Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 14
It was a weekend of wild weather and fantastic finishes as Week 14 was officially entered into the record books.
The arctic blast appears to have turned the entire northern territory into a giant snow globe. And just like a snow globe, the top 10 in these updated quarterback power rankings has been significantly shaken up.
Rookie quarterbacks whose names you probably didn't expect to hear this season have shocked, while some other big-name rookies have fallen flat on their backs.
Find out where sensations such as Josh McCown and Nick Foles have landed after victories in frigid temperatures. Though McCown withstood the cold, his arm remained red-hot. Foles did a great job limiting turnovers in a game marred with them.
For these rankings, every current starting quarterback in the NFL will be considered and valued through numerous categories, each weighted differently as the season progresses.
Each week, I factor in several key attributes for the quarterback position, such as intelligence, arm strength, accuracy, athleticism and leadership.
Wins will also give quarterbacks a slight boost in addition to their individual performances. The statistics used to help determine the ranking system are pulled from ESPN.com, NFL.com and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) unless stated otherwise. Personal observation and opinion will play a key role as well.
Note: Total QBR is a scoring system that assesses everything a quarterback does on the field. It can be explained further via ESPN by clicking the link above.
Also, Pro Football Focus grades every single play of the season to generate a cumulative point total, which weighs into the metric as well.
Other key statistics considered are passer rating, touchdown-to-interception ratio, yards per pass attempt, fumbles lost, rushing yards per game, completion percentage, etc.
Starters from Previous Weeks Who Didn't Start in Week 14
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Why he didn't start: Benched
Last ranked: 24th
Replacement: Case Keenum
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
Why he didn't start: Concussion
Last ranked: 26th
Replacement: Matt Cassel
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns
Why he didn't start: Concussion
Last ranked: 30th
Replacement: Jason Campbell
Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers
Why he didn't start: Benched
Last ranked: 29th
Replacement: Matt Flynn
Seneca Wallace, Green Bay Packers
Why he didn't start: Groin injury
Last ranked: 28th
Replacement: Scott Tolzien
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
Why he didn't start: High-ankle sprain
Last ranked: 17th
Replacement: Josh McCown
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
Why he didn't start: Knee injury
Last ranked: 26th
Replacement: Matt McGloin
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans
Why he didn't start: Foot injury
Last ranked: 21st
Replacement: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jeff Tuel, Buffalo Bills
Why he didn't start: Returned to backup role
Last ranked: 32nd
Replacement: EJ Manuel
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Why he didn't start: Fractured collarbone
Last ranked: 3rd
Replacement: Seneca Wallace
Thaddeus Lewis, Buffalo Bills
Why he didn't start: Returned to backup role
Last ranked: 28th
Replacement: EJ Manuel
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Why he didn't start: Hamstring
Last ranked: 21st
Replacement: Nick Foles
Josh Freeman, Minnesota Vikings
Why he didn't start: Concussion and then benched
Last ranked: 32nd
Replacement: Christian Ponder
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Why he didn't start: Injured knee (out for the season)
Last ranked: 20th
Replacement: Kellen Clemens
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
Why he didn't start: Benched
Last rank: 32nd
Replacement: Chad Henne
32. Geno Smith, New York Jets
Last Week: 32nd
Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his best game in two months, throwing one touchdown pass and running for another score. His scoring connection with receiver Jeremy Kerley was Smith's first TD pass since Week 7. Yes, you read that correctly.
Smith has been a turnover machine in his rookie campaign, which happens to be the one thing Rex Ryan doesn’t want from his quarterback. He would be much happier with 100 yards passing and no turnovers than he would with a 250-yard game with three picks.
You can’t help but feel bad for Smith considering he had better weapons in college. That is simply pathetic. The Jets could have Da’Rick Rogers and Keenan Allen on their team right now. What were they thinking not adding some more offensive weapons in the draft?
31. EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 27th
It appears EJ Manuel’s first NFL season is beginning to turn on its head as the disappointing loses continue to mount.
The first quarterback taken in the 2013 draft—and the only one drafted in the first round—continued his struggles Sunday, as he seemed to regress, throwing a career-high four interceptions against the Buccaneers defense. However, two of those interceptions came on passes tipped by his own receivers.
This is rock-bottom for Manuel in terms of power rankings. He is the second-worst starting quarterback in the NFL at this point.
30. Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 29th
Chad Henne has the fewest deep-ball passing yards of any quarterback totaling at least 30 attempts of 20 yards or more, with 232 yards, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
In Thursday’s win, he completed only 44 percent of his passes and threw for only 117 yards. He did have two touchdown passes and no turnovers on the day, which often can be more valuable than big passing numbers.
Henne and Jaguars have now won four of their last five games despite the struggles in the passing game.
29. Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 31st
First of all, let me just say I have absolutely no idea what Matt Flynn is doing in that picture, but the referee looks seriously concerned about him.
With Aaron Rodgers still recovering from a broken collarbone, Matt Flynn resumed his role as the starting quarterback on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Flynn had a solid day, totaling over 250 yards passing in the 22-21 win over the Falcons.
The most overpaid backup in the NFL has gone from his worst ranking to his best in just a single week.
28. Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 28th
Despite a lackluster performance by Kellen Clemens against the Cardinals, he remains steady at the 28th spot in the rankings.
Clemens is only completing 52 percent of his passes and has a miserable Total QBR of 34.
At this point, Clemens needs to be playing for a job in the NFL next season. He has struggled to prove he even belongs as a backup at this point in his career.
27. Case Keenum, Houston Texans
Last Week: 25th
Although Case Keenum has progressively revealed more than a few flaws as his body of work continues to expand, he still has done some impressive things for the Houston passing attack. PFF has him ranked second in deep-ball accuracy among all quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts beyond 20 yards.
Furthermore, Keenum has been trying to succeed behind an offensive line that has struggled to protect him. To be fair, many of his dropbacks under pressure have been the result of failing to change the protection at the line or recognize the blitz in his pre-snap reads. Other times, he simply needs to get the ball out quicker.
Excitement for Keenum or anything football-related in Houston has been greatly diminished by the stench of losing. Keenum has yet to win a game and is only completing 54 percent of his passes.
In the Texans' Thursday night loss to the Jaguars, Keenum split time with Matt Schaub, who came off the bench.
26. Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: N/A
The last time Matt Cassel started a game was back in Week 6.
It’s still somewhat difficult to believe we had a game with Joe Flacco and Cassel as the starting quarterbacks in which they produced five TDs in the last 125 seconds.
Cassel had a good day, throwing for 265 yards with two touchdowns and zero picks.
He appears to have done enough to stave off Josh Freeman, who has been waiting in wings for another shot at the starting quarterback position.
25. Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns
Last Week: N/A
The former first-round pick-turned-NFL journeyman has certainly racked up the yards in most of his opportunities in Cleveland thanks in large part to wide receiver sensation Josh Gordon. Although Campbell’s passing yards have been impressive thus far, he still needs to work on his deep-ball accuracy. Several of his attempts have been off the mark.
Campbell is replacing Brandon Weeden, who was replacing him, who replaced Brian Hoyer, who was replacing Weeden—whoa. Did you get all that?
Talk about quarterback musical chairs.
But he is currently the best option at the moment considering Weeden has never been ranked higher than 29th, while Campbell has been as high as 19th at one point during his five starts of the season.
24. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 23rd
One of the many obstacles Mike Glennon faces this season, beyond just being a rookie quarterback, is that the Tampa Bay pass protection has not been very good. When you watch Glennon on tape, he rarely is given a clean pocket to throw from and is constantly contending with guys in his face. Like most inexperienced QBs, Glennon is partly to blame for this.
In the battle between two rookie quarterbacks, Glennon got the victory, but he was hardly the distinguished gentleman in that contest. He completed just nine of 25 passes for 90 yards through the air. He should be glad he only dropped one spot, honestly.
According to PFF, Glennon had the worst grade of any quarterback in Week 14.
23. Matt McGloin, Oakland Raiders
22. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 22nd
After moving all the way up to his season high of 19th on the list, Ryan Fitzpatrick slid a few spots down after a poor performance against the Colts two weeks ago. His brutal loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos didn't help his cause much either.
Perhaps it's Fitzpatrick who struggles in the cold weather. Maybe that was his major malfunction in Buffalo as well.
The good news for Fitz is that he has been the third-best backup quarterback-turned-starter of the season. This is good news for him considering his career was on a downward spiral after he was released by the Bills shortly after signing a hefty new contract.
His numbers have been decent this year overall. The biggest surprise has been his mobility as he tries to do his best Jake Locker impersonation.
21. Eli Manning, New York Giants
Last Week: 19th
Eli Manning is tied with Geno Smith for the most interceptions (20) in the NFL this season. That’s not exactly what anyone expected from one the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Though Manning did show signs of improvement as the season wore on, he has not been able to maintain that progression.
Against the Chargers on Sunday, Manning added two more picks to his season total, as the Giants lost, 37-14.
Sadly, Manning’s 74 passer rating is among the lowest of all quarterbacks in the NFL. The Giants' season has been one to forget, and Manning has been playing like a very distant relative of his brother Peyton.
20. Robert Griffin III, Washington
Last Week: 17th
It’s time to start wondering if it can get any worse for Robert Griffin III out there. He seems to be getting physically mauled out there each and every game, yet he manages to get up and brush himself off each and every time.
Sunday’s game against the Chiefs turned out a record low in attendance for Washington, and Griffin's performance wasn’t any better. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw for just 164 yards.
Including fumbles, RG3 has thrown as many touchdown passes as he has turned the ball over this season. His Total QBR is a lowly 40 in 2013, which is a stark contrast from the 71 he had during his rookie year.
At this point, it appears some major shakeups are looming in the nation’s capital.
19. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 21st
It was a wild game between the Vikings and the Ravens on Sunday. Joe Flacco continued to struggle with turnovers and is ranked 48th of all quarterbacks who have played a snap this season, according to PFF.
At this point in the season, only Geno Smith and Eli Manning have thrown more interceptions than has Flacco. This is clearly not the kind of season Ravens fans had in mind when the team signed its quarterback to a record-breaking deal.
Flacco has been all over the power rankings and should be trending upward after the return of one of his favorite targets, Dennis Pitta.
18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 20th
Quarterback Andy Dalton just had his first decent game since Halloween. His inconsistent play has been an ongoing narrative all season. It’s been difficult to gauge which quarterback will show up for Cincy each week. Fortunately for the Bengals, it was the good Dalton who showed up in a showdown against Andrew Luck and Co.
Dalton aired it out for 275 yards with three touchdowns and zero turnovers. His performance was good enough to bump him up a few spots in the power rankings.
If he can play like this for the remainder of the season, the Bengals will be a force to be reckoned with heading into the postseason and beyond.
17. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 18th
In Arizona’s victory against the Rams, the Cardinals managed to keep their playoff hopes alive for yet another week. Carson Palmer had an impressive day, completing 84 percent of his passes with zero turnovers.
Palmer has shown significant improvement in the second half of the season as the Cardinals have been on a run for a postseason appearance.
With that said, only Geno Smith and Eli Manning have thrown more interceptions than Palmer (17) has on the season. However, in his last six games, he has managed to reduce his turnover rate to four picks and 12 touchdown passes.
As a result, Palmer is currently ranked higher than he has been all season long. His stock is certainly trending up.
16. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 16th
We’re beginning to know just what to expect from Colin Kaepernick this season. He manages the game nicely while making a few decent plays with his legs and throwing for around 200 yards. Kap understands how to protect the ball, but he struggles when it comes to going through his progressions and reading defenses.
Too often he will lock onto his first read and panic if that option is taken away from him. As a result, the third-year pro is the second-lowest-ranked quarterback with at least nine wins on the season.
Lets put this season into perspective a little bit here. Kap has four games with over 200 yards passing in 13 starts this season, while undrafted rookie Matt McGloin has three in only four starts. Who do you think has the better supporting cast?
Kaepernick’s best stat so far this year is his Total QBR of 64.
15. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 15th
Considering the lack of protection, the unprecedented distractions and the underachieving free-agent additions, Ryan Tannehill has played pretty solid football while surprisingly keeping the Dolphins in the playoff hunt.
When you have a shaky offensive line that cannot pass-protect, it pays to have an athletic quarterback. However, one of the most shocking elements about Tannehill’s athleticism is that he rarely ever uses it. Who would have thought this former college wideout would only be averaging 16 rushing yards per game with only one rushing touchdown all season?
Tannehill has been sacked more than any other quarterback this year. It might be time to start the “run Tanny run” campaign.
14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 12th
Matt Ryan played OK in the cold weather of Green Bay, but he didn’t play well enough to win. He and the Falcons continue to spiral downhill and have dropped to 3-10 on the season.
With that said, Ryan can’t be blamed for all of the woes in Atlanta. He is completing 65 percent of his passes and has a solid Total QBR (63) and passer rating (89).
Though the Falcons' season is over, the players still need to show up each week and put their resumes on tape.
13. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 14th
Ever since the Chiefs' loss to the Broncos the first time around, Alex Smith seems to have turned a corner with his ability to push the ball down the field. Smith had an efficient day in the blowout win over Washington on Sunday. It didn’t take gaudy numbers through the air to secure a victory on the road in this contest.
Smith threw just six incompletions on the day, though he only racked up 137 yards passing.
As long as the touchdown passes and wins continue to mount and the turnovers are avoided, you can expect Alex Smith to climb up the power rankings.
12. Josh McCown, Chicago Bears
Last Week: 13th
Josh McCown completed 75 percent of his passes for 348 yards and four touchdown strikes and added a score with his legs on Monday night. His accuracy and overall performance in prime time were extremely impressive, especially considering the freezing temperatures. He and the Bears scored on every drive of the game.
The Bears now have two 1,000-yard receivers this season and a 1,000-yard rusher. With McCown under center and head coach Marc Trestman calling the shots, this offense is firing on all cylinders.
So what will the Bears do when Jay Cutler is healthy and ready to return?
It seems with every touchdown McCown throws, Jay Cutler’s ankle takes a mysterious step backward.
11. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 8th
In difficult conditions that didn’t favor a passing attack, Nick Foles still managed to throw for more yards than his opponent, Matthew Stafford. He even surpassed Colin Kaepernick’s passing yards on the week despite Kap playing in pristine weather conditions.
It took a blizzard for Foles to throw his first interception of the year. He now has 20 touchdown passes to only one interception.
Foles has a passer rating of 120 on the season, which is the best among all NFL quarterbacks.
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 10th
In Sunday’s loss to Miami, Roethlisberger completed 23 of 39 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns without any interceptions.
His performance was enough to bump him past Nick Foles but not Andrew Luck, who holds the edge in a close race.
The Steelers need to do what they can to retain this guy. He is still one of the best in the business and Pittsburgh should have won that game.
9. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 9th
Although Cam Newton had clearly seen better days, he still managed to avoid committing a turnover against the Saints and had 48 yards rushing on the day.
Newton is still having an impressive season thus far, completing 62 percent of his passes while leading the league in rushing touchdowns with six.
Someday soon, the Panthers are going to have to give this talented quarterback some real weapons to throw to. Then we can watch his numbers and progression really take off.
8. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Last Week: 5th
It's hard to judge Matthew Stafford too harshly given the challenges he faced with the weather in Philly. Though the snow flurries settled down in the second half, Stafford was noticeably struggling with accuracy amid the storm. He only completed 10 of 25 passes for 148 yards in the snow.
Stafford fumbled five times on the day, though he only lost one of them.
To Stafford’s credit, at least he didn’t throw an interception.
On the season, he is only completing 58 percent of his passes.
7. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 11th
It appears Andrew Luck has gotten back on track after several weeks of sliding performances. He may have even found his new go-to receiver in the absence of Reggie Wayne. Talented undrafted rookie Da’Rick Rogers had 107 receiving yards and two touchdowns in only his second game as a pro.
Luck is rushing for over 30 yards per game and fighting through a plethora of obstacles while finding a way to keep this rebuilding roster competitive.
Few quarterbacks have created more time in the pocket than Luck has, but according to PFF, he is also paying the price by leading the league in being hit after the throw.
Against the Bengals, he threw for four touchdowns and over 320 yards while also leading his team in rushing yards. Maybe he can play safety on defense as well.
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Last Week: 7th
Tom Brady bumped up a spot after sneaking away with a last-second victory over the Cleveland Browns. In that contest, he threw for over 400 yards, two touchdowns and two turnovers.
The big question now is whether or not Brady will regress back to his early-season numbers now that tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the season with a knee injury.
It was indeed the lack of reliable weapons that contributed to Brady’s descent to the 16th spot on the power rankings.
It’ll be interesting to see if he can finish out the season in the top 10.
5. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 6th
Many people will piggyback on the narrative that Tony Romo now has a career record of 13-20 in December/January. Though this is a significant statistic that has haunted Romo’s career, we must take into account that he threw three touchdown passes and no picks against Chicago. Dallas’ defense was its undoing in this blowout. It played absolutely horrendously.
Monday night was the fifth time this season the Cowboys have allowed at least 490 yards. No other team has done this twice. As we saw last year in New Orleans, not even Drew Brees can overcome a disastrous defense.
Romo is playing well this season and has been a true asset for the Cowboys.
4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 4th
When Philip Rivers burst onto the 2013 NFL season looking like a new man, many of us, including myself, thought he would eventually taper off. Yet here we stand nearly 14 weeks later and Mr. Rivers has done nothing but show that he belongs among the few elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
His consistent play, moxie and competitive spirit have uplifted a Chargers team devastated by injuries while helping it surpass the terribly low expectations it had entering the season.
Amazingly, Rivers and Co. are still alive in the playoff race and may find a way to sneak in when all is said and done.
I will throw out one “wow” stat for you—Rivers has completed 70 percent of his passes. That’s the highest completion percentage in the NFL. The only other quarterbacks to complete 70 percent of their passes while throwing for over 3,800 yards are Drew Brees and Steve Young.
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 2nd
According to PFF, Russell Wilson has the highest completion percentage on throws 20 yards or more out of all NFL QBs with at least 10 attempts of such throws. He’s completing a whopping 56 percent of his throws downfield despite the lack of explosive playmakers at the receiver position in Seattle.
If you think the stat is skewed because he doesn’t throw deep very often, think again. Wilson’s 847 deep-ball passing yards rank third in the NFL.
I’ve never witnessed a young QB with this much composure in only his second year. His scrambling ability has to be the best in the NFL at this point, and he has done all of this with a beat-up offensive line and injuries to two of his top wideouts.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 3rd
Brees is one of the best QB's of all time, and up until the Seattle game, he was putting up record-type numbers.
His career has also been amazing, which is reflected in the fact that he has become the fastest quarterback in NFL history to pass for 50,000 yards in his career.
In the Saints’ big divisional matchup against the Panthers, Brees threw for over 300 yards for the ninth time this season. He also had four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. This marks the sixth time in 2013 that he has a multiple-touchdown game without a pick.
Talent, hard work and discipline ooze out of Brees. He proves that downfield vision from the pocket is more about what’s in your head rather than how far off the ground it is.
1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Last Week: 1st
Clearly upset by the chatter about his cold-weather struggles all week, Manning told skeptics to "shove that where the sun don't shine" in an uncharacteristic display of emotions to the media following the decisive victory over the Titans.
Denver needs to total just 75 points over the final three games to break the 2007 Patriots' single-season NFL record of 589 points. Manning is on pace for a ridiculous 55 touchdown passes and 5,562 yards.
This could be one of the greatest single-season performances we’ve ever witnessed in the NFL.
Can Manning continue this success without Wes Welker, who may miss several weeks with a concussion? Will he fold yet again in the playoffs?
Ryan Riddle is a former NFL player and currently writes for Bleacher Report.
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