Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 1
Week 1 of the NFL season is almost in the books, and what an exciting opening weekend it has been. From last-second touchdowns to overtime victories to 5.1 quarterback ratings, we saw everything from the NFL's starting quarterbacks on Sunday.
It wasn't always pretty, but even if you were forced to watch Brandon Weeden or John Skelton, it was still enjoyable to watch the game's most important position operate in the regular season. Today we're going to rank all 32 starting quarterbacks as they head into Week 2.
*Please note that these rankings take last year into consideration. They are not solely based on Week 1 performances.
32. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
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Week 1 Statistics: 12-of-35, 118 yards, four interceptions
It was a tough opening game for Brandon Weeden against the Philadelphia Eagles. He certainly looked like a rookie in this game and was easily the worst quarterback on the field on Sunday.
His 34.3 completion percentage and four interceptions resulted in an awful 5.1 quarterback rating. Not only was this the worst individual performance of Week 1, it was one of the worst quarterback performances in recent memory.
If this performance is any indication of how the Cleveland Browns' season is going to go this year, an 0-16 record could definitely be a possibility.
31. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
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Week 1 Statistics: 20-of-36, 219 yards, three interceptions
There was no question that Ryan Tannehill was going to need time to acclimate to the NFL game, and all he did on Sunday was reaffirm the fact that he is a project quarterback.
While he played better than Brandon Weeden, it really wasn't by much. Tannehill finished the day with a 39.0 quarterback rating while completing a decent 55.6 percent of his passes.
While there were a few flashes of the potential that made him the eighth pick of the 2012 NFL draft, it was definitely more bad than good in Tannehill's first game for the Miami Dolphins.
30. John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals
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Week 1 Statistics: 14-of-28, 149 yards, one interception
This might be the last time that we see John Skelton as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this season.
Not only did he leave the game in the fourth quarter with an injured ankle, but Kevin Kolb came in and completed six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown on the Cardinals' game-winning drive. Kolb looked way better in limited time than Skelton did for the first three quarters.
Even if Skelton's injury isn't overly serious, the Cardinals will have to think twice before putting him back on the field after his terrible Week 1 performance against the Seattle Seahawks.
29. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
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Week 1 Statistics: 18-of-34, 153 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 20 rushing yards, one fumble lost
I don't think this is what the Seattle Seahawks had in mind when they named Russell Wilson their starting quarterback. Despite looking extremely impressive throughout the preseason, Wilson struggled mightily in his first game against a less than impressive defense.
He did keep the team close throughout the whole game but came up short on a final game-winning drive. If Wilson has another couple of games like this, it won't be long until Seattle will have no choice but to pull him in favor of Matt Flynn.
28. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
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Week 1 Statistics: 21-of-33, 258 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, one rushing touchdown, one fumble lost
Matt Cassel started off well enough against the Atlanta Falcons. He threw for a touchdown and rushed for a touchdown in the second quarter to keep the Kansas City Chiefs in the game.
However, things went downhill once the second half started. All three of his turnovers came in the second half, and the Falcons took full advantage, scoring 20 straight points.
The second-half Cassel is the one the Chiefs simply can't afford to have this season. However, if this first game is any indication, it might be the Cassel that Kansas City is stuck with for the year.
27. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-39, 260 yards, two touchdowns, one fumble lost
Few quarterbacks looked as bad as Blaine Gabbert did last year, but the Jacksonville Jaguars will take this version of Gabbert every day of the week.
Gabbert did everything the Jaguars needed him to, including leading a late fourth-quarter drive that gave Jacksonville a three-point lead with 20 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough to ultimately get the win, but it was good enough to gain a ton of confidence from the front office.
As long as Gabbert continues to play at this level, the Jaguars will be pleased and could surprise some people this year.
26. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
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Week 1 Statistics: 20-of-27, 270 yards, one fumble lost
Even though Christian Ponder didn't throw the number of touchdowns that his opponent Blaine Gabbert did, he still gets the nod as the better quarterback in this week's rankings.
Not only was Ponder more accurate than Gabbert (74.1 percent to 59 percent), he also finished with a better quarterback rating (105.5 to 96.1). On top of that, Ponder's team came away with the victory.
It wasn't the prettiest of wins for the Minnesota Vikings, but an early-season win is huge for this team and for Ponder's confidence.
25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
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Week 1 Statistics: 18-of-32, 195 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions
The statistics weren't very good for Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday. Yes, he finished the day with three touchdown passes, but that was after the Buffalo Bills were already down 41-7 to the New York Jets.
With Buffalo looking to be a real threat to the AFC East, this was the exact opposite of what Buffalo needed from Fitzpatrick. He'll need to do much, much better if this team wants to be taken seriously this year.
24. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Week 1 Statistics: 16-of-24, 138 yards, one touchdown
Even though Josh Freeman's statistics don't jump off he page, they don't need to for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be a quality football team.
This is going to be a run-first team, as evidenced by Doug Martin's 24 carries against the Carolina Panthers. All Tampa Bay needs Freeman to do is be a game manager and not make mistakes.
While Freeman may never be a top-15 quarterback in this league, as long as he can be efficient like he was on Sunday, the Buccaneers will be a difficult team to beat this year.
23. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
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Week 1 Statistics: 32-of-46, 297 yards, one touchdown
We've yet to see Carson Palmer this week, but based on his preseason performance, Palmer deserves to be ranked this far down the list.
He simply looks like an old quarterback on his way out of the league.
Update: Palmer actually looked very good against the San Diego Chargers. He moved up five spots after his Monday night game.
22. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-32, 229 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
Having to play Tom Brady in your first-ever NFL start is not the best way to start a career. Even though Jake Locker left the game with a shoulder injury, he played fairly well despite getting blown out of the water by the New England Patriots.
The biggest issue with Locker has always been his accuracy, so seeing him complete nearly 72 percent of his passes must have been exciting for the Tennessee Titans. They'll need him to continue to play at this level if they want to compete in the AFC South this year.
Hopefully Locker's shoulder isn't too seriously hurt, because if he can build on this performance, the Titans have a chance to be very good this year.
21. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
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Week 1 Statistics: 19-of-27, 266 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
This performance should silence the quarterback-controversy critics for at least a few weeks. Not only was this one of the better performances by a quarterback this week, it was one of Mark Sanchez's best performances ever.
He finally looked like the franchise quarterback the New York Jets expected him to be. He completed over 70 percent of his passes on the day, and it looks like he has finally improved his accuracy.
Another great sign for Sanchez was the chemistry he showed with rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill. The two hooked up five times for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Sanchez will need to prove he can perform at this level consistently, but this was as good of a start as he could have had for the 2012 season.
20. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
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Week 1 Statistics: 17-of-25, 198 yards, one touchdown
Even though the St. Louis Rams lost to the Detroit Lions this week, they still have to be thrilled with the way Sam Bradford played in his first game of the 2012 season.
After a stellar rookie season, Bradford looked awful during his sophomore campaign. However, he now appears back to his rookie ways after a solid outing in Week 1. He was precise with his throws, and now that he has some legitimate weapons to throw to, he could be in for a huge season this year.
The St. Louis Rams still need a few more pieces to be truly competitive in the NFC, but Bradford is the most important piece, and they'll need him to keep playing like this to win games this year.
19. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
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Week 1 Statistics: 22-of-37, 221 yards, one interception
Andy Dalton gets the Ravens in Week 1, and that game will go a long way in seeing just how far Dalton has come from Year 1 to Year 2.
It helps to have A.J. Green, but Dalton is going to need to prove that he can be more than a game manager if he wants to move up this list.
Update: Dalton struggled on Monday night, but he was playing against one of the best defenses in the league. Look for him to bounce back in Week 2.
18. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-45, 309 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, one fumble lost
I'm sure that Andrew Luck didn't expect his first NFL game to end with four turnovers. Of course, it doesn't help that he had to face the Chicago Bears in Week 1, but four turnovers is still pretty bad.
Still, Luck showed the ability to overcome continuous adversity by throwing his lone touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. He'll still be one of the better quarterbacks in the league by the end of the season, but he definitely dropped some spots with this performance.
17. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
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Week 1 Statistics: 29-of-56, 317 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions, 32 rushing yards
Fifty-six passing attempts is far too many for Michael Vick. Why the Philadelphia Eagles didn't just pound the ball away with LeSean McCoy is a complete mystery.
The main reason that Vick starts out the season ranked this low is because he only beat the Cleveland Browns by a point, and he needed all 60 minutes to do it. As long as the Eagles don't rely on 56 attempts from Vick each week, he should slowly make his way up the rankings.
16. Matt Schuab, Houston Texans
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Week 1 Statistics: 20-of-31, 266 yards, one touchdown
All Matt Schaub continues to do for the Houston Texans is play consistently great football. That's probably why the Texans decided to sign Schaub to a four-year contract extension before the Week 1 game.
Schaub did nothing to show that Houston made a bad decision on Sunday. He completed 64.5 percent of his passes and finished the day with a 102.4 quarterback rating.
It was just another solid performance from one of the more solid quarterbacks in the league.
15. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
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Week 1 Statistics: 21-of-29, 299 yards, two touchdowns
Joe Flacco thinks that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but until he actually plays like one of the best, he'll be a middle-of-the-road quarterback in the NFL.
Update: Flacco basically made me eat my words Monday night when he completed nearly 73 percent of his passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 128.4.
He moved up three spots in the rankings.
14. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
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Week 1 Statistics: 19-of-26, 320 yards, two touchdowns, 42 rushing yards
The Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III put together one of the best performances of the weekend.
Griffin had one of the greatest first games for a quarterback in the history of the NFL. Not only did he complete over 73 percent of his passes, but he also beat one of the best teams in the entire league.
Sure, the New Orleans Saints defense isn't anywhere near as good as the Chicago Bears defense, but Griffin looked much better than Andrew Luck in their first-ever regular season starts.
13. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-33, 303 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
Despite the crazy amount of athleticism and potential that is oozing from Cam Newton, there are still questions about his game.
The most prevalent question, and the one that wasn't answered this week, regards Newton's knack for making poor decisions with the football. Newton simply can't continue to throw multiple interceptions if he wants the Carolina Panthers to be a contender in the NFC South this season.
The sky is the limit for Newton, but he'll need to make better decisions if he ever wants to get that high.
12. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers
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Week 1 Statistics: 20-of-26, 211 yards, two touchdowns
If this is the Alex Smith the San Francisco 49ers are going to have for the rest of the year, the NFL needs to take notice.
Smith played about as perfectly as you could against the Green Bay Packers. In fact, it would be a fair assessment to say that he played much better than Aaron Rodgers.
The 49ers already fielded one of the best teams in the league before Smith came out and looked like one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Now they look like Super Bowl favorites.
11. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Week 1 Statistics: 22-of-40, 245 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
It was a long day for Ben Roethlisberger Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. However, despite being sacked five times and seeing constant pressure, Roethlisberger had his team in a position to win this game.
If there is one quality that you have to love about Roethlisberger, it is how he gives everything he has on every single play. Unfortunately, until he gets an offensive line, it is going to be a long season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
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Week 1 Statistics: 21-of-32, 213 yards, one touchdown
After a career year in 2011, Eli Manning came out just a little flat last Wednesday against the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, some of the blame fell on the shoulders of his receivers, but Manning had plenty of opportunities to get a victory, and he just couldn't do it.
Don't get me wrong; Manning is still one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but those who think Manning is a top-five quarterback are mistaken.
9. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
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Week 1 Statistics: 24-of-33, 231 yards, one touchdown
I expect big things from Philip Rivers this year, but even without playing his Week 1 matchup yet, Rivers is still one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
If he can lead his team deep into the playoffs, he could finally put himself in the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Update: While it wasn't the most impressive performance from Rivers against the Oakland Raiders, it was solid enough to keep him in the top-10 for another week.
8. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
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Week 1 Statistics: 32-of-48, 355 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions
The entire St. Louis Rams-Detroit Lions game was pretty ugly, but the reason Matthew Stafford ranks so high on this list is because he did what he needed to for his team to win the game.
Stafford drove the Lions down the field with time running out and found running back Kevin Smith for a five-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left to win the game. If Stafford can combine being clutch with his already ridiculous amount of talent, he'll be a top-five quarterback in no time.
7. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
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Week 1 Statistics: 19-of-26, 253 yards, two touchdowns
Did anyone else have trouble remembering that Peyton Manning hadn't played football in over a year last night?
Not only did Manning not look rusty at all, he looked extremely sharp. Against the No. 1 defense from last year, he managed to complete 73.1 percent of his passes and finish the game with a 129.2 quarterback rating.
It was a stellar performance from Manning, and the Denver Broncos have to be pleased that they now have one of the best quarterbacks in the league on their roster.
6. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
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Week 1 Statistics: 21-of-35, 333 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
With this new receiving corps, Cutler is only going to get better as the season progresses. Look for him to have a career season this year.
5. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
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Week 1 Statistics: 22-of-29, 307 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
Tony Romo looked sensational in the opening game of the 2012 NFL season. He was extremely accurate (75.9 percent completion percentage) and made every throw he needed to make.
However, what made this game so great for Romo was that he never gave in to the pressure of playing the defending Super Bowl champions. He was confident throughout the game and did exactly what he needed to do to come away with the victory.
If this is the Romo that the NFL will see for the rest of the season, exciting things could be happening in Dallas come February.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
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Week 1 Statistics: 24-of-52, 339 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions
I knew that Drew Brees' performance this year was going to take a hit due to all the off-field issues, but I didn't realize it was going to be this bad.
Brees has always been one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league, but against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, he failed to complete even 50 percent of his passes. While the Redskins don't have a terrible defense, they also don't have one of the league's best defenses, especially in the secondary.
Seeing Brees struggle this much brought up major questions about just how much Sean Payton means to this team. Brees is going to need to bounce back in a big way in Week 2, or he'll continue to fall down these rankings.
3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-31, 299 yards, three passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown
I knew the Atlanta Falcons were going to have a potent offense this year, but I had no idea it was going to be this potent.
Matt Ryan looked absolutely incredible in his Week 1 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. While he didn't really get it going until the second half, the entire game was a thing of beauty .
If Ryan looks this good throughout the course of the season, the Falcons are going to be the team to beat in the NFC.
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
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Week 1 Statistics: 23-of-31, 236 yards, two touchdowns
It was just another day on the job for Tom Brady on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. While it was nothing spectacular, it also wasn't a performance that should have dropped Brady from his spot as the No. 2 quarterback in the league.
He did exactly what the New England Patriots needed him to do: go on the road and come away with a huge win in Week 1.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
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Week 1 Statistics: 30-of-44, 303 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Despite losing against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers is still the No. 1 quarterback in the league.
What really made this performance from Rodgers impressive is the fact that he was dealing with absolutely no run game. Cedric Benson rushed the ball nine times for a total of 18 yards, and the majority of those carries came in the first half. Rodgers had five carries and led the team in rushing yards with 27.
The only way that Rodgers is going to lose his hold on this spot is if he plays terribly and another quarterback has a near perfect game. That didn't happen this week, so Rodgers continues atop the quarterback rankings for another week.