Here are my top 25 quarterbacks for Week 7.
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat. It's merely an educated early guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's seventh weekend.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out every week, it shouldn't supersede two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Always play your healthy superstars.
2. Always ride your gut instinct over a certain guru's analysis.
NOTE: The Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins are all on byes.
Top 25 QBs For Week 7
1. Eli Manning vs. Washington
2. Drew Brees @ Tampa Bay
3. Aaron Rodgers @ St. Louis
4. Tom Brady vs. N.Y. Jets
5. Robert Griffin III @ N.Y. Giants
6. Tony Romo @ Carolina
7. Cam Newton vs. Dallas
8. Matthew Stafford @ Chicago
9. Josh Freeman vs. New Orleans
10. Andy Dalton vs. Pittsburgh
11. Jay Cutler vs. Detroit
12. Andrew Luck vs. Cleveland
13. Ben Roethlisberger @ Cincinnati
14. Christian Ponder vs. Arizona
15. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Tennessee
16. Carson Palmer vs. Jacksonville
17. Brandon Weeden @ Indianapolis
18. Joe Flacco @ Houston
19. Matt Hasselbeck @ Buffalo
20. Matt Schaub vs. Baltimore
21. Alex Smith vs. Seattle
22. Mark Sanchez @ New England
23. Sam Bradford vs. Green Bay
24. Russell Wilson @ San Francisco
25. Blaine Gabbert @ Oakland
25a. John Skelton @ Minnesota
1. All signs point to Eli Manning having a monster game against the Washington Redskins—the NFL's worst pass defense (328 yards per game)—while exacting a measure of revenge on the club that swept Big Blue last year. But there is one bump in the road: Against Washington in 2011, Manning averaged a pedestrian 263 yards passing and 0.5 total touchdowns.
2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently have the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense. But let's have some perspective here: Tampa Bay has surrendered 300 yards passing or 20-plus team points only twice this season.
3. Cam Newton has never faced the Dallas Cowboys in his brief career. But against NFC East foes, Newton has per-outing averages of 282 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns. He may need three scores to justify the No. 7 ranking.
4. Sunday should be an interesting litmus test for Ben Roethlisberger and new Pittsburgh Steelers O-coordinator Todd Haley. Cincinnati hasn't allowed any passing days above 250 yards since Week 2, and Big Ben has per-game averages of only 222 yards passing and 1.63 touchdowns at Paul Brown Stadium since 2007.
5. This is Josh Freeman's highest midweek ranking, and that makes me a little nervous. There are simply too many glowing positives in his favor this week—like surging supporting talent (Doug Martin, Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson), opponent's pass-defense ranking (26th overall) and playing at home.
Plus, Freeman (1,118 yards passing, eight touchdowns) recently notched 300 total yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his four-year career (Weeks 5 and 6).
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.