With each week of the NFL season that passes, the importance of the quarterback position becomes clearer and clearer. This was especially true in Week 12 where we saw numerous teams greatly affected by the play of their quarterbacks.
For example, neither the Kansas City Chiefs nor Arizona Cardinals will ever be competitive with Brady Quinn or Ryan Lindley under center. And let's not even talk about Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I'm not sure the loss of a quarterback has ever had such a negative effect on a team before the Steelers lost Roethlisberger.
There are some new names on our rankings, and numerous quarterbacks have made moves up and down to their play in Week 12. Let's get into our updated quarterback rankings after Week 12.
Last Week's Ranking: 32
Week 12 Statistics: 13-of-25, 126 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception
I would expect nothing less than this type of performance from Brady Quinn. His struggles were obvious from the beginning, and I simply can't even imagine Quinn having a decent performance for the rest of the season.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL and will continue to be that until they get a major upgrade at the quarterback position.
Last Week's Ranking: 31
Week 12 Statistics: 31-of-52, 312 yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions
It's hard to be too rough on Ryan Lindley this week, as he made his first career start in the NFL, but this was still a poor, poor performance.
Of course, it doesn't help to throw against Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins all day, but Lindley still has to make better decisions with the football. While I expect him to improve over the next five games, he is still a long way from being considered anything better than the second-worst quarterback in the league.
Last Week's Rankings: N/A
Week 12 Statistics: 16-of-21, 119 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions
Nick Foles hasn't been put into the easiest of situations in his rookie season, but you'd still expect him to do a little more against a defense like the Carolina Panthers.
The Philadelphia Eagles didn't ask Foles to do much, but there were a handful of opportunities where Foles needed to make a play, but simply couldn't do it. He struggled to react quickly in the red zone, and that cost the Eagles a touchdown early in the game.
There will certainly be better games from Foles in the future, but so far he hasn't shown that he is a capable quarterback to eventually replace Michael Vick.
Last Week's Ranking: 27
Week 12 Statistics: 26-of-36, 301 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
Despite having a decent overall game on Thanksgiving Day against the New England Patriots, a 49-19 loss is never a good thing for a quarterback. We also can't forget about his two turnovers, including the fumble that turned into a touchdown after Sanchez ran into his own man.
There were actually a few positives that came from Sanchez's Week 12 performance. For example, his relationship with Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley continues to grow, with seven and 10 targets, respectively.
However, the New York Jets continue to disappoint week-in and week-out with Sanchez as their quarterback. That is why he makes a slight move down our power rankings this week.
Last Week's Ranking: 25
Week 12 Statistics: 23-of-40, 261 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
In his second game back from a shoulder injury, Jake Locker really struggled to play consistent football.
His accuracy struggles continue to be a major problem, as he can never seem to string together a streak of completions over the course of a game. What is even more troubling is the fact that Locker struggled so much against a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Consistency is going to be the key for Locker and the Tennessee Titans moving forward. Until he can play a full 60 minutes at a high level, the Titans will continue struggling to string together a group of victories.
Last Week's Ranking: N/A
Week 12 Statistics: 17-of-26, 261 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Does anyone else think that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be better than 2-9 right now had Chad Henne played quarterback for more than two games?
An overtime loss to the Houston Texans last week and a game-winning drive this week against the Tennessee Titans will likely give Henne the starting job for the remainder of the season. This is good news for Jacksonville, as it is finally seeing what guys like Justin Blackmon and Marcedes Lewis are capable of with a legitimate starting quarterback.
Not only will the Jaguars win more games before the season is over, but Henne will also be ranked much higher than this once Week 17 rolls around.
Last Week's Ranking: 28
Week 12 Statistics: 18-of-26, 253 yards, one touchdown, one interception
After struggling for a few weeks, Ryan Tannehill once again proved just how valuable he is going to be to the Miami Dolphins moving forward.
His fourth quarter was simply a beautiful performance. He had 156 passing yards and a touchdown pass, along with leading another touchdown drive and the game-winning scoring drive.
The Dolphins got a big win on Sunday, and Tannehill was the main catalyst behind the great overall performance from the team.
Last Week's Ranking: 26
Week 12 Statistics: 17-of-26, 158 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Last week I talked about how the Cleveland Browns were going to surprise some people late in the year, and one week later they did just that. Of course, it happened against an injury-riddled Pittsburgh Steelers team that committed eight turnovers, but a win is still a win.
Brandon Weeden didn’t play at a spectacular level on Sunday, but he certainly was a huge part in getting this victory. He was effective against a very good defense and didn’t attempt to do too much with the ball in his hands.
It would have been nice to see Weeden take more advantage of the ridiculous amount of turnovers from Pittsburgh, but the Browns certainly have to be pleased that they came away with the win on Sunday.
Last Week's Ranking: 24
Week 12 Statistics: 17-of-33, 180 yards, one touchdown, one interception
The biggest problem with Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to be his inability to make enough plays to win football games. He simply isn't talented enough to win a game by himself for the Buffalo Bills.
He continues to rely on the likes of C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson to win games for him, and that isn't what a quarterback needs to do. While his playmakers played well on Sunday, it wasn't enough to get a victory over the Indianapolis Colts, because Fitzpatrick couldn't do enough.
Buffalo will continue to have difficulties winning games as long as Fitzpatrick is the quarterback.
Last Week's Ranking: 19
Week 12 Statistics: 22-of-43, 159 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
It is finally time for Christian Ponder to take a drop down these rankings after another tough performance on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Yes, Chicago has a stellar defense, but no starting NFL quarterback should average only 3.7 yards per attempt in the game. While he certainly missed Percy Harvin, he still had plenty of receivers capable of making plays that he simply couldn't get the ball to.
After Colin Kaepernick torched the Bears defense last week, I expected Ponder to have a bounce-back game in Week 12. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and we are now truly seeing just how far Ponder still has to go.
Last Week's Ranking: 22
Week 12 Statistics: 8-of-17, 205 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Sam Bradford got some major help from his defense (two pick-sixes from Janoris Jenkins), but he played well enough to ensure that the St. Louis Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals rather easily.
There are still some concerns with his accuracy, as a 47.1 completion percentage this game is quite bad. However, he was really able to push the ball down the field and put it in a position where his receivers could make a play.
As long as Bradford continues to do that, the Rams have enough talent on the offensive side of the ball to be a dangerous team down the stretch.
Last Week's Ranking: 18
Week 12 Statistics: 19-of-34, 146 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
This was easily the worst performance from Carson Palmer this season. The big problem is that I think we'll continue to see more performances like this from Palmer for the rest of the season.
Palmer simply looked tired and downhearted in another huge loss in Week 12. Hopefully, the return of Darren McFadden sometime soon will put some life back into Palmer and this Oakland Raiders team.
If it doesn't, we could continue to see 20- and 30-point losses from the Raiders.
Last Week's Ranking: 23
Week 12 Statistics: 18-of-28, 306 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, 52 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns
This was the type of performance that we've been waiting for from Cam Newton this season. Not only did he dominate from the opening snap, but he didn't have a single turnover against the Philadelphia Eagles.
While the Eagles defense has been horrid the past six weeks, Newton still made numerous difficult throws and was unstoppable all game long. When he plays like this, the Carolina Panthers have the potential to beat any other team in the league.
Hopefully, Newton can finish the season strong and remind us just how high of a ceiling he truly has.
Last Week's Ranking: 21
Week 12 Statistics: 21-of-27, 224 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
Russell Wilson completed 16-straight passes against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. That was one completion away from a franchise record.
While Wilson didn't get the win on Sunday, he certainly did everything in his power to beat the Dolphins. He played exceptional football throughout the game and made every throw he needed to make.
What makes Wilson's performance this season even more impressive is the fact that he isn't working with an elite receiving corps. If Wilson ever gets some truly talented receivers surrounding him, the Seattle Seahawks will be an extremely dangerous team.
Last Week's Ranking: 20
Week 12 Statistics: 23-of-36, 228 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions
Despite not getting a win on Sunday, Philip Rivers showed enough in a loss to move a few spots up the rankings this week.
For starters, Rivers played rather well against one of the best defenses in the NFL. He was accurate, effective and didn't turn the ball over once.
His defense really let him down this week, but if Rivers can continue to play like he did in Week 12, the Chargers could get hot down the stretch.
Last Week's Ranking: 17
Week 12 Statistics: 31-of-61, 441 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
There are a whole bunch of issues with the Detroit Lions right now, but for the past few weeks, Matthew Stafford hasn't been one of them.
After an extremely slow start to the season, Stafford has picked things up in recent weeks. His Week 12 performance against the very talented defense of the Houston Texans might have been his best performance of the season.
Unfortunately, Stafford's quality performance still wasn't enough to come away with a win at home.
Last Week's Ranking: 14
Week 12 Statistics: 37-of-62, 441 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions
A difficult loss at home against the Washington Redskins was a big factor in why Tony Romo dropped a few spots in the rankings this week.
While his statistics look good, Romo didn't do any of his damage until the second half of the game. By that point, the Redskins were already up by over 20 points and the game was pretty much over.
I still believe that Romo has the talent to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but I don't believe he can be that in Dallas anymore.
Last Week's Ranking: 16
Week 12 Statistics: 30-of-51, 355 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions
While Joe Flacco struggled in the first half of Sunday's game, he really got it together in the second half. He led two scoring drives late in the fourth quarter to put the game into overtime, and then put the Baltimore Ravens in position to hit a game-winning field goal.
Flacco was surprisingly accurate against the San Diego Chargers and made his biggest plays when his team needed it the most. When he plays like he did this week, the Ravens become one of the most difficult teams to beat in the entire NFL.
Now they can only hope that he can continue to play like this throughout the playoffs.
Last Week's Ranking: N/A
Week 12 Statistics: 16-of-25, 231 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one rushing touchdown
After only two NFL starts, Colin Kaepernick already looks like one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
His versatility makes him an extremely dangerous player. However, it is nice to see that Kaepernick isn't relying on his running ability too often to make plays.
While Alex Smith could certainly still start once he's healthy, it will be a very difficult decision for the San Francisco 49ers to bench Kaepernick, especially after a performance like this.
Last Week's Ranking: 15
Week 12 Statistics: 16-of-30, 210 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
The Cincinnati Bengals are getting hot at the right time, and a huge reason why has been the play of Andy Dalton. Over the past three games, which have all been wins, Dalton has nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.
He's making all the right reads and getting the ball into his playmakers' hands at the perfect time. Of course, it helps to have as many quality options as Dalton does, but that still doesn't take away from how well he has been playing in recent weeks.
Dalton looks like the best second-year quarterback in the league right now, and to be honest, it isn't even close.
Last Week's Ranking: 13
Week 12 Statistics: 20-of-37, 240 yards, one touchdown, one interception
I don't think there was a single person in the world who honestly thought the Indianapolis Colts would win seven games this season. And I can guarantee that even the most diehard Colts fan didn't think they'd have seven wins by Week 12.
The only reason that this team is winning games right now is because of Andrew Luck. He continues to find ways to get his team wins, which is exactly what he did against the Buffalo Bills.
If Robert Griffin III wasn't playing like he was right now, Luck would be running away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Week 12 Statistics: 19-of-30, 256 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions
With Doug Martin getting held to only 50 rushing yards, there was a lot of pressure put on Josh Freeman on Sunday. Unfortunately, Freeman wasn't able to do enough to get a huge win over the Atlanta Falcons.
While Freeman was crucial in getting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in scoring position throughout the day, he simply wasn't able to find the end zone with his arm. With that said, he's still playing extremely impressive football and has Tampa Bay in the thick of the playoff race.
Last Week's Ranking: 12
Week 12 Statistics: 23-of-31, 188 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Say what you want about Jay Cutler, but without him on the field, the Chicago Bears look like one of the worst teams in the league.
He may not be the most beloved player in the NFL, but he consistently gets the job done for his team. It isn't always pretty, like on Sunday, but a win is a win in the NFL.
Cutler is quietly becoming an MVP candidate, and if he continues to play gutsy football and win games, it won't be long until everyone is considering him one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Last Week's Ranking: 11
Week 12 Statistics: 20-of-28, 311 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
For a second it looked as if Robert Griffin III had hit the "rookie wall," but two incredible performances in a row have proved he isn't even close to hitting anything.
In the past two games, Griffin has thrown eight touchdowns, only one interception and has a quarterback rating of 145.5. He has also been able to make plays with his legs, as he has 113 rushing yards in those two games.
Few players are as exciting to watch as Griffin is right now, as he is making electrifying play after electrifying play for the Washington Redskins.
Last Week's Ranking: 8
Week 12 Statistics: 16-of-30, 249 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
This was a big week for Eli Manning and the New York Giants, as they absolutely crushed the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
However, Manning wasn't quite as impressive as his statistics make it seem. While his receivers did drop numerous passes, Manning also missed wide-open receivers quite a few times. With how beat up the Packers defense was on Sunday, Manning easily could have had a much bigger week.
Still, the Giants won and remain atop the NFC East, and Manning holds onto his No. 8 ranking in our quarterback rankings.
Last Week's Ranking: 7
Week 12 Statistics: N/A (Ben Roethlisberger did not play in Week 12 due to a rib injury)
I honestly considered moving Roethlisberger up this week in the rankings, simply because we saw in Week 12 just how valuable he is to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Without him, the Steelers are an absolute mess and look like one of the worst teams in the league. If Big Ben is forced to sit out a few more games, the season may be unable to be salvaged.
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Week 12 Statistics: 29-of-48, 315 yards, one touchdown, one interception
Over the past two weeks, Matt Schaub has thrown the ball 113 times for 842 yards and six touchdowns. Those 113 attempts are 10 less than he had from Week 6 to Week 10.
The Houston Texans are having Schaub become a more valuable part of their offense, and it is paying off in a big way. He has looked fantastic the past two weeks, and he was especially impressive on Thanksgiving Day against the Detroit Lions.
When Schaub is playing like he is, the Texans offense is so good it is hard to imagine anyone being capable of beating them.
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Week 12 Statistics: 26-of-32, 353 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
Matt Ryan continues to put up mediocre numbers, but he also continues to find a way to win games. The Atlanta Falcons currently sit at 10-1, and Ryan continues to be the engine that gets this team victories.
The biggest positive to take away from Ryan's game on Sunday was his continued ability to make big plays down the field. Having Julio Jones healthy is a big help, of course, but Ryan is also finding his other receivers and allowing them to pick up big chunks of yards.
While Ryan will ultimately have to play better to make a deep playoff run, if he can keep games close, he'll always be a threat to make a comeback like he did on Sunday.
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Week 12 Statistics: 26-of-41, 267 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions
Going up against the best defense in the NFL is never an easy thing, and Drew Brees certainly felt that on Sunday.
He could never get into a good rhythm against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers had an answer for everything Brees had, and an interception that turned into six points ultimately put the game away in the third quarter.
Had Brees had a game like this against any other team, he likely would have dropped a few spots in our rankings. However, the 49ers defense is playing on a different level right now, and that is why Brees remains our No. 4 quarterback, despite his struggles on Sunday.
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Week 12 Statistics: 14-of-25, 219 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
While it may be a little surprising to see Aaron Rodgers holding onto his ranking after such a lopsided loss to the New York Giants, the loss certainly wasn't all Rodgers' fault.
No quarterback would have been able to do much with as much pressure Rodgers felt on Sunday night. There were only a handful of times when he had more than a second or two before he had to get rid of the ball due to the inability of his offensive line.
If the Green Bay Packers continue to struggle to give Rodgers time, we could see him have an extremely difficult time to win games down the stretch.
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Week 12 Statistics: 22-of-37, 285 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
There are two reasons why Peyton Manning moves down one spot in our quarterback rankings this week.
The first reason is that Tom Brady was already nipping at his heels and had a more impressive game in Week 12. While Manning was good, Brady was just quite a bit better.
Secondly, Manning should have played much, much better against the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a defense that has been ravaged by quarterbacks this season, but Manning was never able to really get things going against them.
Manning still has the Denver Broncos playing at an elite level and will continue to be fighting Brady for the top spot in our rankings the remainder of the season.
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Week 12 Statistics: 18-of-28, 323 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
Tom Brady overtakes the top spot in our power rankings after another fantastic performance in Week 12.
He was simply brilliant as he picked apart the New York Jets defense like an absolute tactician. This performance put him as the front-runner for Most Valuable Player at the end of the season.
When Brady plays like this, the New England Patriots are nearly unbeatable. It should scare the rest of the league that he is starting to play at such a high level this late in the season.