The quarterback must move the ball downfield. Without a doubt, moving the chains is something that every offense deals with … and that struggle is made so much easier with a good quarterback. Good quarterbacks have the ability to light up the stat sheets, and move the ball downfield game after game. When looking across the league, most teams have guys who can do this. C’mon, this is the NFL. This isn’t college ball anymore. Quarterbacks are expected to throw the ball and more importantly, quarterbacks are supposed to be successful at getting the ball downfield.
Each year new players prove they are great at this task, while others fail to meet the mark. In today’s game, we often judge that success based on passing yards. And in today’s game, quarterbacks are throwing for more yards than at any other point in league history. It’s what makes the game fun to watch and it’s the reason why so much pressure is placed on each one of the quarterbacks in the league. With this list, we will let you know which quarterbacks are going to be the best at getting the ball downfield in 2017. Sure, a lot has to do with the surrounding cast. But most importantly, this list has to do with the skill level of each starting quarterback in the league as we project the passing yards for each starting quarterback in the NFL for the 2017 season. The list begins with the guy who likely won’t hold onto his starting job, and will finish with the guy who just seems to posses the ability to successfully pass against just about any team in the NFL.
32 BRIAN HOYER: 1,700 YARDS
Brian Hoyer is slated to start in San Francisco. Although the 49ers drafted C.J. Beathard, that shouldn’t be a viable quarterback option for at least a couple of seasons. If Hoyer doesn’t work out this year, which it’s unlikely he makes it through the entire season as the starter, Matt Barkley will be next in line. But for this list, we project the number of passing yards for the starting quarterback at the time of the season opener.
Because we don’t expect Hoyer to last through the entire regular season, we have to look at how long he will be starting. Since the team is expected to be near the bottom of the league in terms of record, it’s very likely that Hoyer will be given at least half of the season until he is moved to the bench. The tough thing for Hoyer is that he won’t be playing more than eight games, which is why he won’t even be throwing for 2,000 yards.
31 CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG: 2,000 YARDS
Similar to the first guy on our list, the Jets won’t have the luxury of using just one quarterback throughout the regular season. Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg and Josh McCown are currently the guys up for the Jets starting position. Our pick of Christian Hackenberg starting was really just picking a name out of the hat. We expected the Jets to draft a quarterback, but they dropped the ball on that one. That’s why it’s going to be a tossup the entire year in terms of who will start each week.
Hackenber is going to be named the starter by Week 1, but by the midpoint of the season it will likely be a back-and-forth battle with Pett, as McCown is just too old and settled as a backup to make any moves at the starting job. Expect Hackenberg to get more opportunities, but he won’t be prevailing too well in the stats department.
30 TOM BRADY: 2,500 YARDS
Tom Brady might go down as the best player in NFL history, but next year his aging body will falter. Unfortunately, it’s too tough to think that Brady will be able to play through the entire season. Even if he does, he’d still be near the bottom of this list because he’s not much of a statistical leader in this category. Especially with the history of this league and aging quarterbacks. If we look at the history of the league and what the aging human body has done to performance, it’d be easy to say Brady will be sidelined with injury, or that he’ll begin throwing more interceptions as he loses some of that power and accuracy on his throws.
Even if he doesn’t lose that much zip on his ball, it’s a bit absurd to think he’ll be able to outplay a lot of the guys who follow. Now, that’s not to say that the Patriots will be a bad team next year. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again, the Patriots can still win without Tom Brady … or without Tom Brady playing like the Tom Brady that we’ve all grown to expect to see.
29 BROCK OSWEILER: 2,900 YARDS
We’ve go to assume Brock Osweiler is going to be the 16-week starter in Cleveland, but Browns fans will not be happy with his production as he will be near the bottom in terms of quarterback play for the eyar. For Cleveland’s sake, hopefully the front office has some sort of scheme to get someone better in by Week 1 because drafting DeShone Kizer wasn’t the fix to this equation. Brock Osweiler isn’t worth the money nor the time to get him acclimated with whatever offensive attack the Browns want to dish out come the regular season. The Browns have had quarterback issues for as long as most of us can remember, and at this rate, it doesn’t look to be changing next season.
To Osweiler’s credit, he’s posted a 13-8 record as a starter during his time with Denver (where he went 5-2), then with Houston (where he went 8-6). But last season Osweiler tossed 15 touchdowns, while throwing 16 interceptions. He completed just under 60 percent of his passes and recorded less than 3,000 passing yards last season. It was just mediocre, but he’s getting paid like a star.
28 Ryan Tannehill: 2,950 YARDS
This isn't going to be good for Miami. The Dolphins are going to see a sharp decline from the success the saw last season. While on the field, Ryan Tannehill led the Dolphins to an 8-5 record. Expect those numbers to flip by the end of next season. Tannehill will lead the Dolphins to just five wins and will wonder whether or not he has a starting job lined up for the start 2019 regular season.
But Tannehill will be able to take solace in his 77 games started with 106 touchdowns against just 66 interceptions. After next season though, his losing record will no longer be tolerated. Tannehill has gone 37-40 during his time as the Dolphins starter, and that’s just going to get worse next year. Luckily for Tannehill, he’s put in enough successes to start somewhere, just not in Miami anymore.
27 PAXTON LYNCH: 3,000 YARDS
This is one of the more anticipated quarterback battles heading into this season, but the young gunner will end up taking over. Trevor Siemian started 14 of 16 games last season, but don’t expect that trend to continue heading into next season. In Paxton Lynch’s case, like the other guys who don’t have much experience that appear on this list, they just don’t show up any higher because these types of quarterbacks rarely succeed. And succeeding as a rookie doesn’t quite equate to the successes that are seen by the quarterbacks who have started in the league for more than a year.
Although the quarterback competition is making headlines in Denver, the team’s first-round selection from 2016 will end up starting by Week 1. Lynch will take down the overly hyped Siemian early in the preseason and will be able to focus on running this offense like he should be. He won’t put up huge numbers, but they’ll be respectable enough to keep his spot on the roster.
26 ALEX SMITH: 3,150 YARDS
There’s no way Alex Smith is going to surpass his career-high in passing yards like he did last season. Expect just an overall tough season for the Chiefs offense because it is just too early for Patrick Mahomes to take over. The Chiefs first round selection might start by the end of the year, but not at the beginning. Sure, Smith will be 33 by the start of next season and has already played 11 seasons in the NFL as a pretty consistent starting quarterback. That will continue next season, and so will the struggles he’s seen, though passing struggles will be amplified next year.
Let’s look back on what he’s done. Smith was a Pro Bowl selection for the second time after he went 11-4 in the regular season last year. He threw for a career-high 3,502 yards and also added 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He just didn’t score that much and didn’t seem to play at the level a star quarterback normally does. Sure, the Chiefs went to the playoffs and only lost four regular season games while Smith was starting. But the passing game always seemed like a struggle as the Chiefs offense wasn’t as fluid as you would hope, and that was showcased during the playoff loss when they lost to a team that didn’t score a touchdown.
25 BEN ROETHLISBERGER: 3,175 YARDS
This will be his last season in the NFL as the often-injured quarterback just can’t take any more beatings in the NFL. The hits that this quarterback takes is the reason he’s not higher on this list. He’ll be forced to sit for some time, resulting for a poorer statistical performance than we would expect. To Ben Roethlisberger’s credit, he doesn’t miss much time for how often he is banged up. But it’s tough for him to play every game in the regular season, and that won’t change next season. The aged quarterback just won’t be able to play for all 16 games, but he’ll be ready for a postseason run.
By the end of next season, Roethlisberger will have had enough on-field abuse and decide to hang his jersey up for good. It may come as a shock to some, but deep down, we’ve all been noticing the everyday grind wearing on Roethlisberger’s gameplay and it’ll be best for him to get out before he begins to hurt his reputation with poor play. But next season will be one of Roethlisberger’s best in the league. Maybe it’ll be because he too, knows that it’s his last time in the spotlight before he’s eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame.
24 KIRK COUSINS: 3,200 YARDS
The Kirk Cousins we’ve got used to seeing over the past couple of years will be a distant thought by the end of this season. It’s unfortunate, but by the end of next season, Washington fans will be booing Kirk Cousins off the team. Sure, Cousins has shown flashes of greatness over the last two seasons. He even strung together enough solid play last season that he was selected to the Pro Bowl. But he’s nothing more than an average quarterback with a good surrounding cast. Next year, we’ll all watch as Cousins begins to fade away from relevance and his career moves to a bench role.
The Redskins have created this image that they’re surrounding Cousins with a lot of talent. But really, Terrelle Pryor is all he’s got to throw to and Cousins is not a good enough quarterback to make that work. Unfortunately, Cousins will be a career bench player after next season concludes. He had a good, albeit brief run in the NFL.
23 PHILIP RIVERS: 3,300 YARDS
This turnover game that Philip Rivers has been playing will catch up to him this year, and will be the cause for a very tough passing season in Los Angeles. Even though Rivers had a good individual season last year and was selected to the Pro Bowl, he had to be fed up with the Chargers five-win record. Making matters worse, the Chargers recorded just four wins the year before. Those are the two worst records Rivers has seen since he began starting for the team back in 2006 (that year they had their best record, 14-2).
Rivers will be 36 next season and he knows there’s not going to be many more seasons left. It will be important for him to return with a winning record next season. But he won’t be able to make that happen. Rivers has led the NFL in interceptions for two of the last three seasons, and he’ll nearly top the league again next year. Rivers will continue to turn the ball over just way too much, and next year he’ll struggle scoring, which will be a bit of a change compared to what he’s used to. Sure, Rivers will still have his starting job but whispers of retirement will start surrounding the used-to-be star.
22 JOE FLACCO: 3,325 YARDS
This 32-year-old quarterback has never been much of a standout in terms of individual production, but he’s generally pretty consistent in terms of passing yards. But that will be a trait known of the Joe Flacco from the past, not the Flacco of tomorrow. Flacco has always been the unquestioned starter in Baltimore, but it’s tough to say if that would be the same if he were on another team or if he didn’t lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory years ago. Last year, Flacco was forced to throw the ball way more than any other season of his career. He had 672 passing attempts.
Although he managed 4,317 passing yards, he also through nearly as many interceptions as he did touchdowns (20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions). That’s not a good sign for the upcoming season. Throwing that many passes had to have worn on the quarterback and there’s no reason to think his interception ratio will get any better next season.
21 TYROD TAYLOR: 3,400 YARDS
Although this quarterback doesn’t solely rely on his passing game, he’ll put up numbers good enough to maintain his position on the field. But this quarterback will likely miss a couple games, hurting his overall production. This will likely be Tyrod Taylor’s last shot at starting in Buffalo, but he’ll prove to be worthy of a starting spot by the end of next season. The question remains if he’ll lead Buffalo to a winning season for the second time since he’s been a starter with the team. For the last two years Taylor has posted seven wins as the team’s starter, but in 2015 he had a winning record since he started 13 games (that year he was also a Pro Bowl selection).
Although the Bills fans and media seem to complain about their quarterback situation, Taylor has been a really good quarterback. In the past two seasons he’s thrown way more touchdowns than interceptions. In fact, he’s tossed 37 scores against just 12 picks in the last two seasons. In the NFL, throwing 12 interceptions over the course of 29 games is pretty dang good and you can expect Taylor to continue that consistency.
20 DESHAUN WATSON: 3,450 YARDS
Houston fans already are praising the presence of Deshaun Watson, and that will be a continued trend throughout the season. Not so much because of how well Watson will play, but moreso because of how badly the Texans were positioned before the draft. Looking at the Texans roster before the draft, they could easily be justified as having the worst quarterback presence in the NFL. With the quarterbacks on their roster before the draft, it was obvious that the team had to select a quarterback. The Texans were looking at either playing with Brandon Weeden or Tom Savage. No way either of those guys were making people in Houston happy.
Sure, the team may paint a picture like there will be a competition between Watson and Savage. But that’s just absurd. The Texans didn’t trade up just to throw away their season in the first week of action. Outside of a freak injury, there’s no way Watson isn’t on the field Week 1 for the Texans, but he just doesn’t have the surrounding cast to climb any higher on this list.
19 MITCH TRUBISKY: 3,500 YARDS
Similar to Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky just doesn’t have the surrounding cast or experience to truly be effective during his rookie season. Without a doubt, Trubisky will win the starting job by Week 1 though. Look at the momentum this kid is building. Plus, he has a grudge to grind in the form of the Cleveland Browns … or at least he should. Trubisky grew up playing just a short drive from Cleveland and that should have been a match made in heaven.
But now Trubisky will play for an equally troubled team. Things will look better for Chicago next year with Trubisky leading the way, but there will be some bumps in the road for the quarterback who didn’t have much collegiate starting experience at North Carolina. But he will solidify his spot as a starter going into next season.
18 JARED GOFF: 3,550 YARDS
Jared Goff’s strong arm and height will be great assets as he grows into the NFL player that was hoped for last year. Although Goff won’t be posting league-leading numbers, he’ll put up performances that will win some games for the Rams. It will be much better than things were last season. The Rams seemed to be growing Goff on the bench through the first season before they thrust him into action against Miami in late-November. For a rookie quarterback and a team new to the city, this was a terrible combination. The Rams were inconsistent at a starting quarterback before throwing Goff in for the final seven games of the season – all were losses for Goff.
There’s nothing worse for a young quarterback then going 0-7 in your first season in the NFL. Maybe Goff will turn it around with the Rams, and he’ll probably do a bit better. But no one should expect Goff a consideration for the Pro Bowl roster next season.
17 BLAKE BORTLES: 3,600 YARDS
Blake Bortles finally has some pretty good talent surrounding him, which will finally create an environment for a pretty good season out of the young quarterback. Bortles has been the victim of a bad team and just awful circumstances since he’s been in the league. But after this offseason, Jacksonville will finally rebound back from the awful seasons they’ve been seeing over the past three years (well, longer if you’re not just accounting for the time since Bortles has been on the team). Since Bortles has been on the Jags, they have won just 11 games. But he’ll lead the team to at least a .500 record next season.
Bortles has thrown 69 touchdowns since he’s been in the league along with 11,241 passing yards. He even had a 2015 season where he tossed 35 touchdowns. Sure, he also threw a career-high 18 interceptions that season, but it was just his second year in the league and you shouldn’t expect anything better on a team like Jacksonville.
16 MATTHEW STAFFORD: 3,700 YARDS
Matthew Stafford always puts up pretty good numbers, and next season isn’t going to be any different. Detroit has pretty good receivers surrounding Stafford, but they haven’t proved to be truly great. So, it’s still mostly up to Stafford to lead this offense as he has for a good chunk of time in Detroit. But it won’t be anywhere like the days when he had Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to (though we all wish Johnson was still in the league). Now, Stafford has to brunt the offensive pressure mostly on his own.
But throughout his eight seasons in the league, Stafford has posted performances that make it a relatively easy prediction that he’ll outperform each of the quarterbacks that have been named already. But given Detroit’s on-and-off again consistency, it seems pretty safe to say the team won’t have a winning record next season. Stafford won’t be terrible, but he definitely won’t repeat the Pro Bowl season he posted back in 2014 when the Lions went 11-5.
15 MATT RYAN: 3,725 YARDS
This quarterback will have a down year, though his down year is still a lot better than most guys good seasons. Matt Ryan will fall victim to the Super Bowl slump and he will not see anything near the MVP season he recorded last season. In fact, Ryan won’t even be a Pro Bowl selection after he plays a mediocre season next year. Ryan has missed just two starts in his entire career, so we don’t expect injuries to plague his season. But that chemistry between Ryan and Julio Jones will begin to fade and the Falcons chances of winning will suffer.
Sure, Ryan will still barely get the Falcons to the postseason, but the team won’t last long in the playoffs. The Falcons will be pushed out by whatever lucky opponent gets them in the first round. Ryan may rebound to the Super Bowl in the future, but it definitely won’t be next year. Next year will be considered a bit of a slump year from Ryan. But that’s what happens when you don’t play like an MVP for two years straight.
14 CARSON PALMER: 3,800 YARDS
Carson Palmer isn’t going to be losing any of his touch. Despite his age, Palmer will continue as he has in the past. Palmer has quietly been a star for his lengthy career in the NFL. That will continue next season. And he seems to be approaching the dreaded 40-year-old mark without issue. It was back in 2003 when Palmer was the first overall pick out of USC, and he quickly proved that was the right spot for him in the draft. Palmer reached his first of three Pro Bowls in 2005 and was named the AFC Player of the Year during that season. It was just his second season in the league, but he was already leading all quarterbacks with passing touchdowns.
At this point in his career, Palmer has put up some insane numbers. He currently has 44,269 and 285 touchdowns with 180 interceptions. He has led the league once in interceptions, and has had issues throwing the ball to the other team. Although Palmer had a losing, 6-8, season last year, he won 13 regular season games the year before and missed just one start. He has a chance for another playoff run or two if he can stay healthy.
13 RUSSELL WILSON: 3,850 YARDS
Russell Wilson is still going to be leading the way on a playoff bound team. In fact, Wilson will be one of the better quarterbacks in the league as the Seahawks will be one of the better teams and scariest teams that will play in the postseason. There’s no doubting it, the Seahawks have been successful because of their defense, and they will continue to be successful as they will field one of the league’s most dominant defensive units.
But Seattle will experience some struggles with Wilson at quarterback. But they won’t be nearly as bad as most of the teams that we have already talked about. Luckily for Seattle, the defense always has enough power to overcome any offensive mishaps. But with Wilson calling the signals, there won’t be many issues that need to be dealt with.
12 ELI MANNING: 4,000 YARDS
Now that Brandon Marshall is on the team, Eli Manning has just so much to work with. Like we’ve seen in the past, Manning will continue his solid quarterback play in New York. Manning will have another good season next year, and he’ll continue on as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks during his time in the league. Manning will continue a career that will likely get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
Manning’s biggest accomplishment to date has been two Super Bowl victories, which included two Super Bowl MVP awards. In a league that has been absolutely littered with very talented quarterbacks, Manning has been to the Pro Bowl four times, he also received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award last season. The most respectable stat of Manning’s career (which he clearly beat out his older brother in this category) is the fact that he’s started every game since seeing just seven starts during his rookie year.
11 ANDY DALTON: 4,050 YARDS
Failures from last season are going to fuel a very successful run for this quarterback and the Bengals next season. Despite posting his worst record as a starter last season, Andy Dalton was selected to his third Pro Bowl after putting up some great individual statistics. Dalton threw for more than 4,000 yards and tossed 18 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He’ll have similar numbers this season. It’s tough to think that trend is going to change. For the past two seasons he recorded a total of 43 touchdowns with just 15 interceptions. He seems to be getting more accurate with age and experience and we expect that trend to continue.
No longer will we see the Dalton who threw nearly as many interceptions as he did touchdowns, like he did in 2014. But the one thing you should expect out of Dalton, is a better record for his team. Last season was the first time he failed to record a winning record as the Bengals went 6-9-1. For a quarterback with a 56-35-2 overall record as a starter, that was awful and Dalton is definitely going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
10 ANDREW LUCK: 4,200 YARDS
Andrew Luck tossed a bit more than 4,200 yards last season and there’s no reason to think that he’s not going to do the same this year. Sure, Luck may not have a large number of Pro Bowl selections (he’s got three) or as powerful of a stat sheet as a lot of guys, but he’s the true talent behind the Colts offense. Luck will be the reason the Colts succeed, or fail. And next season they will benefit from the quarterback’s solid play and be fighting for a playoff spot by the end of the season.
Luck, the 2014 passing touchdowns leader, is going to show a strengthened connection with T.Y. Hilton and the duo will post some league-leading numbers. This combination may not be one of the most talked about pairings in the league, but by the end of next season they’ll show why they should be the center of attention. Now, that might be a little bit of an overreaction because some teams will be better. But Luck deserves credit for what he’s done with the Colts offense. It’s easy to forget that the team was the worst in the league before Luck came around.
9 CARSON WENTZ: 4,250 YARDS
Carson Wentz is poised for a great season due to the Eagles front office. Last season, the team place way too much weight on the rookie quarterback and should be ashamed for the workload placed on such a young guy. But that might help Wentz next season, especially given the talent that will be surrounding him.
Wentz might not have a true No. 1 rusher surrounding him in the backfield. But he’ll always have someone fresh. With Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews, there will never be a lack of an explosive threat with the ability to create some interesting offensive scenarios. More importantly is the Eagles addition of Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery combined with Jordan Matthews is a scarily good 1-2 punch, and Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz are just icing on the cake for Wentz.
8 DAK PRESCOTT: 4,300 YARDS
Dak Prescott’s run in the NFL is just going to keep getting better. It seems that with a story this good there is no way things are going to take a turn for the worst. You better get ready for round two of Dak Prescott in the NFL because it’s going to be better to watch than his awesome rookie season. Prescott may not outmatch his 13-win rookie season, but he’ll likely exceed his 23 touchdown first season (though he might throw a few more than four interceptions).
Sure, it’s early in Prescott’s career and he may not be as good as it seems. But a playoff run with a rookie running back is rare. Pair that rookie quarterback with a rookie running back and a playoff run is unheard of. It’s something that would have made league analysts laugh at the start of the season. Prescott, though, has been through an entire regular season and has seen more success than most quarterbacks see in an entire career.
7 MARCUS MARIOTA: 4,325 YARDS
In this spot, Marcus Mariota was just beat out by that quarterback down in Tampa Bay. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest one is because of all the weapons that Tampa Bay has surrounded its quarterback with. But Mariota has proven to be extremely talented, and we’ll continue to see more of that this season.
The tough part is that Mariota has been recovering from an injury this offseason. But this will fuel him to become even better in the coming years. Especially since this young star was forced to sit and watch from the sidelines last season. But Mariota has a proven ability to move the chains despite a largely boring offense in Tennessee. As long as Mariota can stay healthy, he’ll continue on his path as one of the NFL’s young rising stars.
6 JAMEIS WINSTON: 4,350 YARDS
Jameis Winston has been so good since entering the league and with all of the help that the Bucs continue to sign, Winston is setup for a huge statistical year. Though a lot of that is largely helped by his surrounding cast. He’s got one of the league’s best No. 1 receivers and a veteran running back in the backfield. The guy who was drafted by Tennessee has much less, but is still keeping up. Plug Marcus Mariota into Tampa Bay’s offense and you’ve got a playoff-ready team. Plug Winston into Tennessee and you’ve got a troubled college star that keeps on the path of his own destruction.
But luckily Winston ended up in Tampa Bay. He’s the youngest player to reach 4,000 passing yards and the youngest player to pass for 40 touchdowns. After two seasons, Winston has tossed 50 touchdowns against 33 interceptions. He’s tossed for 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, totaling 8,132 yards. And he’s rushed for seven touchdowns (six came in his rookie season). Although Winston led Tampa Bay to a 6-10 record that first year, he followed up with a 9-7 season and is on track to take his team to the playoffs this year.
5 CAM NEWTON: 4,450 YARDS
Cam Newton’s uncharacteristically rough season last year will be the cause of another MVP-like season for the quarterback in Carolina. Newton went from his best season in the NFL straight into his worst. In 2015, Newton won the MVP award as he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record. Newton threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Then, everything changed in 2016 as the Panthers finished with a miserable 6-8 record. That year, Newton tossed about 3,500 yards and just 19 touchdowns with a whopping 14 interceptions.
Without a doubt, Newton will perform better than last season. It’s more likely that he’ll repeat one of his three Pro Bowl worthy seasons. At the very least, he’ll find a way to lead Carolina back to a winning season. Expect Newton to play like he did when everyone wanted him to star in commercials and forget about what you saw from him last season.
4 SAM BRADFORD: 4,500 YARDS
This will drive a lot of people crazy, but Sam Bradford will finally be playing like everyone expected when he was the first overall pick. To be fair, though, Sam Bradford has been a sneakily good quarterback for the past couple of seasons (that was after a two-year stretch that was plagued with injuries).
It’s all about the completions and accuracy. Bradford completed the highest percentage of passes among quarterbacks last season and has always had a very accurate arm. It didn’t lead the Vikings to a postseason performance last year, but he has a chance to make that run this year. Bradford’s stat line was just crazy last season as he completed 71.6 percent of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Expect all of that to get better this season.
3 DEREK CARR: 4,700 YARDS
With no surprise to many fans, Derek Carr will lead his team to the postseason again. What may surprise people around the league is the fact that Carr will also be posting near league leading numbers. Carr is one of the NFL’s young rising stars and he will be at the top of everyone’s list by the end of next season. Why’s that? Do you remember what Carr did last season and what Oakland looked like without Carr starting behind center.
It was obvious what Carr means to this team after he couldn’t play in the playoffs last season because of an injury. Carr led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and proved they were a contender late in the season. But then Carr was sidelined and the Raiders fell apart in their final regular season game and then barely competed in their postseason performance. Luckily, Carr’s young and he’ll have many more chances to make a postseason run.
2 Aaron Rodgers: 4,900 YARDS
Meet the 2017 league MVP. Aaron Rodgers will bully defenses into submission as he runs away with the MVP award following a near record setting season. But Rodgers still won’t lead the league in passing yards as one guy will continue to hold that crown. Rodgers has proved he can produce no matter who is out there catching the balls (something we got used to seeing Tom Brady do). Rodgers will take over as the NFL’s premiere athlete and he’ll do it with just crushing performances each week.
Rodgers will be so good that it won’t be surprising when he manages to throw seven touchdowns in one game, something that only eight other quarterbacks have done in league history. Although Rodgers may not break Peyton Manning’s record of 55 passing touchdowns in a season, he’ll come pretty dang close to that feat. Without a doubt, we’ll all be praising Rodgers year by the end of next season.
1 DREW BREES: 5,500 YARDS
Drew Brees always leads the league in passing yards and that isn’t going to change next year. Even though he is another one of the NFL stars who will be relentlessly questioned next season about his retirement. Brees will be 38 and there’s no telling how much longer he wants to stay in the league. He’s still performing better than most of the league. In fact, he’s led the league in completions two of the last three seasons and has led the league in passing yards for three-consecutive seasons (he’s done that six times in his career and has led the league in touchdowns four times).
Brees probably wants another Super Bowl ring to cap off his amazing career, but that won’t happen this season. It’s likely that he will continue with near league-leading numbers, but New Orleans defense just can’t match up with its high-octane offense, which will stump Brees late in the season. But Saints fans will be able to take solace in watching their star quarterback thrive once again.