1. Peyton Manning – Manning is coming off his NFL record fourth MVP in ’09, returning all of his weapons, and is looking for a new contract that could keep him a Colt for life. Scary to think but Manning is primed for one of the best seasons of his career.
2. Drew Brees - I guess you can say 2009 was a decent year for Brees with 34 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, over 4300 yards, a QB rating of 109.6, and a Super Bowl ring. Now if he can only do it all again in ’10.
4. Aaron Rodgers – My pick for league MVP in 2010. Rodgers has his first playoff game under his belt, an overtime loss to Arizona in which the fifth year pro was 28-42 for 423 yards, a pick, and 4 TD’s. Look for Rodgers to get his first playoff win in ’10 and make everyone in Wisconsin forget about his predecessor.
5. Philip Rivers – Rivers is coming off back-to-back 4,000 yard seasons but continues to struggle in the postseason. Rivers has a postseason career passer rating of 79.2 compared to a career regular season rating of 95.8. If Rivers ever wants to be mentioned among the elite QB’s of the game, he will have to start winning in January.
6. Ben Roethlisberger – While it’s hard to put a two-time Super Bowl winning QB out of the top four, Big Ben will only have 10-12 games to get Pittsburgh back into the postseason for a shot at number three.
7. Brett Favre – Sorry Favre fans but Brett’s 7 interceptions and 107.2 QB rating he recorded last season likely won’t happen again in ’10. In the previous four seasons Favre had 79 interceptions with a QB rating of only 80. Those numbers coupled with an iffy ankle and an absent Sidney Rice for half the season do not fair well for the soon-to-be 41-year-old.
8. Eli Manning – Eli had the best season of his career in ’09 throwing for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. Manning has the most underrated receiving core in the league and Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nix are primed to have big seasons alongside veteran Steve Smith in ’10.
9. Tony Romo – There is little difference between a guy like Romo and Philip Rivers. Both are great regular season quarterbacks, both have the most talented skill positions in their conference, and both struggle in January. The biggest difference between the two is that Rivers has three postseason victories compared to Romo’s one.
10. Matt Schaub – Matt Schaub threw for over 3,000 yards in ’09 and that’s only if you don’t count the NFL’s leading receiver Andre Johnson’s yards. If the Texans can get any sort of a running game going in ’10, Houston has a great shot of making the postseason for the first time in the franchise’s history.
11. Carson Palmer – Palmer may have the hardest job in the NFL this season with the self-proclaimed “Batman and Robin” splitting out wide. Minus Trent Edwards, QB’s have had great success with Terrell Owens in Owens’ first season and look for Palmer to do the same. What happens after the 2010 season is anyone’s guess.
12. Donovan McNabb – Not saying that Kevin Kolb won’t be a solid signal caller, but trading McNabb to the Redskins and facing him twice a year could quickly make Philly fans realize how special of a player they had for 11 years.
13. Joe Flacco – Flacco and the Ravens are thinking Super Bowl in 2010. Last season Flacco threw for over 3,600 yards and 21 touchdowns to lead Baltimore to an 11-5 regular season and a playoff victory over Tom Brady and the Pats in Foxboro. The addition of Anquan Boldin could be just what Flacco and the Ravens’ offense need to get over the hump and challenge Indianapolis for a spot in Cowboys Stadium in February.
14. Matt Ryan – After an absolutely incredible rookie season in ’08 that saw the third overall pick throw for 3,440 with just 11 picks and a playoff appearance, Ryan suffered in ’09 from the proverbial sophomore slump. A healthy Michael Turner returning to the Atlanta offense should take much of the load off Ryan this season and and allow the Falcons to battle the Saints for the NFC South crown.
15. Vince Young – Last season Young took an 0-6 Titans club to an impressive 8-8 record after he took over for Kerry Collins following a 59-0 defeat at New England. Young has a very inexperienced receiving core with second year pro Kenny Britt and rookie Damian Williams, but Young likes his chemistry with Britt and expects big things from the pair in 2010.
16. David Garrard – One of the most underrated QB’s in the game today, Garrard is actually coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2009. The Pro Bowl was probably the only game in which anybody actually saw Garrard play as all of his games in Jacksonville were blacked out locally. Garrard has thrown for over 7,000 yards the last two seasons with just 23 interceptions combined.
17. Chad Henne – Fins owner Stephen Ross said this off-season that Chad Henne could go down as the greatest QB in Miami’s history. I’m not sure if he’ll be quite as good as that Marino fellow but the addition of Brandon Marshall gives Henne and the Dolphins a legitimate chance at a Lombardi trophy in the near future; something number 13 never accomplished.
18. Matt Hasselbeck – Don’t give up on Hasselbeck just yet. Last season Hasselbeck broke his ribs in week 2 and played through that pain for the majority of the season. In just 14 injury riddled games, the 3x Pro Bowler still threw for over 3,000 yards and new coach Pete Carroll should breathe new life into the 34-year-old in 2010.
19. Jay Cutler – Very few quarterbacks in the league have the upside that Cutler does. The addition of Mike Martz as offensive coordinator only increases this upside. Now if only we could all forget about Cutler’s 26 interception season of ’09.
20. Matt Moore – It will be very intriguing to see what Moore can do in a full season under center. In five games as the Panthers starting quarterback last year, Moore went 4-1 with a QB rating of 103. With Steve Smith being the only proven pass catcher on the roster, Moore will not give you many fantasy points but should prolong the Jimmy Clausen era in Carolina for at least the 2010 season.
21. Kevin Kolb – The verdict is not yet in on Kevin Kolb. The fourth year pro has only 130 attempts so far in his brief career as Donovan McNabb’s backup but you have got to think Andy Reid knew what he was doing when he let his trusted quarterback take his talents to D.C. With a talented group of young receivers in Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, don’t be surprised if Kolb and the Eagles challenge for a playoff spot in the NFC.
22. Jason Campbell – A new start was exactly what Campbell needed and was looking for. Too bad the coveted fresh start is in Oakland. Nonetheless, a huge upgrade from JaMarcus Russell.
23. Kyle Orton – Orton had the best season of his career last year throwing for 3800 yards and 21 touchdowns. Now we get to see how Orton performs without the safety net of Brandon Marshall.
24. Matthew Stafford - How can anyone succeed taking over a 0-16 squad? Stafford proved last season that he has the leadership, toughness, and many of the intangibles to be a Pro Bowl quarterback in this league. With Calvin Johnson as his primary target for years to come, look for Stafford to be in the Pro Bowl sooner rather than later.
25. Matt Cassel – Cassel was sacked 42 times last season ranking fourth in the NFL. In 2008 with New England, Cassel lead the entire NFL in sacks with 47. If Cassel is ever going to be a legitimate starter he will have to learn to stay on his feet.
26. Alex Smith – After missing the entire 2008 season, Smith played well after taking over the starting duties from Shaun Hill completing 60% of his passes with a 3-2 touchdown to interception ratio. This will be the first season of Smith’s career in which he won’t have a new offensive coordinator which should bode well for the former number one overall pick.
27. Matt Leinart – After Monday’s lackluster preseason performance against the Titans, Leinart blamed his poor play on the Titans’ blitzes. Hate to tell you Matt, but blitzes are part of the game. If you can’t beat the blitz, you can’t play quarterback in the NFL. That probably has a lot to do with why the former first round pick is challenging Derek Anderson for the starting job.
28. Trent Edwards – The subtraction of T.O. and the addition of C.J. Spiller should make things a little easier for Edwards in 2010. Lee Evans is still one of the best receivers in the game.
29. Mark Sanchez – With all of the hype the Jets are getting coming into the 2010 season, it seems like everyone is forgetting who their quarterback is. In Sanchez’s rookie season he threw for only 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions for a QB Rating of just 63 on a team good enough to go to the AFC Championship game. If the Colts play their starters in week 16 and eliminate New York from the playoffs, I believe people would have a different opinion on the Jets and Sanchez.
30. Josh Freeman – Hard to judge a rookie quarterback on a poor team but Freeman showed flashes at times last season in wins versus the Packers and the Saints. As good as Freeman was in those couple of games, the rookie still threw 18 picks in nine starts.
31. Jake Delhomme – What have you done for me lately is a popular saying in the NFL. Delhomme followed his six interception playoff game in ’08 with a ’09 season of 18 picks to just eight touchdowns in eleven starts. Good luck in Cleveland, Jake.
32. Sam Bradford/ A.J. Feeley - Too bad for Sam that A.J. hurt his shoulder Saturday night. An inexperienced offensive line coupled with the worst receiving corps in the league suggests that the best spot for Bradford this season is on the bench. Good thing for Sam that head coach Steve Spagnuolo has since said Feeley will remain the starter despite the injury.