And given each of their immediate success, Super Bowl expectations become the next level for these young signal-callers. The obvious question: Who takes home the Vince Lombardi Trophy first?
Well, aside from each rookie's ability, other factors such as divisional and conference competition are of great significance. In addition, the personnel surrounding each quarterback and future schedules will impact as well.
Could this January be the first to feature a rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl? Regardless, all three have presented the potential to eventually win on the NFL's biggest stage.
Andrew Luck, Colts
Luck entered the toughest of situations.
Inheriting a team that finished 2-14, Luck immediately flipped the Indianapolis Colts into a postseason contender. Going 11-5, Luck had Indy ranked No. 7 in passing offense and took second in the AFC South.
The real determining factor, though, came from the Colts winning nine games that were decided by seven points or less. Luck was simply clutch and Indianapolis will certainly continue to build successfully around him.
Unfortunately he is not backed by a strong defense.
The Colts ranked No. 21 in points allowed per game (24.2) and were No. 26 in total defense. Considering other AFC offenses that are helped by a strong defense—Denver, Cincinnati, New England and Houston—Indy won't make a deep postseason run without it.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Griffin was the most electrifying player to watch throughout the 2012 NFL season.
His dual-threat versatility kept opponents falling for fakes and before we knew it, Griffin was down the sideline with a big run. And when out of the pocket, he forced linebackers to respect the scramble.
In turn, that created wider zones for his receivers and ultimately, a 65.6 completion percentage. Rarely turning the ball over, Griffin led the Washington Redskins to a 10-6 record and ranking No. 4 in points per game.
This high-powered attack will keep NFC East defenses off balance each year, so expect the Redskins to always be putting up points. Much like with Luck and the Colts, however, Washington's defense must improve.
Allowing an average of 24.2 points per contest this season, the Redskins were exposed against more efficient offenses such as the Saints, Bengals and Falcons. Include any team with a strong defense and Washington will have a tough time scoring; Just as we saw against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Among the three rookie quarterbacks in this postseason, Wilson is on the most complete team.
The Seattle Seahawks closed out at 11-5 and earned the NFC's No. 5 seed. Even if we flip the Seahawks' controversial win over the Green Bay Packers to a loss, Seattle still makes the postseason.
As the season progressed, Wilson and Co. logged key conference wins over the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. Seattle's defense ranked No. 1 in points allowed (15.3) and No. 4 overall. So, Wilson was fortunate to receive assistance from arguably the best defense in pro football.
At the same token, Wilson tossed 26 touchdowns to only 10 picks and sported a 64.1 completion percentage. He was sacked just 33 times and added 489 yards rushing with four scores.
Wilson is a true pocket-passer that knows how to spread the field, work off play-action and possesses pinpoint marksmanship. The lone downside of Seattle is its inability to win divisional road games (0-3).
Who wins a Super Bowl first?
Who Wins a Super Bowl First?
Wilson and the Seahawks will be the first to win a Super Bowl from this group.
And it comes down to the players surrounding Wilson.
Based on their abilities alone, Wilson, Luck and Griffin are virtually the same. Each are mobile, present a strong arm, read well pre-snap and are spot on with accuracy.
Seattle, though, fields a significantly better defense to consistently stifle any opposing offense. As a result, Wilson does have a bit more room for error and much less pressure to produce. Lest we forget about Marshawn Lynch: One of the NFL's top ball-carriers.
Luck and Griffin have to carry their teams, period.
Wilson would be able to carry Seattle, but he just doesn't have to. He can rely on a slower game tempo and ground attack to set up the pass. Without question would Luck and Griffin see similar results had they been selected by Seattle, and Wilson would do just fine in Indy or our nation's capital.
The distinction comes from a traditional running game with Lynch and a stellar defense. Seattle brings both and Wilson's efficiency takes the Seahawks to greater heights at a quicker pace.
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