Quarterback is, without a doubt, the most important position in the NFL. If your team has a well-equipped QB, they automatically have a shot at making it to the big dance. But if your team looks lackluster at the position...well, things just got about a hundred times harder for them. It's not just the starting quarterbacks that are important, either. Fans don't like to think about it, but the backup QBs are important, and not just for those teams that don't have a bonafide stud at the position. As the Vikings learned when Teddy Bridgewater went down, having a good arm at the ready is crucial.
In order to rank the quarterback "situations" of every team, you have to factor in the starter's durability, the overall depth at the position, and what kind of supporting cast they have around them. And just as a friendly reminder, this list isn't about which team's quarterback was the best last year, or who will be the best over the next five years. It's about which quarterback(s) give their team the best chance at winning in 2017.
32 New York Jets
The starter for the New York Jets heading into the season will be a 38-year-old perennial backup who has played for a third of the teams in the NFL and has a career completion percentage of 59.1 and a record of 2-20 as a starter. Behind Josh McCown are a couple of young guns, Bryce Petty -- who threw 3 TDs and 7 INTs in his second season -- and Christian Hackenberg -- who, despite being drafted in the 2nd round, didn't see the field at all last season. If you're a Jets fan, you're probably pining for the days of Mark Sanchez.
Gang Green is in the midst of one of the most fervent rebuilds in league history, gutting anyone with a proven track record in order to rack up cap space. That leaves McCown with Quincy Enunwa as his most reliable target. Suffice it to say, this will be a run-heavy team in 2017.
31 Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns don't have a quarterback room so much as they have a cast for a reality show called Who Wants To Be Blamed For This Week's Loss? The Browns long-term plan to resurrect their scrap heap of a football team is underway, but is still a couple of years away from bearing fruit. All they can really hope for this year is that they get some insight into their future at quarterback.
Can the Brocking Chair bounce back from a terrible season to become the quarterback the Houston Texans originally paid him to be? Can Cody Kessler avoid taking big hits again this year and build on a surprisingly solid rookie season? Will DeShone Kizer be allowed the opportunity to soak up as much as he can from the sidelines, or will he be thrust into action too early a la Jared Goff? There are a lot more questions in Cleveland than answers, but if they can stay patient and keep their eyes toward the future, their quarterback situation might not look so bad a couple of years from now.
30 Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff, as it turned out, was not the answer for the Rams' struggling offense in 2016. But despite an atrocious stat line -- 5 TDs to 7 INTs and a 54.6 completion percentage -- Goff actually looked the part of a starting quarterback during his 7 games at the helm. And if it weren't for the Rams 27th-ranked offensive line, which got the rookie QB sacked 26 times after supplanting Case Keenum in Week 11, there's reason to believe Goff could have pushed his team to at least a couple of wins.
Since the Rams failed to add a true No. 1 receiver in the offseason, it will fall on the new O-line additions John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth to give the young QB some extra time in the pocket. But if new head coach Sean McVay, who managed to turn Kirk Cousins into a legitimate stud during his three years as Washington's offensive coordinator, can't work his magic on Goff, L.A.'s restless fans might actually be chanting for Sean Mannion by mid-season.
29 Houston Texans
"Hey, it can't be much worse than last year, right?" has pretty much been the rallying cry of the Texans' fanbase in regards to the team's quarterback since 2012, and it's fitting again this year. With the short-lived Brock the Casbah experiment over in Houston, the Texans gave up next year's 1st-round pick to nab Deshaun Watson, so it's reasonable to assume the Clemson product will see the field at some point this season.
How long Coach Bill O'Brien waits to pull the trigger will be determined by how long Tom Savage can keep the ship afloat. He might be capable of taking his team to the playoffs, or he might flame out in Week 3 and force O'Brien to pull the ripcord. Remember, for all the positive press Savage received at the tail end of last season after replacing Osweiler in Week 15 -- he was "poised," he was "methodical," and he "didn't throw the ball like it was engulfed in flames" -- the guy still hasn't thrown a touchdown in the NFL. Best to temper expectations.
28 San Francisco 49ers
Instead of building their quarterback room through the draft, the 49ers plucked the guys who were backing up Jay Cutler last season. If that sounds worrisome, allow us to ease your qualms by saying that Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley did not play quite as poorly last year as you might believe.
No, they're not elite quarterbacks, but had it not been for costly drops, fumbles, and holding penalties by their offensive linemen, Hoyer and Barkley would have actually looked pretty exceptional. As it was, Hoyer managed more than 300 yards in four consecutive starts, and didn't throw a single interception in that time. Barkley may have turned into an interception machine by season's end, but he quietly increased his completion percentage every game he started. Both have been solid spot starts, and under the guidance of Kyle Shanahan, one of them will try to carry the 49ers to a winning season.
27 Chicago Bears
Hope. That's all the Chicago Bears have in their quarterback room after signing Mike Glennon -- who sat behind Jameis Winston for two years in Tampa Bay -- and drafting Mitchell Trubisky, who put together just one decent season as a starter at North Carolina. The Bears hope Glennon will be worth the big money, at least for this season, and they hope Trubisky will have time to develop into the balanced quarterback they traded away their future for. They also hope Mark Sanchez doesn't have to take any meaningful snaps.
But hopefully the coaching staff doesn't expect too much out of Glennon and pull the trigger on Trubisky too soon as a result of unwieldy expectations. They've made their bed with Glennon, and they have to be comfortable with the possibility of him sleeping his way to a 4-12 season like he did in his first year with the Bucs. If that happens, they can cut Glennon loose and move onto the Trubisky era with some renewed hope for 2018.
26 Denver Broncos
Is it better to have two unknown quantities at quarterback, or to have two frustratingly pedestrian signal callers battling it out at the league's most important position? The latter is the situation the Broncos find themselves in, with 2016's 1st-round draft pick Paxton Lynch trying to usurp incumbent starter Trevor Siemian.
Neither were effective last year in an offense that desperately needed big plays to make up for an impotent running game. A reconstructed O-line and the addition of Jamaal Charles, if healthy, promise to make the starting QB's job much easier, whoever it may be. But even if the running game struggles once again, there's no excuse for Siemian or Lynch failing to utilize the big-play weapons they have in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. That receiving duo, at their best, should be able to make even "Mr. Irrelevant" Chad Kelly look like a world-beater.
25 Jacksonville Jaguars
Even if it were printed out in 3-point font, the amount of web space dedicated to ridiculing Blake Bortles would stretch well beyond the 11,000 yards he's thrown over the last three seasons. Which, by the way, is not a bad stat total for a fresh-faced quarterback. It's certainly an improvement over Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne's totals before him. Speaking of whom, Henne has only gotten rustier since Bortles took the team over in 2014, so he's not the answer either.
But it's not Bortles' total yardage that's concerning. It's the repeated, boneheaded mistakes that frequently lead to interceptions (51 over three seasons) that have the Jacksonville faithful clamoring for an upgrade at quarterback. Poor decision-making and even worse mechanics have kept Bortles from progressing, and if he continues to throw the ball like a fishmonger who's secretly terrified of carp, not even presumed rookie sensation Leonard Fournette will be able to keep the Jags atop the burgeoning AFC South.
24 Buffalo Bills
Tyrod Taylor isn't the terrible quarterback many folks seem content to write him off as, but it's understandable that the guy doesn't inspire a ton of confidence. Despite ranking in the top 10 for total QBR and TD:INT ratio, Taylor couldn't push the ball downfield with any sort of efficiency and lacked clutch playmaking ability.
Then again, that's bound to be the case when you only have two legitimate weapons on your offense, and one of them is constantly hampered by injuries (if he's on the field at all). One shouldn't overlook what Taylor has been able to do with a ragtag group in Buffalo, but he's also got a nasty habit of buckling under pressure and making the type of errant throws that even Jay Cutler has to laugh at. Early reports on Cardale Jones is that he's teetering on the brink of release, which leaves only the woeful T.J. Yates and rookie Nathan Peterman on the depth chart.
23 Philadelphia Eagles
Through his first four games of his NFL tenure, analysts were ready to anoint Carson Wentz as the Rookie of the Year. But due to some combination of youthful inexperience, wide receiving butterfingers, and wildly inconsistent play from the offensive line, Wentz rode a mudslide down the stretch into the bottom tier of QB rankings. He's still going to be the Eagles' main guy, but if he falters for another long stretch this year, expect turnover machine Nick Foles to get another chance under center.
Luckily, Philadelphia loaded up with offensive weapons during the offseason to make sure Wentz has an easier sophomore season. Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery can get behind defenders with the best of them and will give him better downfield targets, with the latter offering the option to toss more 50/50 balls. Key additions of LeGarrette Blount and Donnel Pumphrey in the backfield should take some weight off Wentz's shoulders, too, keeping defenses honest and allowing the QB to utilize more play-action.
22 Arizona Cardinals
Arizona's is a difficult situation to figure out. On one hand, they're just one season removed from making it to the NFC Championship game and fielding a Pro Bowl quarterback. On the other, Carson Palmer regressed in a major way in 2016 and showed his age. It wasn't that Palmer's production took a nosedive -- he finished the season with more than 4,000 for the fourth time in his career and was Top 10 in touchdown passes -- but simply that he took too long to get any consistency going. If he can get it going earlier this year, the Cardinals will be in playoff contention once again.
If the duct tape on Palmer doesn't hold up, the Cardinals will have to default to Drew Stanton or Blaine Gabbert, whose combined career passer rating must keep Bruce Arians awake at night. If the choice is between Stanton or Gabbert, the best option might be to stick David Johnson in the wildcat for every play and call it a day.
21 Baltimore Ravens
No other team in the NFL with a Super Bowl-winning QB at the helm should feel as uncertain about their situation heading into the 2017 season. Joe Flacco is, at times, a masterful gunslinger capable of carrying his team to great things. But mostly, he's a frustratingly inconsistent bummer who carries an insane amount of dead money in his contract. It's gotten to the point that Ryan Mallett actually looks like an intriguing option.
2016 produced one of Joe Cool's most perplexing performances, as the QB threw for a career-high 4,317 yards while simultaneously notching career-lows in yards per attempt and yards per completion; he basically turned into a dump-off specialist. By contrast, Drew Brees attempted just one more pass than Flacco last year but racked up an extra 900 yards and 17 more TDs. Baltimore added a couple of playmakers in the offseason (Danny Woodhead, Jeremy Maclin) to help Flacco out, but time is running out for the Super Bowl MVP to prove he's more than a one-hit wonder.
20 Tennessee Titans
If not for a fractured fibula that ended his 2016 early, Marcus Mariota would certainly be higher on this list. But that was a significant injury, one that might have drastic effects on Mariota's playing style. Derek Carr suffered the exact same injury, but he's a pocket passer, unlike Mariota, who thrives on his scrambling abilities.
But entering his third season, Mariota has steadily improved in just about every facet of the game. His awareness, accuracy, and confidence have all ratcheted up a notch from his rookie year. But will the injury force some regression? One thing's for certain, no Titans fan wants to see him get injured again and see Matt Cassel trot back onto the field.
19 Kansas City Chiefs
To anyone that questions Alex Smith's capability to lead his team to victory: 63-28-1. That's his win/loss record over the last six seasons, including the playoffs. People can dump on Smith for being the ultimate "game manager," but you can't pooh-pooh his results. That said, he's not now, nor will ever be a "gunslinger" capable of rallying his team for a fourth quarter comeback with a strike down the field. His aversion to throwing deep balls -- even when the situation demands it -- hinders his team from time to time.
And let's also not forget that there was a stretch of 594 days where Smith didn't complete a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Smith is a capable QB, but it's only a matter of time before the reigns are handed to Patrick Mahomes, who will provide the big-play ability and swagger the Chiefs need to go from good to great.
18 Los Angeles Chargers
Do the Chargers need to worry about their starting quarterback? Well, Philip Rivers hasn't missed a single game since his first start in 2006...so they've got that going for them. On the other hand, the 35-year-old QB endured so many fourth-quarter meltdowns that the coaching staff probably took away all of his belts and shoestrings. That kind of repetitive disintegration can wear a man down.
The Chargers were, in Rivers' own words, "The Bad News Bears of the NFL" last year. Whether this season turns into a sequel -- The Bad News Bears Go To Los Angeles -- is on Rivers. He can't lead the league in interceptions again this year and expect to make the playoffs -- which he hasn't done since 2013. He has a few upgrades around him, including left tackle Russell Okung and Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, so the typically clutch QB should have a better year.
17 Minnesota Vikings
It may not have been anyone's ideal situation heading into the season, but Sam Bradford was able to bail Mike Zimmer out in the midst of a pretty dire situation, despite having no time to learn the offense and having no running game to back him up. He secured an NFL record for single season completion percentage, as well as a Vikings record most pass completions. At the end of the day, the guy throws a catchable ball.
Minnesota declined to pick up Teddy Bridgewater's fifth-year option due to the questions surrounding his overall health, so his career still has a giant question mark hovering over it. For now, it seems Coach Zimmer will be gameplan for Bradford alone, which should benefit the offense overall. If Bradford dramatically regresses and Bridgewater is unable to get back on the field, the Vikings will have to rely on Case Keenum, who failed to keep the starting gig for the Rams last year.
16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston has the "IT" factor needed to play quarterback at an extremely high level, but he needs to cut down on those costly turnovers. Coming into the draft, most analysts suggested Winston was one major offensive weapon away from being able to contend for a Super Bowl. Well, the Bucs went out and got him two new shiny toys to play with in DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard, so if Winston is going to make the jump into becoming a top-tier QB, this ought to be the year.
Oh, and remember when Ryan Fitzpatrick was on the cusp of a career resurgence, racking up a franchise record 31 TDs in 2015? The days of FitzMagic are in the rearview, but for a backup, the Bucs could do much worse.
15 Miami Dolphins
There are plenty of Ryan Tannehill haters out there, many of them residing in or around Miami. And while his first five seasons haven't yielded any playoff wins and just one winning season, he did make some noticeable improvements last year. Tannehill posted a career-high completion percentage, which was good for 6th in the league, just behind Tom Brady.
With a more conservative offensive approach, Tannehill thrived. Supposing that Jay Ajayi is able to add some consistency in the run game, the Miami QB should have another hyper-efficient year. And should Matt Moore get the call for some reason, Dolphins fans should rest assured that he'll be a more than capable spot start.
14 Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton has the 12th best regular season win/loss record among all active quarterbacks, and is 10th in the TD/INT stat sheet. Those are solid numbers that prove, if nothing else, that Dalton is one of the safest players at the position. And not for nothing, AJ McCarron is one of the safest backups currently on a roster. The QB situation in Cincy may not be incredibly exciting, but at least it's not volatile.
And yet, that prudence has yet to translate into a single playoff win. That in and of itself wouldn't be as much of a ding against The Red Rocket hadn't had A.J. Green running routes. There's a ton of raw talent on this team, and with fresh blood John Ross and Joe Mixon on the roster, Dalton has a loaded arsenal. But would it surprise anyone if he's unable to notch that playoff "W" again?
13 Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has the best supporting cast in the NFC East, bar none. He has the league-leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott, taking his hand-offs, has an absolutely clutch wide receiver in Dez Bryant, and when all else fails, he can dump it off to the big security blanket known as Jason Witten. Granted, the Cowboys' highly-regarded O-line took some big hits in free agency, but there's enough talent at the skill positions that it might not even matter.
Prescott was just about unshakeable in his first year under center, coming through in clutch moments and avoiding the big mistakes that often plague rookie quarterbacks who try to do too much. With a full offseason to get acclimated to the system and the ghost of Tony Romo exorcised once and for all, Prescott should be able to follow his record-setting rookie season with another solid outing.
12 Carolina Panthers
To say that Cam Newton had a rough season last year would be like saying Andre the Giant had larger-than-average hands. It's a massive understatement. The 2015 MVP was pinballed around the field by defensive backs, and the typically jovial QB looked like he hated every second of the season. The Super Bowl Hangover is real, folks. And Cam Newton desperately needs a greasy breakfast.
But let's not forget that a year ago this guy was the league MVP and took his team to a Super Bowl. Superman's still in there somewhere, and a healthier Kelvin Benjamin and versatile rookie Christian McCaffrey should help unlock that transformation once again. Still, if Newton can't regain some of that 2015 confidence -- or becomes hindered by his offseason shoulder surgery -- the team would be in the hands of Derek Anderson, who has a 54.2 career completion percentage and has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns.
11 Indianapolis Colts
The hype machine has never stopped rallying for Andrew Luck, even when his team tried their best to make him look like the reincarnation of JaMarcus Russell. No one can decide whether Luck is a top-tier quarterback stuck with a real stinker of a team, or if he's simply a decent QB unable to elevate the talent surrounding him. His numbers from last season confirm that dichotomy. While Luck managed to put up career high numbers in completion percentage and yards-per-attempt despite having an offensive line made of linen (he was sacked 41 times, tied for 2nd-most in the league), that completion percentage was ranked just 16th last season.
Still, the guy clearly has a ton of arm talent and is in his prime years, so if he and his O-line can stay healthy, Indy should still be in a fine spot with their quarterback situation. Scott Tolzien, meanwhile, hasn't played many meaningful snaps in his six years in the NFL, but he's held the clipboard for guys like Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, and now Luck.
10 New York Giants
Eli Manning has started 211 consecutive games, so the sour-faced gunslinger is nothing if not durable. It doesn't really matter what name sits below him on the depth chart, because he's only getting in the game if a flustered defensive back dropkicks Manning in the junk. And even then, Eli's probably only taking a handful of snaps off.
Manning and his receivers had some connectivity issues last season, and their playoff loss to the Packers proved that even a great quarterback can't be effective if his receivers keep dropping the ball. And then there's the turnovers. Eli is capable of leading his team to the promised land, but only if he's able to curb those ill-timed interceptions. The addition of Brandon Marshall should help Eli navigate the field with more efficiency, and if Sterling Shepherd can fine-tune his fundamentals, Manning could have one of the best supporting casts of his career.
9 Oakland Raiders
Connor Cook got thrown into the fire last year, as he became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first start in a playoff game. The results were...not so good. If anyone was questioning how vital Derek Carr was to the Raiders' recent boon of success, those questions were immediately burned and buried after seeing how limp the team became with the 2x Pro Bowler on the sideline.
His numbers aren't the flashiest, but it's clear that the offense runs through Carr. As long as he's under center, the Raiders have a shot to go 12-4 again this year, and that's before you factor in the addition of Beast Mode in the backfield. You want to talk about keeping defenses honest? Connor Cook and EJ Manuel might look like superstars with Marshawn Lynch breaking the wills of their opponents.
8 Detroit Lions
That's right. The Lions. The Matthew Stafford-Jim Bob Cooter tag team has proved incredibly fruitful thus far, and that upward trend should continue in 2017. Under Jim Bob's tutelage, Stafford led his team to the playoffs after orchestrating a record-setting eight fourth quarter comebacks. And he did so without Calvin Johnson. Without Stafford engineering those game-winning drives, Detroit is staring down the barrel of a 1-15 season.
As durable as he is doofy-looking, no one in Detroit is worried about Stafford missing any playing time. Then again, maybe it would have behooved the team to have someone reliable behind Stafford last year when he injured his throwing hand and had to finish out the season with a bum paw. Would Jake Ruddock have been able win at least one of those last three games? Maybe not, but one has to assume the former Michigan Wolverine could have done better than Stafford's 0 TD/1 INT games against both the Giants and the Cowboys.
7 Washington Redskins
Is Kirk Cousins an elite quarterback, or is he simply an overhyped QB who puts up monster numbers but can't perform in the clutch? The answer depends on how highly you value stats versus the eye test. Either way, the guy deserves to be a franchise quarterback, simply because there's an overwhelming dearth of guys with his raw talent at the position.
Cousins should still be playing with a chip on his shoulder after failing to get a long-term contract, so watch for the undervalued QB to put up another outrageous stat line this season. Whether or not that chip pushes Washington into the playoffs is another story. The good news is that if Cousins goes down with an injury, Colt McCoy will be able to handle the workload indefinitely.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers
There's a cozy little spot for Ben Roethlisberger in the Hall of Fame some day, that much is certain. But how many Hall of Fame-caliber seasons does the consistently-injured quarterback have left in the tank? If Roethlisberger could guarantee his health for the 2017 season, I don't think many folks would bet on them missing the playoffs. Unfortunately, Big Ben has big problems not getting banged up, as he's only started three out of 13 full seasons since he entered the NFL.
So the question becomes, how many games will Roethlisberger inevitably miss this season, and how much faith do you have in Landry Jones? How much can you trust your normally high-powered offense to the guy who averaged just 6.5 yards per throw last season? Joshua Dobbs isn't the most eye-popping rookie prospect either, but the good news is that either of those backups would benefit from having Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, two of the greatest in the game right now.
5 Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson might've had what some would consider a down year -- posting his worst TD to INT ratio and rushing for the fewest yards since entering the league in 2012 -- but there was a lot to like about his gutsy performances. For starters, the world got to see what Wilson would look like as a one-dimensional QB thanks to nagging ankle and knee injuries. Without the ability to scramble, #3 was forced to become a pocket passer. The result? Wilson threw for 4,219 yards, and was sacked fewer times than he'd been the previous three years.
If nothing else, 2016 proved that Wilson could stand tall and play hurt. He could play great hurt. And that's important going into 2017, because there's nothing to like about Seattle's QB situation behind him. Trevone Boykin has more off-the-field issues than any backup should be allowed to have, and Austin Davis is...well, Austin Davis. Best if Wilson can stay moderately healthy.
4 New Orleans Saints
Five 5,000-yard seasons. That's just ridiculous. The 38-year-old QB added the latest one just last season, which should quell the concerns of those worried Drew Brees might be, in the immortal words of Danny Glover, "getting too old for this sh*t." That's not to say he couldn't suffer a drop-off in play, but it's just silly to think Brees isn't equipped to dish out another stat-gasmic season.
Even if Brees doesn't have the eye-popping season he did last year, it's safe to say most teams in the NFL would take a slightly watered-down version of Drew Breezy over their current situation any day of the week. The jury's still out on whether or not Chase Daniel could handle starting duties in the NFL, but as backup insurance, he's a good guy to have suiting up on Sundays.
3 Atlanta Falcons
The reigning league MVP should have another fantastic year, as Julio Jones looks to remain one of the most dominant offensive players on the field at all times. Couple that with Matt Ryan's growing rapport with speedster Taylor Gabriel and the always-dangerous Devonta Freeman, and there will be no shortage of options for him to whip the ball to. Ryan now has six consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 yards, and his interception numbers saw a steep drop-off last year.
Ryan is also seventh on the list of quarterbacks with the most consecutive starts, but should Matty be put on ice for a few games, the Falcons will continue to hum along just time under the serviceable guidance of Matt Schaub. There might be a small downtick in the passing stats with Kyle Shanahan departing for San Francisco, but make no mistake, the Falcons still possess a Top 3 passing game.
2 Green Bay Packers
Is there anyone on the planet who makes plays as magically (and consistently) as Aaron Rodgers? (If so, get that guy a helmet and tell the Jets to start throwing trash bags full of money at him.) There's probably not a better quarterback in the league today, as evidenced by his "running the table" for an 8-game win streak to close out the year despite a limp, injury-ravaged defense doing everything they could to lose games.
Rodgers has been mostly durable, and has played through injuries before. But if he were to miss playing time like he did in 2013, Green Bay is in a better situation than they were back then. The fact that Brent Hundley was close to being traded during the draft tells us at least one team out there views him as a starter. Joe Callahan has potential, too, judging by his excellent preseason last year.
1 New England Patriots
Not only does New England have perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play the game still somehow throwing like a 30-year-old version of himself, but the team's backup situation is the most enviable in the league. (In that, they actually have a couple of somewhat proven arms in Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett that can scrounge up wins if need be. That's a high compliment for backups in this league.) And let's face it, Bill Belichick's system would allow even Mark Sanchez and Trent Dilfer to thrive.
But unlike last year, the Patriots probably don't have to worry about scraping by for a few games without their legendary QB at the helm. Yes, Brady turns 40 before the season gets underway, but he's already proven himself to be pretty much impervious to the ravages of time. Unless he suffers a sharp, Peyton Manning-esque decline -- which is bound to happen eventually -- Brady will carry his strong supporting cast into the playoffs once again without much drama.