The matchup section will examine the five QBs that will have the most enticing matchups this week, among those who merit consideration as a starter. It does not necessarily mean that they are the top five signal callers from a ranking standpoint, although that might actually be the case in certain weeks. That will be followed immediately by the top 20 rankings for this week. Both sections will provide you with additional insight into each QB’s next encounter. Including facts and statistics to guide you toward the best decision regarding whether or not they should be in your starting lineup.
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5 BEST MATCHUPS
Matt Ryan vs. Saints
Ryan has surpassed 300 yards in six different contests, including each of his last four. Which has propelled him into second among all QB in passing yards for the season (3,425). But the impressive assortment of accomplishments this year does not end there. He has averaged 352 YPG since Week 9, thrown for multiple scores in seven different games, and has produced three scores in five different contests. Ryan also passed for a season high 411 yards and three TDs when he faced the Saints in Week 10, and should dissect them in a similar fashion on Thursday Night. Just as nearly every signal caller has done when facing New Orleans throughout the season. They are now ranked 30th, and are surrendering 298 YPG. They have also permitted 22 TDs, which is the second most in the NFL. Ryan will add to the Saints’ unwanted numbers by generating 300+ yards and multiple TDs once again.
Tom Brady @ Dolphins
Brady has certainly assembled an exceptional array of numbers once again this season. He has now amassed 24 TD passes this season, and despite having attempted 421 throws, only three have been intercepted. In fact, he has not tossed an INT since Week 6, which is outstanding. Brady has also generated 3,299 yards, and exceeded 300 yards in seven different contests. There is nothing about Miami’s pass defense to indicate that they can defuse his pursuit of yardage and TDs. The Dolphins are ranked just 26th, and are allowing 262 YPG. Even though they have not been as hospitable in yielding TDs (14), they did just allow Russell Wilson to throw two of them in Week 12. Brady should have little trouble locating his numerous weapons downfield and inside the end zone. Expect another exceptional statistical performance.
Peyton Manning vs. Buccaneers
Manning continues to thrash opposing defenses regardless of who happens to be lining up against him. He now ranks third with 26 TDs, has exceeded 300 yards in six games, and has produced three TDs in six contests. He is also sixth among all QBs with 296 YPG, and is sixth overall with 3,260 yards for the season. And no defense will enable Manning to continue his aerial assault more seamlessly than Tampa Bay. The Bucs have improved dramatically in several areas this season, but are horrid when attempting to defend the pass. Their 313 YPG average places them dead last in the NFL, and the last six QBs who have faced them generated at least 250 yards. That includes Christian Ponder amid his enormous slump. The Bucs have also permitted 18 TDs, and simply do not possess the ability to contain Manning’s primary weapons. He should operate with his usual extreme precision, while producing 300 yards and three scores.
Eli Manning @ Redskins
Manning owners had been hoping for a return to the “good old days” that occurred earlier this season when he threw 10 TDs in the Giants’ initial five contests, generated 510 yards in Week 2, and produced 330 YPG throughout September. But he had only managed two scoring passes and 210 YPG from Weeks 6-11, while dropping steadily in the yardage rankings. However, he resuscitated his season by amassing 249 yards and three TDs against Green Bay, and now has an exceptional opportunity to continue the positive momentum. The shortcomings of Washington’s defense have been well-chronicled. And until they exhibit a sizable improvement in their ability to contain opposing passers, they will be considered an exceptional matchup for each of their opponents on a weekly basis. The Redskins are ranked a lowly 31st, and are now permitting 301 YPG. They are also tied for dead last in TDs allowed with 23. Manning’s owners can very feel secure about inserting him into their starting lineups.
Cam Newton @ Chiefs
While Newton has frequently delivered disappointing numbers this season, a primary culprit has been the chronic lack of cohesion and logic in Carolina’s offensive strategy. But his unique ability as a dynamic playmaker resurfaced Monday night, and he delivered by far his best performance of the year. He generated 306 yards and two TDs through the air, which were supplemented with two rushing scores. That improved his QB-INT ratio to 11/10, And he has now produced six TDs on the ground. Newton can build upon all of it in Sunday’s exceptional matchup with Kansas City. The Chiefs’ secondary has consistently allowed big plays, and the 22 TDs that they have yielded is a total that is surpassed by just two teams. Newton can add to it simply by abstaining from challenging CB Brandon Flowers, and focusing his efforts on connecting with whichever WR is lined up on the opposite side. He should also collect valuable rushing yardage, as the Chiefs rank just 25th versus the run. While another four score performance might be difficult to match, expect outstanding production from Newton.
Top 20 Rankings
1. Peyton Manning (vs. Buccaneers)
Manning’s outstanding production should continue on Sunday, as Tampa Bay’s deficient pass defense will struggle to offer even moderate resistance.
2. Matt Ryan (vs. Saints)
He passed for a season high 411 yards and three TDs when he faced the Saints in Week 10, and should resume his assault upon them on Thursday Night.
3. Drew Brees (@ Falcons)
He threw for 298 yards and three TDs against Atlanta when they met on November 11. He should approach those numbers once again, and remain the NFL leader in TD passes.
4. Aaron Rodgers (vs. Vikings)
Rodgers failed to throw multiple scoring passes for the first time since Week 3. But he should revive his production versus a Minnesota pass defense that has allowed 18 TDs.
5. Tom Brady (@ Dolphins)
Brady has accumulated a 14-6 career record against Miami, although he is just 5-5 in Miami. However, he torched them for 517 yards and four TDs in their last South Florida encounter.
6. Robert Griffin III (vs. Giants)
RG3 has doubled his number of passing TDs this season by generating eight more in the past two weeks. That includes four that he produced against the normally stingy Dallas pass defense in Week 12. He also generated 311 yards against what had been the NFL’s sixth ranked defense.
7. Cam Newton (@ Chiefs)
Newton’s should follow up his Monday Night masterpiece with another high quality performance against an overmatched Chief team in Kansas City.
8. Eli Manning (@ Redskins)
He threw the first TD pass since Week 7, and produced his first TD game since Week 5. Now, he should accumulate more against the Redskins 31st ranked pass defense.
9. Tony Romo (vs. Eagles)
In the last two weeks, Romo has thrown 112 passes while connecting on 72 of them. His 441 yards against Washington in Week 12 established a new season high, and his three TDs were the most since opening night. Now he can feast upon Philly’s degenerating pass defense.
10. Andy Dalton (@ Chargers)
It is time to take Dalton seriously as a QB1 option, as he is now fifth with 23 TD passes, after throwing a trio of scores against the Raiders in Week 12. It was the seventh game in which he has thrown at least two this season, and he should improve that total against San Diego. He has also extended his streaks of games without an INT to three, after tossing at least one in his first eight contests. The Sanu injury hurts his value, but he should still produce adequately.
11. Andrew Luck (@ Lions)
Luck returns to the road, where his 4 QB-10 INT ratio isn’t remotely close to his success when playing at home. But he should generate several TDs against a Lion pass defense that was dissected for 300+ yards by Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving Day.
12. Josh Freeman (@ Broncos)
In his last seven games, he has tossed 16 TD pass and just two INTs. He has also thrown 21 TD passes for the season, and only needs four more to establish a new career record.
13. Matthew Stafford (vs. Colts)
Stafford established new season highs in attempts (61) and yardage (441) against the Texans, while throwing multiple TDs for just the third time this year. He has now exceeded 260 yards in every game but one this season, and should accomplish that again versus Indy.
14. Colin Kaepernick (@ Rams)
After an impressive performance against an elite defense (Chicago), Kaepernick also performed well torched versus a very hospitable defense in New Orleans. He should achieve more success when he faces a middling St. Louis unit that allows 229 YPG.
15. Matt Schaub (@ Titans)
While he could not duplicate his Week 11 numbers (527 yards, five TDs), his 315 yards in Week 12 represented his second highest yardage total this year. He could deliver another excellent yardage total against a Tennessee unit that is tied for 26th against the pass, and is allowing 262 YPG.
16. Chad Henne (@ Bills)
Henne has generated 615 yards and six TDs in the past two weeks. While Buffalo’s pass defense has improved as the season has progressed, Henne can deliver another high quality performance.
17. Philip Rivers (vs. Bengals)
Rivers secures a top 20 ranking almost solely due to the emergence of Danario Alexander as a big play producer over the past four games.
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. Jaguars)
Fitzpatrick’s production has diminished once again after a brief resurgence in Weeks 8 and 10. But he should amass reasonable numbers against the Jaguars’ 28th ranked pass defense.
19. Carson Palmer (vs. Browns)
Palmer continues to launch the ball with great regularity, but his deficient line and inconsistent wideouts were too much to overcome in Cincinnati. The Browns have 28 sacks and 13 INTs, and will be primed to repeat his Week 12 misery. Plus, horrific weather is in the forecast, which will bump Palmer further down the rankings.
20. Joe Flacco (vs. Steelers)
Flacco has surpassed 340 yards in two of his last three games. While he won’t match that total against Pittsburgh, he should attain 250 yards and a TD.
<a title=”Chris J. Nelson [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons” href=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMatt_Ryan_(cropped).jpg”><img width=”128″ alt=”Matt Ryan (cropped)” src=”//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/Matt_Ryan_%28cropped%29.jpg”/></a>