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1. Aaron Rodgers: He did have an “off day” last Sunday, going 23-34 for 299 for 2 TDs / 1 INT. Then again, if Rodgers posted his “off day” performances for his entire career, he’d still be a Hall of Famer. The Michael Jordan of the NFL?
2. Drew Brees: Supplants Tom Brady at the #2 spot by virtue of a lights out performance (30-43, 322, 2TD / 0 INT) against the tough divisional rival Atlanta Falcons. An exemplary leader who has lead an otherwise average team to Superbowl contention in 2010 and ’11.
3. Tom Brady: Brady’s numbers, while impresive (25 TD / 10 INT), are inflated by seemingly invincible performances the first three games of the year. During the Patriots’ two-game losing streak against the Steelers and Giants, Brady was slightly above average at best. Particularly, against the Giants, Brady was outplayed by Eli Manning, passing for 2 TDs / 2 INT against an average Giants secondary. Right now, between Brady or Brees at the helm for a big contest, the edge belongs to Brees.
4. Ben Roethlesberger: His statistics aren’t as impressive at the top three quarterbacks, not that there is anything shabby about 16TD / 9INT and a 93 QB rating. What’s most relevant, however, is that Roethlisberger just keeps winning big football games. Has the posture of a 4-Star General and takes hits in the pit as if he likes them. These attributes have to boost the morale of a team that thrives on hard-nosed, extremely physical play.
5. Peyton Manning: Is there anyone ranked 6- 10 on this list who deserves to supplant the injured legend?
6 – 10: Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Tony Romo: As the old adage goes, you’re not necessarily an adult just because you’re old. Three 30-and-over veterans (Matt Schaub, Eli Manning, and Tony Romo) share the backseat with a precocious youngin’, Matthew Stafford (23 years old). Each quarterback has his woes.
Romo may emote about how he can’t seem to perform consistently in the playoffs. Eli can talk about how seems to be “elite” one week, but totally ineffective the next (18/35 and two turnovers against the teetering Philadelphia Eagles? Really?). Stafford can discuss how, sometimes, he feels that if he didn’t have the acrobatic phenom wide receiver Calvin Johnson on his team, he may be nothing more than an average quarterback. He may also complain that his arm hurts after chucking 60 passes against the Chicago Bears for a grand total of 1 TD / 4 INT. And the currently injured Matt Schaub can talk about how he’s tired of being considered a youngin’, having put up stellar numbers in the regular season since 2009. However, in the NFL, no matter how good you are, you are still a youngin’ until you win a playoff contest.