There are two conferences in the NFL: the NFC and the AFC. Each conference has four geographic divisions: the North, South, East, and West. That gives a total of eight divisions across the NFL.
If you were to rank all eight divisions based on the strength of quarterback play expected within each division, you would think the NFC South would be at or near the top. It’s the only division with two former MVPs at quarterback in Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. Add in one of the all-time a perennial MVP-candidate in Drew Brees, who is typically not just in the conversation of “MVP,” but “GOAT,” and you’ve got a pretty stacked division of quarterbacks.
But Adam Schein of NFL.com doesn’t seem to think so. He ranks the NFC South at 6th (of 8)!
I know, I know. You’re probably wondering why a group with two former MVPs (Ryan and Newton) and an all-time great (Brees) isn’t higher on the list, but hear me out. Winston is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, with a knack for throwing the ball to the other team. Newton is a great player when healthy, but his arm strength and accuracy were diminished in the second half of last season, and now he’s coming off of his second shoulder surgery in less than two years. Newton says he feels great, but Carolina’s selection of former West Virginia QB Will Grier in Round 3 of this year’s draft was smart and telling, as the team clearly felt a need to add better insurance. Now, I love Ryan. I also like seeing Dirk Koetter back calling plays for Atlanta, as he did from 2012 to ‘14; the Falcons’ offense ranked in the league’s top eight in two of those three seasons. Bolstering the offensive line with two first-rounders in the draft? I love that, too! Drew Brees is still playing like Drew Brees, even as Sean Payton smartly leans on the running game. However, the questions about Newton and my doubts about Winston drag this division down a bit.
You can’t fault Adam for his analysis of Winston, but it’s surprising to say the least to see the NFC South two spots behind the AFC North, for instance, which has QBs Ben Roethlisberger (ok), Baker Mayfield (I mean...), Lamar Jackson (um....wait...), and Andy Dalton (come on, man).
In case you’re curious, the top spot was given to the AFC West, with Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr, and Joe Flacco (the Mahomes-love is real), with the NFC East - Eli Manning, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and Dwayne Haskins - in the basement.
What would your divisional rankings based on quarterbacks look like? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.