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 NFL quarterback is the best in the league — a question these QB power rankings look to answer for the 2020 season.
2020 QB Power Rankings
With Super Bowl LV in the rearview mirror, it’s time for our 2020 QB power rankings’ curtain call. As discussed two weeks ago, the top of the list was still very much in play. While Tom Brady’s final performance of the year proved historical, there was little chance he’d make up enough ground to jump five other passers. Sorry, Tom.
However, with Patrick Mahomes ranked just one position from the top, Aaron Rodgers’ standing as PFN’s top passer was shaky at best. I mean, Mahomes was last year’s Super Bowl MVP. And after another dominant regular season, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs had the look of back-to-back world champs. But as Adolph Rupp put it, that’s why they play the game.
As we’d find out, Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense looked nothing like Super Bowl champions on Sunday. Sure, Mahomes had some memorable moments. He’s one of a kind. Was it good enough to leapfrog Green Bay Packers quarterback and league MVP, Aaron Rodgers, though?
Also, where does Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl ring put him among the league’s best? For one final go around, let’s find out where both passers, as well as the rest of the league’s starters, land in this week’s final 2020 QB power rankings.
NOTE: PFN’s QB Power Rankings of 2020 include player statistics from the current regular season. Rank among all (current) starting QBs shown in parenthesis. Stats/analytics include: Games played (GP), passing yards per game (YPG), completion percentage, average air yards per completion (CAY), passing touchdown percentage per attempt (TD%), interception percentage per attempt (INT%), PFN’s Offensive Value Metric (OVM), rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.
2020 QB Power Rankings | 1-16
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Season: 16 GP | 268.7 YPG (7th) | 70.7% (1st) | 5.5 avg CAY (19th) | 9.1 TD% (1st) | 1.0 INT% (T-2nd) | 25.77 OVM (8th) | 149 rush yards (18th) | 3 rush TDs (T-9th)
Aaron Rodgers concludes the year as PFN’s 2020 QB power rankings leader. In addition, he is this year’s Associated Press NFL MVP award winner. In hindsight, Aaron Rodgers’ performance in the NFC Conference Championship looks much better.
After seeing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers limit three other quarterbacks to a combined sub-60% completion rate and an overall quarterback rating of 62.2, Rodgers’ 33-of-48 for 346 yards, three scores, and one interception outing looks pretty good. Am I right?
2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Season: 15 GP | 316.0 YPG (1st) | 66.3% (15th) | 6.3 avg CAY (12th) | 6.5 TD% (T-7th) | 1.0 INT% (T-2nd) | 21.54 OVM (25th) | 308 rush yards (9th) | 2 rush TDs (T-16th)
Prior to Super Bowl LV, Patrick Mahomes completed 73.5% of his throws for 580 yards, five total touchdowns, and zero interceptions in two postseason performances. However, he hadn’t faced a defense like Tampa Bay’s during that time.
On Sunday, it was clear that Mahomes missed Mitchell Schwartz, and most recently, Eric Fisher to protect him. Furthermore, don’t forget about that nagging plantar plate tear he’s been dealing with since his Divisional matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Excuses aside, Mahomes’ season-long performance is (still) arguably better than any starting quarterback this season. However, his 52.3 passer rating on Super Bowl Sunday was enough to keep him from overtaking Rodgers in our final 2020 QB power rankings.
3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Season: 16 GP | 284.0 YPG (6th) | 69.2% (4th) | 6.9 avg CAY (7th) | 6.5 TD% (T-7th) | 1.7 INT% (T-9th) | 26.75 OVM (5th) | 421 rush yards (7th) | 8 rush TDs (3rd)
In two games against the Chiefs, Josh Allen looked more like the Josh in his first two seasons rather than the 2020 MVP-esque Josh. In both games, Allen completed just over half of his throws with a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. With that said, no quarterback improved from one season to the next as Allen did in 2020. Outside of facing the Chiefs, Allen was one of the NFL’s best signal-callers every week.
4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Season: 16 GP | 301.4 YPG (2nd) | 70.2% (3rd) | 7.3 avg CAY (T-3rd) | 6.1 TD% (10th) | 1.3 INT% (4th) | 30.13 OVM (2nd) | 444 rush yards (5th) | 3 rush TDs (T-9th)
Deshaun Watson just put together a season for the ages, statistically. He recorded career highs in passing yards (4,823), passing touchdowns (33), completion percentage (70.2), and yards per attempt (8.9). His seven interceptions are also the fewest he’s thrown in a single season. That includes his rookie year, where he appeared in just seven games.
It’s easy to see why he’s the only non-playoff passer within the top-five of our 2020 QB power rankings. That’s precisely why newly hired general manager Nick Caserio has every intention of keeping him in Houston. Nevertheless, it’s a strong task considering how badly Watson wants out.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Season: 16 GP | 263.3 YPG (10th) | 68.8% (6th) | 6.2 avg CAY (13th) | 7.2 TD% (2nd) | 2.3 INT% (20th) | 24.79 OVM (13th) | 513 rush yards (4th) | 2 rush TDs (T-16th)
Russell Wilson ended 2020 with a 72.1 quarterback rating. That is the worst of any passer who participated in Super Wild Card Weekend. While he didn’t finish the season with a quality outing, his body of work still keeps him inside the top five of our final 2020 QB power rankings.
Like Watson, Wilson is reportedly growing impatient with his franchise’s ability to surround him with competent talent. Most notably, the offensive line. Not only was Wilson sacked five times in the Seahawks’ Wild Card loss, but after watching the Bucs dominate the Chiefs in the trenches, it’s clear Seattle is miles away from competing for an NFL championship. And Wilson knows this.
6. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season: 16 GP | 289.6 YPG (3rd) | 65.7% (17th) | 7.0 avg CAY (6th) | 6.6 TD% (6th) | 2.0 INT% (T-15th) | 29.34 OVM (3rd) | 6 rush yards (29th) | 3 rush TDs (T-9th)
What Tom Brady achieved in Tampa Bay despite the loss of offseason workouts and preseason contests is nothing short of astounding. Not only was he able to rally a bunch of new players together in a short period of time, but he did so as the oldest player in the league. Honestly, there’s not much else I can say about the guy that you haven’t already heard.
Regardless of what you think propelled the Buccaneers to Super Bowl victory on Sunday, remember this. No Brady means no Fournette (135 total yards, one touchdown), no Gronkowski (67 yards and two touchdowns), and no Antonio Brown (touchdown reception). Brady’s will to win and influence in acquiring added talent was instrumental in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl run.
7. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Season: 15 GP | 183.8 YPG (28th) | 64.4% (22nd) | 6.6 avg CAY (10th) | 6.9 TD% (T-3rd) | 2.4 INT% (T-21st) | 22.41 OVM (23rd) | 1,005 rush yards (1st) | 7 rush TDs (T-4th)
The Baltimore Ravens’ latest playoff loss doesn’t directly fall onto Lamar Jackson’s shoulders. However, his play doomed them in certain situations. For most of the year, Jackson did about as much as he could to keep his team in games. Above all, that includes a big end of season run to enter the postseason.
However, when forced to become one-dimensional, Jackson and the Ravens’ offense sputters. Despite the concerns, Jackson’s athleticism alone keeps him in the top 10 of my 2020 QB power rankings. With room left to grow, however, the Ravens will likely have to ante up this offseason.
8. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Season: 16 GP | 238.7 YPG (18th) | 65.5% (19th) | 7.3 avg CAY (T-3rd) | 6.9 TD% (3rd) | 1.5 INT% (T-5th) | 30.17 OVM (1st) | 266 rush yards (11th) | 7 rush TDs (T-4th)
In the Tennessee Titans’ final game of 2020, the Baltimore Ravens took away the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry. With Tannehill needing to shoulder the offense, the Titans struggled to get much going after taking a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
All season long, Tannehill played poised, yet aggressive. Particularly, on play-action passes. However, without Henry to create balance, Tannehill stumbled. As Super Bowl LV proved, football is the ultimate team sport. With that said, Tannehill, while ladened with flaws, is one of the league’s very best when given the necessary support.
9. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Season: 15 GP | 289.1 YPG (4th) | 66.6% (14th) | 5.2 avg CAY (T-22nd) | 5.2 TD% (T-15th) | 1.7 INT% (T-9th) | 23.90 OVM (18th) | 234 rush yards (12th) | 5 rush TDs (T-6th)
Justin Herbert’s rookie season was remarkable. No matter how you felt about him on draft day, Herbert’s first rodeo will go down as one of the greatest rookie campaigns by a passer in NFL history.
The numbers speak for themselves. He now owns several rookie records, including touchdown passes (31), total touchdowns (36), completions (396), and 300-yard games (8). Had he played Week 1, he’d also own the single-season yard mark. His placing in the top 10 of the 2020 QB power rankings speaks for itself.
10. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Season: 16 GP | 256.4 YPG (12th) | 67.3% (9th) | 5.9 avg CAY (T-15th) | 5.2 TD% (T-15th) | 1.7 INT% (T-9th) | 25.76 OVM (9th) | 140 rush yards (19th) | 3 rush TDs (T-11th)
Derek Carr remains a top 10 passer in our final 2020 QB power rankings. While 2020 marked his third consecutive 4,000-yard season with an added 30 total touchdowns, it would be remiss of me to leave out his 17 giveaways, including a league-leading eight fumbles lost. Still, Carr played top-shelf ball for much of the season. If it wasn’t such a rollercoaster of a year for the Las Vegas Raiders, Carr might have ranked higher.
11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Season: 16 GP | 248.2 YPG (16th) | 67.2% (10th) | 5.6 avg CAY (18th) | 4.7 TD% (18th) | 2.2 INT% (T-17th) | 25.21 OVM (11th) | 819 rush yards (2nd) | 11 rush TDs (2nd)
What began as an MVP campaign for Kyler Murray unceremoniously ended in utter disappointment. Not only did the Arizona Cardinals fail to win Week 17’s game against backup quarterback John Wolford, but the second-year signal-caller succumbed to injury, yet again.
In 2020, Murray bested nearly every measurable from his rookie season. Unfortunately, injuries hindered him from accomplishing greater feats. One thing’s clear, without a healthy and effective Murray under center, the Cardinals’ season crumbled. If not for Murray’s disaster final month of the season, he would rank much higher in my final 2020 QB power rankings.
12. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Season: 16 GP | 255.3 YPG (13th) | 64.2% (23rd) | 6.8 avg CAY (T-8th) | 4.9 TD% (17th) | 1.9 INT% (14th) | 26.24 OVM (6th) | 112 rush yards (21st) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)
To say Matthew Stafford wasn’t 100% throughout 2020 would be an understatement. One week removed from an ankle injury, Stafford insisted on playing to close out the season, despite obvious reasons not to. Not only does Stafford have immense toughness, but he’s a tremendous NFL quarterback to boot. Hence, the Rams paying the Lions handsomely for his services.
13. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
Season: 16 GP | 260.6 YPG (11th) | 68.0% (7th) | 5.2 avg CAY (T-22nd) | 4.4 TD% (19th) | 2.0 INT% (T-15th) | 25.19 OVM (12th) | -8 rush yard (32nd) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)
Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts outplayed the Buffalo Bills in nearly all facets of the game on Super Wild Card Weekend except the most important — the final score. Unfortunately, it would be Rivers’ final game of his career. With that said, Rivers played exceptionally well all season long. I’d go as far as to say Rivers’ performance against Buffalo may have been his best playoff performance of his career.
14. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Season: 16 GP | 266.6 YPG (8th) | 67.6% (8th) | 6.8 avg CAY (T-8th) | 6.8 TD% (5th) | 2.5 INT% (24th) | 28.10 OVM (4th) | 156 rush yards (17th) | 1 rush TD (T-21st)
Without Dalvin Cook to hold the defense’s attention in Week 17, Kirk Cousins struggled early against the Detroit Lions’ pass rush. Luckily, he was able to settle in without any of his off-target throws going in the other direction.
From that moment on, the Vikings and Lions game was a spectator’s dream. Cousins ended up dropping 405 yards and four total touchdowns as the Vikings came away with a two-point victory. His three touchdown passes gave him a career-high 35 for the year and the franchise’s second-most ever. If Cousins could be more consistent, he’d find himself higher on this list.
15. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Season: 16 GP | 222.7 YPG (20th) | 62.8% (27th) | 7.4 avg CAY (2nd) | 5.3 TD% (14th) | 1.6 INT% (T-7th) | 24.73 OVM (14th) | 165 rush yards (15th) | 1 rush TDs (T-21st)
Baker Mayfield ended 2020 going 23-for-37 with 204 yards, one score, and one interception in the Browns’ Divisional Round loss to the Chiefs. Still, Mayfield’s third year and first with NFL Coach of the Year Kevin Stefanski proved successful. It’s safe to say Mayfield put the sophomore slump talk behind him after the Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
16. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Season: 16 GP | 286.3 YPG (5th) | 65.0% (20th) | 7.2 avg CAY (5th) | 4.2 TD% (T-20th) | 1.8 INT% (13th) | 26.05 OVM (7th) | 92 rush yards (24th) | 2 rush TDs (T-16th)
Matt Ryan’s future may very well be up in the air come 2021. After a 4-12 season, it’s clear the Atlanta Falcons need retooling. Yet, as Ryan showed in the second half of Week 17’s loss to Tampa Bay, there’s still plenty of meat on the bone.
At 35-years-old, Ryan is obviously no longer in his prime. However, he’s still capable of producing at a high level. You don’t produce the fourth-most passing yards in NFL history through 13 seasons by accident. Ryan’s spot in the 2020 QB power rankings had been up and down all year, but he’ll finish middle of the pack.