The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping Ben Roethlisberger can return from his “clean up” surgery quickly, but so is the NFL. We’ve written about the NFL’s QB issues, and there’s no bigger problem around the league when you shine a spotlight on the current playoff teams.
Yes, there are 10 or 11 games left in the season, but trends are emerging, and everyone has a fairly good idea who is good (Patriots, Vikings), who is bad (Colts, Panthers), and who has absolutely no chance at the playoffs (Browns).
Here’s a snapshot of the AFC QBs if the season ended today:
1. Tom Brady
2. Landry Jones*
3. Brock Osweiler
4. Trevor Siemian
5. Derek Carr
6. Tyrod Taylor
Of the AFC QBs that would currently be in the playoffs, only one has appeared in a playoff game.
Can you imagine a 1st round matchup between Osweiler and Taylor? And then the next day, Siemian vs Carr? One could argue the defenses would be more compelling storylines for three of those four teams.
This is what the NFC would look like if the playoffs began today:
1. Sam Bradford
2. Dak Prescott
3. Russell Wilson
4. Matt Ryan
5. Kirk Cousins
6. Aaron Rodgers
It’s certainly an upgrade from the AFC, and the first round games would feature marquee names. But these quarterbacks would miss the playoffs: Eli Manning (two rings), Matt Stafford, Drew Brees (one Super Bowl MVP), Cam Newton (one Super Bowl appearance, reigning MVP), Carson Palmer.
If you think NFL TV ratings are down now, imagine if some of these match ups were to happen …
*Yes, Roethlisberger is supposed to only miss a few weeks. But he is 34. How do we know his body will recover like it did 5-10 years ago?