Spoiler alert: No. 1 is Kirk Cousins.
(No, it isn’t, but can you imagine?)
Before you call this fun article clickbait, I am a Green Bay Packers writer with some biases, but I also want to be objective. There is also no true way to predict how these rankings will play out except for the obvious No. 1. A few quarterbacks surprise every year, plus there are always potential injuries.
After months of people claiming Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t return to Green Bay, he is back and all-in, per his press conference. He said his piece, he got a fancy new golf cart from David Bakhtiari, and now you haven’t seen a clickbait article about Rodgers in a few weeks. This should terrify the other NFC North teams.
So with Rodgers back and basically the Minnesota Vikings’ entire quarterback room on the COVID/reserve list right now, let’s rank the current NFC North quarterbacks to see where they stand in 2021 — if the new COVID variants don’t shut it down before then.
4. Justin Fields/Andy Dalton/Nick Foles – chicago bears
I really wanted to put Kirk Cousins fourth. I really did. But the fact that the Bears might have a revolving door of quarterbacks this year means I have to put them last.
Fields has been impressive in training camp so far, and a few of his throws have gone viral. Sure, no one was rushing him and it was a scrimmage. But, yes, he made a nice pass.
As of right now, there is no guarantee he will win the starting job. But the more I think about it, the more I suspect it could be a Russell Wilson/Matt Flynn Seattle Seahwaks situation. Andy Dalton signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Bears in the offseason. Before they drafted Fields, he was expected to be their starting QB.
Chicago also has Nick Foles on the roster. He’s currently on the second year of his three-year, $24 million contract with the Bears. Will they keep all three quarterbacks? Maybe, but probably not. With the injury to Carson Wentz, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out there is a good chance Chicago will trade him to the Indianapolis Colts. Indy needs a solid quarterback for at least a month or two, and Foles can fill that void, especially if he doesn’t beat out Dalton in camp. Foles recently said he feels great, and he’s playing at a high level right now.
Fields might be a good quarterback, but it’s also the Bears. Just a few years ago, Mitch Trubisky was the superstar quarterback and Chicago was going to start dominating the North. That never materialized. Chicago’s QB chaos right now is too uncertain, so they have to be fourth.
3. Kirk Cousins – minnesota vikings
I wanted to put him fourth, but the weapons he has around him are just too good. I believe Cousins is an average to above-average quarterback, and his off-the-field quotes have been more than eye-roll inducing. He will be off the COVID list before Week 1, but it definitely doesn’t help the Vikings as camp begins. When your own head coach comes out with some passive-aggressive comments towards you, your situation is not ideal.
That being said, the Vikings’ offense is nothing to fool around with. Dalvin Cook dominated the Packers last year in Week 7 with three touchdowns and 163 yards on the ground. Cousins only had to throw 14 passes that game. And even if you stop Cook, you still have to deal with their elite pair of wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. Jefferson could really blow up this year, which could be trouble for the Packers and the NFC North. I don’t think the Vikings’ defense will be enough to help them win a lot of games, but those offense pieces make Cousins a very serviceable quarterback.
2. Jared Goff – detroit lions
Do I think the Los Angeles Rams won the trade between Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford? Yes. But I would put both players in the same tier of current NFL quarterbacks. Plus, Goff is only 26 years old and Stafford is 33. I still think Stafford has some solid years ahead of him, but his injury history is a concern.
Stafford ended last year with 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Goff did have a thumb injury late last season that cost him a couple of games. His final stats were 3,952 yards with 20 TDs and 13 picks. Stafford definitely has the experience and the better numbers, but Goff still has time to grow into a solid quarterback. A new system might work wonders for him.
Do I genuinely think that Goff is a better quarterback than Cousins? Yes. Cousins has a better offensive line on paper and more proven talent at receiver. But I think Goff would have better stats with the weapons that Cousins currently has. Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are definitely not as good as Thielen and Jefferson right now. Detroit has the youth of Quintez Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown that could break out this year as well. And with new running back Jamaal Williams in the backfield, Goff will have some fun targets to work with this year if their offensive line helps them out.
1. Aaron Rodgers – green bay packers
Was there ever a doubt?
He is the reigning MVP of the league and back at training camp without missing a step. He’s coming off an inhuman season of 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He has helped lead his team to back-to-back NFC Championship games.
And this came after two consecutive seasons of nasty injuries. In 2017, he broke his collarbone after a late hit. Then there was the infamous knee injury in 2018 in Week 1 against the Bears that lead to the superhero-like comeback. It turned out his leg was hurt basically the entire season, and he was never 100% that year. Following that up with NFC Championship appearances is nothing but impressive.
Obviously there is a little bit of homer bias here, but any NFL expert or fan would and should be putting Rodgers at No. 1. He is still the King of the North for at least another season. You can’t put any of the other quarterbacks at his level. Also, anyone with a dope golf cart is automatically first in their division. The ball is in your court, Justin Herbert’s offensive line. Time to get him a present.