The interesting, sometimes absurd, always entertaining, “did he really just ask that?” types of questions.
In what has been repeatedly labeled as a “quarterback-dominated” league, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and the Manning brothers have stood out among the rest. Those are the active starters who have found a way to win the big game, some more than once.
After those elite guys, there is a significant gap before you hit the next batch of solid quarterbacks. Many of them are consistent stat fillers, and are decent options for fantasy, but they haven’t been able to finish the job at this point in their careers. Which of the following quarterbacks who have yet to win a championship have the best chance of getting a ring this season?
1. Philip Rivers
2. Joe Flacco
3. Alex Smith
4. Michael Vick
5. Matt Ryan
6. Tony Romo
7. Matt Schaub
8. Matthew Stafford
1. Philip Rivers may be the most talented at the quarterback position out of everyone else on the list. He is consistently in the top 10 for all major passing statistics, and he has a very good squad to work with this year. Some may argue that the Chargers were the hottest team in the league in the second half of the season last year. Rivers definitely has what it takes to become a part of the elite group. But, like everyone else on the list, it will come down to execution.
2. Flacco’s been pretty close, but the competition over the last few years in the AFC has been too tough. In a conference that’s been dominated by the Patriots and Steelers, Flacco’s Ravens are one of the few other teams that are expected to contend each year. With the help of one of the best defenses on the list, a healthy Ray Rice, and a solid receiving corp, Flacco will most likely have another deep run in the playoffs this upcoming season.
3. Like Flacco, Alex Smith has the luxury of a dominant defense to make his journey to the Super Bowl even more realistic. And also like Flacco, Smith saw his team come up just short in the conference title game. One of the more underrated players in the league, Smith now has a brand new weapon in Randy Moss to go along with other exciting receivers. He proved he can get the job done through the air in crunch time last year in the playoffs against New Orleans. If Frank Gore can have another productive season on the ground, Smith and the 49ers will be a big threat.
4. Michael Vick hopes to get his “potential to be a dynasty” Eagles squad into the playoffs this year, after a disappointing first season. The Eagles seemed to find the winning formula late last year, but it was just a case of too little too late. Vick will try to be the leader Philadelphia needs him to be this year, as he rallies the troops together in a season he already stated was dedicated to head coach Andy Reid.
5. The Falcons have been a pretty solid team since Matt Ryan took over as the quarterback, but they haven’t made that jump into the elite category. Playing in one of the tougher divisions, Ryan will rely on his two main weapons, Roddy White and Michael Turner, to dig his way deep into the playoffs and try to become the next name to join the prestigious group of Super Bowl winners.
6. Tony Romo is the most criticized quarterback in the game. Classified as a gunslinger, he is one of those players not afraid to make the big throw. Unfortunately for him and the Cowboys, that usually has ended up in a game-changing interception, ultimately contributing to numerous letdown seasons. Romo is a great fantasy football option, good for compiling many passing yards and a fair share of touchdowns throughout the season, but high expectations constantly surround America’s team. Romo can keep putting up impressive numbers and 100+ QB ratings, but he is now at a point in his career where he will be judged on only one thing.
7. Last year marked a big milestone for the Texans, as they made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. While Schaub was injured down the stretch, he has proven that he can keep up with the top quarterbacks in the league. With arguably both the top receiver and running back alongside him, only time will tell if this team can compete against the powerhouse AFC teams such as New England, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
8. Matthew Stafford probably has the worst chance of getting to the big game out of the other guys on the list, but that’s not to say his time won’t come a few seasons from now. The Lions have quickly went from a joke to one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL. Like the Texans, they became a fresh new team to show its face in the playoffs last year (first time since 1999). Stafford needs to stay healthy if they want to improve. The Lions are hoping the Stafford-Megatron combo will be dominant for years to come.
Other reasonable candidates: Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow
My pick: Alex Smith. I went more with the team surrounding him over his individual skill-set. Rivers and Romo might be the most talented on the list, but I like the 49ers chances this year. Flacco is a close second.