While the quarterback position has always been important, the overall infatuation with passers has only grown more profound over time. This has led, of course, to endless debates around which quarterback is the best in the league — a question these QB power rankings look to answer in 2020.
Fortunately for us, Week 2 brought us a much better product than what we endured opening weekend. Average air yards per completion were up across the board as quarterbacks attacked downfield more often. This was expected given the entire league is continuing to work out the kinks that remain from no preseason games.
Several players set new personal bests while a few NFL records were produced as well. Both Gardner Minshew and Ryan Tannehill, who raised their stocks in this week’s QB power rankings, matched their career-high touchdown passes for a single game– exciting stuff.
There was also another rookie quarterback sighting as Justin Herbert got the surprise start for the Los Angeles Chargers. And if coach Anthony Lynn decided to continue playing Herbert, nobody would be surprised. The sixth overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft went toe to toe with the reigning Super Bowl MVP and had the Chargers looking like contenders.
However, it would be remiss of me to review Week 2 and not mention the injury bug that’s swept the league. I spoke of Herbert starting earlier and word is Tyrod Taylor got hurt before Sunday’s game when a team doctor punctured Taylor’s lung with a needle from a pain-killing injection. But he wouldn’t be the only injury of the week.
Second-year signal caller Drew Lock of the Denver Broncos injured his shoulder early in his matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The fact the Broncos signed Blake Bortles this week is telling. It looks like he’ll be needed depth behind Jeff Driskel for a month or so.
And if two quarterbacks weren’t enough, 2019’s NFC champion signal caller, Jimmy Garoppolo tweaked his ankle early in Sunday’s meeting with the New York Jets. We’re being told there’s a chance he returns in Week 3, but high ankle sprains are no joke.
With that said, here’s to another high flying slate of games this weekend. And let’s pray these injuries are more an aberration than a regular occurrence moving forward. But before Week 3 kicks off, let’s look at how the current starters shake out two weeks into the 2020 regular season.
NOTE: PFN’s QB Power Rankings of 2020 include player statistics from the current season. Rank among all qualifying QBs shown in parenthesis. Stats/analytics include: Games played (GP), passing yards, completion percentage, average air yards per completion (CAY), passing touchdowns, interception percentage per attempt (INT%), PFN’s Offensive Value Metric (OVM), rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.
2020 QB Power Rankings Week 3
#1 – Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks ⇔
Season: 2 GP | 610 yards (5th) | 82.5% (1st) | 5.9 avg CAY (19th) | 9 TDs (1st) | 1.6 INT% (T-17th) | 31.91 OVM (7th) | 68 rush yards (5th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Russell Wilson is the clear front runner for MVP and an even more prestigious honor — Pro Football Network’s top QB of 2020. But seriously, Wilson has been fantastic these first two weeks. When dropping back to pass, there’s practically as good a chance Wilson throws a touchdown as there is he throws incomplete.
#2 – Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ⇔
Season: 2 GP | 513 yards (17th) | 64.6% (22nd) | 5.1 avg CAY (25th) | 5 TDs (T-7th) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 16.06 OVM (31st) | 54 rush yards (7th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
For much of Sunday’s game against a stingy Los Angeles Chargers defense, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense were held in check. Of course, that was up until the fourth quarter when Mahomes went full ‘Eddie Money.’ You can’t keep a good man down, you know?
#3 – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers ⇔
Season: 2 GP | 604 yards (6th) | 67.6% (14th) | 6.9 avg CAY (10th) | 6 TDs (T-7th) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 31.73 OVM (8th) | 14 rush yards (23rd) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Remember when everyone destroyed the Green Bay Packers for not investing in the wide receiver position this offseason? In two weeks, Aaron Rodgers has complete 31 passes to the receivers for 460 yards — 76% of Green Bay’s passing production.
#4 – Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens ⇔
Season: 2 GP | 479 yards (22nd) | 77.6% (2nd) | 7.9 avg CAY (5th) | 4 TDs (T-10th) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 36.17 OVM (1st) | 99 rush yards (3rd) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Lamar Jackson toted the rock 16 times on Sunday as the Baltimore Ravens rushing attack dominated. This was a stark contrast to Week 1, furthering the notion that Jackson is one of the most difficult quarterbacks to defend.
#5 – Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons ⇑2
Season: 2 GP | 723 yards (2nd) | 67.8% (13th) | 8.5 avg CAY (3rd) | 6 TDs (T-2nd) | 1.1 INT% (13th) | 35.58 OVM (2nd) | 15 rush yards (22nd) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
What else can Matt Ryan do but put up 39 points? From a statistic and analytic standpoint, Ryan is playing at an elite level even if his defense can’t support him a bit more.
#6 – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans ⇔
Season: 2 GP | 528 yards (12th) | 66.2% (T-18th) | 6.0 avg CAY (18th) | 2 TD (T-19th) | 2.9 INT% (T-23rd) | 25.22 OVM (20th) | 44 rush yards (9th) | 1 rush TD (T-4th)
On Sunday, Deshaun Watson’s offense was trading field goals for touchdowns against the Super Bowl contending Baltimore Ravens. Even so, Watson’s play was more highlight-worthy at times than Jackson’s, reminding us how special Watson is.
#7 – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys ⇑2
Season: 2 GP | 716 yards (3rd) | 68.6% (11th) | 6.5 avg CAY (T-12th) | 2 TD (T-19th) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 28.32 OVM (16th) | 48 rush yards (8th) | 3 rush TDs (T-2nd)
Could Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboy’s offense have started any worse? Luckily, Prescott had one of the best performances in NFL history in his back pocket. As the marvelous comeback concluded, Prescott became the first player ever to throw for 400 or more yards while rushing for three touchdowns in a single game.
#8 – Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals ⇑5
Season: 2 GP | 516 yards (16th) | 66.7% (T-16th) | 5.0 avg CAY (26th) | 2 TD (T-19th) | 2.6 INT% (20th) | 24.95 OVM (22nd) | 158 rush yards (1st) | 3 rush TDs (T-2nd)
There’s a perfectly good explanation for Kyler Murray’s eight position jump in our QB power rankings after two weeks. To start the season, only ten quarterbacks in their second year have topped 4,000 passing yards. That’s significant because Murray is already on pace to become the 11th player to do it. Plus, he’s on pace to rush for 1,264 yards. Both yard totals would be better than what Lamar Jackson did last season.
#9 – Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers ⇑1
Season: 2 GP | 540 yards (11th) | 68.5% (12th) | 5.5 avg CAY (24th) | 5 TDs (T-7th) | 1.4 INT% (14th) | 22.72 OVM (25th) | 7 rush yards (T-29th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Ben Roethlisberger moves up by default this week. Nevertheless, he topped 300 yards and threw for multiple scores in another Pittsburgh Steelers win. Not to mention, the victory moved him and coach Mike Tomlin into third place all-time for wins by QB/head coach duo.
#10 – Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans ⇑5
Season: 2 GP | 488 yards (21st) | 70.1% (9th) | 6.8 avg CAY (11th) | 6 TDs (T-2nd) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 28.36 OVM (15th) | 26 rush yards (T-17th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
The Tennessee Titans offense has played well in the fourth quarter this season and much of that success can be credited to Ryan Tannehill. And that’s a substantial factor to rank a quarterback in the top 10 — playing well late in games.
#11 – Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ⇓3
Season: 2 GP | 541 yards (10th) | 58.7% (31st) | 6.4 avg CAY (T-14th) | 3 TD (T-13th) | 2.7 INT% (22nd) | 23.30 OVM (24th) | 27 rush yards (16th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
In Week 1, Matthew Stafford threw a fourth-quarter interception that set up the opposition’s winning score. This week, Stafford threw a pick-six putting the Green Bay Packers up 17, a deficit the Detroit Lions couldn’t overcome. Typically, Stafford is a bright spot on this team. Right now, he’s a big reason for their defeats.
#12 – Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ⇑2
Season: 2 GP | 456 yards (24th) | 64.8% (20th) | 5.7 avg CAY (20th) | 3 TDs (T-13th) | 4.2 INT% (32nd) | 21.19 OVM (27th) | 9 rush yards (T-25th) | 1 rush TD (T-4th)
Tom Brady’s ball placement was on point again this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense would do their part, setting the offense up in scoring position a couple of times early. Still, Brady took advantage of those opportunities as he should. And because of it, he’s still never started a season 0-2.
#13 – Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills ⇑5
Season: 2 GP | 729 yards (1st) | 70.4% (8th) | 7.7 avg CAY (T-6th) | 6 TDs (T-2nd) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 26.97 OVM (18th) | 75 rush yards (4th) | 1 rush TD (T-4th)
After his first 300-yard passing game in Week 1, Josh Allen followed up with his first 400-yard passing game in Week 2. He’s just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 700 yards and six touchdowns without a single interception to start a season (first two weeks). With that said, facing the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins to begin the year helps.
#14 – Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints ⇓9
Season: 2 GP | 472 yards (23rd) | 64.7% (21st) | 3.6 avg CAY (33rd) | 3 TDs (T-13th) | 1.5 INT% (T-15th) | 8.61 OVM (34th) | 0 rush yards (34th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Drew Brees doesn’t throw downfield often, but that’s because the New Orleans Saints are usually ahead. However, when you’re down two scores and still throwing outlets and swing passes, I’m a bit concerned. Brees’ slide continues in our QB power rankings.
#15 – Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers ⇑1
Season: 2 GP | 390 yards (29th) | 67.3% (15th) | 4.3 avg CAY (T-29th) | 4 TDs (T-10th) | 0.0 INT% (T-1st) | 20.58 OVM (28th) | 9 rush yards (T-25th) | 0 rush TDs (T-10th)
Up 21-3, Jimmy Garoppolo was removed from Sunday’s contest in favor of Nick Mullens. Word is that Garoppolo’s injury is a high ankle sprain, making him unlikely for Week 3. With that said, Garoppolo was playing well, completing 14 of 16 passes for 131 yards and two scores before succumbing to the injury he sustained early in the game.
#16 – Cam Newton, New England Patriots ⇑6
Season: 2 GP | 552 yards (8th) | 71.4% (7th) | 7.2 avg CAY (T-8th) | 1 TD (T-30th) | 1.6 INT% (T-17th) | 28.48 OVM (14th) | 122 rush yards (2nd) | 4 rush TDs (1st)
In just two games under coach Bill Belichick, Cam Newton has made second-year receiver N’Keal Harry effective and aided Julian Edelman in (arguably) his most productive game as a pro. That’s remarkable given the fact Newton is filling the shoes of a future Hall of Famer.