mahomes’ second shaky game by his standards in the past three weeks. The reigning Super Bowl MVP completed 65.5% of his pass attempts and posted a 113.6 passer rating, which looks great on paper, but the Kansas City Chiefs struggled finishing drives on Monday night. The Kansas City offense isn’t firing on all cylinders yet, but I have complete faith that Mahomes will figure it out.
Last week’s ranking: 4
Allen’s tear through the NFL continued as the Buffalo Bills advanced to 4-0 on the back of their thriving quarterback. Through four weeks, the third-year quarterback already has 15 total touchdowns. That puts him one score behind our No. 1 quarterback for the league-lead. If Allen keeps his turnovers down, he could compete for the league MVP.
Last week’s ranking: 7
After Brady threw a pick-six early in the first quarter, it looked like the veteran might have a rough day. Instead, he rebounded by throwing five touchdowns for the first time since Week 3 in his 2017 MVP season. Brady completed 65.22% of his pass attempts and finished the game with a 117.0 passer rating. He did it all without Chris Godwin.
Last week’s ranking: 5
The Tennessee Titans had several players and staff test positive for COVID-19. Initially, the NFL planned on playing Tennessee’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday or Tuesday, but additional positive tests have analysts wondering if the Titans can even play their Week 5 matchup. The NFL is investigating whether the 3-0 Titans broke the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Last week’s ranking: 6
Jackson needed a big game after a terrible performance against Kansas City in Week 2. While he led the Baltimore Ravens to their third win this season, Jackson didn’t have an elite outing against Washington. It doesn’t look like back-to-back MVPs are in the cards for the Louisville product.
Last week’s ranking: 8
Even with the interception, Brees registered a 116.4 passer rating against the Detroit Lions. The future Hall of Famer completed 76.0% of his pass attempts as New Orleans survived a dangerous encounter in the Motor City. Brees can’t wait until he gets Michael Thomas back.
Last week’s ranking: 11
Watson might regret that contract extension he signed with the Houston Texans. The former Clemson Tiger completed 66.67% of his pass attempts and posted a 110.7 passer rating, but the Texans fell to 0-4. At least the Texans fired Bill O’Brien.
Last week’s ranking: 9
Prescott has thrown for 1,424 yards in Dallas’ last three games. He’s pacing 6,760 passing yards through four weeks, but Mike McCarthy’s offense isn’t producing wins. The Cowboys are 1-3. Prescott makes one or two costly mistakes every game, which keeps him from qualifying as an elite quarterback.
Last week’s ranking: 12
Carr hasn’t thrown an interception this season, but he’s already lost four fumbles. Carr’s fumbling issues date back to his rookie season, and he led the league in fumbles in 2018. The 2-2 Las Vegas Raiders aren’t a bad team, but most of the NFL’s top competitors have greater talent pools.
Last week’s ranking: 18
After several stellar weeks, Goff struggled against the New York Giants. While the Los Angeles Rams had trouble scoring, Goff completed 78.13% of his pass attempts and posted a 103.1 passer rating. The Rams advanced to 3-1, matching their record through four weeks from a year ago.
Last week’s ranking: 17
Burrow picked up his first NFL win on Sunday, topping the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-25. He became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games. While that says as much about Zac Taylor’s offense as it does about Burrow’s skill, the young rookie is doing his best to salvage a terrible situation.
Joe Burrow just became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300+ yards in three straight games.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 4, 2020
Last week’s ranking: 10
Stafford loves having Kenny Golladay back, but the Lions are still a few pieces short of a winning football team. It feels like Detroit hasn’t advanced much over the past three or four years, which could cause a lot of heads to roll this coming offseason.
Last week’s ranking: 14
Murray got off to a hot start in 2020, putting his name in early MVP conversations during the first two weeks. However, Murray threw three interceptions last week. Luckily, the second-year quarterback turned things around in Week 4. Despite Murray carrying the entire offensive load for Arizona, the Cardinals came up short of their third win.
Last week’s ranking: 13
Newton tested positive for COVID-19, which prevented him from taking the field against Kansas City. Through three games, Newton’s numbers look close to his 2018 production, expect he’s scoring more with his legs than his arm. While the former MVP isn’t an elite quarterback anymore, he’s still an above-average starter.
Last week’s ranking: 15
The 3-0 Steelers should’ve played the Titans this week, but Tennessee had multiple players and staff members test positive for COVID-19. Big Ben has 777 passing yards, seven touchdowns, one interception, and a 105.2 passer rating through three weeks. If that rating holds, it’ll be the highest mark of his career.
Last week’s ranking: 27
Herbert is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 900 yards in his first three games (the other is Cam Newton). He had an excellent day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, except for an interception that sealed Los Angeles’ third loss of the season. Herbert finished the game with a 137.9 passer rating after completing 80.0% of his pass attempts.
Last week’s ranking: 16
Atlanta’s offense is too talented to only score 16 points. Even with Julio Jones leaving the game early, the Falcons should’ve at least topped 20 points. Ryan is in a bad situation, especially when you examine his offensive line, but that’s no excuse for the former MVP’s shortcomings.
Last week’s ranking: 20
After struggling through the season’s first three weeks, Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings picked up their first win. Cousins completed 72.63% of his pass attempts and earned a 127.1 passer rating in the 31-23 victory. Justin Jefferson went for over 100 yards for the second consecutive game, which bodes well for Minnesota’s passing game.
Last week’s ranking: 19
Cleveland’s win over the Cowboys was Mayfield’s third game this season with under 200 passing yards. Despite the limited production, Mayfield produced his third consecutive game with a passer rating of at least 100.0. While the Browns are 3-1, Mayfield’s ceiling as an NFL quarterback seems to be getting lower.
Last week’s ranking: 25
The Carolina Panthers looked like one of the NFL’s worst teams entering the season. However, Bridgewater’s team is 2-2 and tied with the New Orleans Saints for second place in the division. I don’t think the Panthers can keep pace with their NFC South rivals, but this squad is proving that I underestimated them.
Last week’s ranking: 29
Darnold used his legs to create something out of nothing against the Denver Broncos. The third-year quarterback faced constant pressure as he took six sacks and Denver racked up ten quarterback hits. New York’s running backs didn’t help Darnold either. They only totaled 45 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Once again, Darnold proved he’s capable of making big plays, but the Jets continuously hold him back.
Last week’s ranking: 28
After averaging a 92.7 passer rating through his first four seasons, Wentz hasn’t posted a rating over 82.0 this season. He’s also thrown an interception in each of Philadelphia’s first four contests. However, the Eagles topped San Francisco on Sunday Night Football and sit alone atop the NFC East with a 1-2-1 record.
Last week’s ranking: 24
Indianapolis struggled on the ground against Chicago’s defensive front, which revealed Rivers’ limited abilities. The veteran quarterback isn’t the same player he was in 2018. Rivers is a game manager at best, but that might get Indy to the playoffs in the questionable AFC South.
Last week’s ranking: 23
Minshew had the Jaguars within a score of the Cincinnati Bengals at the final whistle, but Jacksonville came up short again. The 1-3 Jaguars continue threatening in their matchups but haven’t shaken off their extreme shortcomings. For his part, Minshew has a passer rating over 100.0 and is completing 72.1% of his pass attempts this season.
Last week’s ranking: 21
If not for his two interceptions, Fitzpatrick might’ve carried Miami to its second win this season. The veteran continues keeping his team in close games, which is enough for Brian Flores not to insert Tua Tagovailoa.
Last week’s ranking: 22
Foles came within one onside kick of getting a shot at another comeback story. Unfortunately, the former Super Bowl MVP played at a mediocre level throughout the afternoon. He’s a step up from Mitchell Trubisky, but I don’t know if Foles can perform at a high level for a full season.
Last week’s ranking: 30
Just when it looked like Jones might lead a game-saving drive, the second-year quarterback threw an interception with less than a minute remaining. He isn’t working with much help, but Jones is a turnover machine suffering a severe sophomore slump. If things don’t improve, Jones could lose the starting job before his rookie contract ends.
Last week’s ranking: 33
After throwing three interceptions last week, Haskins kept a clean sheet in Week 4. That didn’t stop Washington from suffering a significant loss to Baltimore. The more we watch Haskins, the more he looks lost against NFL defenses.
Last week’s ranking: Unranked
Beathard hadn’t appeared in a game since 2018 when he took the field on Sunday night. The former third-round pick couldn’t salvage San Francisco’s situation against the Eagles. The 2-2 49ers rank last in the NFC West.
Last week’s ranking: 34
For a third-string quarterback, Rypien didn’t play horribly. Unfortunately, his actions proved costly for Denver in the fourth quarter. Two interceptions and an intentional grounding call almost gave New York the victory, but Denver’s defense didn’t break.
Last week’s ranking: 26
After a promising game in Week 3, Mullens crumbled on Sunday night. The San Francisco 49ers eventually replaced the former undrafted free agent with C.J. Beathard. Despite a multitude of injuries, San Francisco should’ve had enough talent to top the Eagles.
Last week’s ranking: Unranked
The first interception wasn’t Stidham’s fault. Julian Edelman might as well have handed Tyrann Mathieu that pick-six. The second-year quarterback didn’t show anything special on Monday night. We’ll see if Stidham ever develops into anything, but he’s only a deep backup right now.
Last week’s ranking: Unranked
Someday, the New England Patriots will be free of Hoyer. That day wasn’t Monday night, as the veteran got the start in place of Newton. Hoyer started and lost one game for Indianapolis last year.
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