- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2012

1. Packers — Aaron Rodgers

The reigning NFL MVP has a Super Bowl ring and is just entering his prime at age 28. His quick decision-making compensates for an average offensive line. His 68.3 completion percentage last season was second-best in the league.

2. Saints — Drew Brees

He set an NFL single-season record last year with 5,476 passing yards. His 71.2 completion percentage also was the best in NFL history, breaking his 2009 mark of 70.6. He consistently puts the ball in a spot for receivers to gain yards after the catch.

3. Patriots — Tom Brady

Brady led the Patriots to the Super Bowl last season despite a bit of a dropoff. He’s out of the top two after mechanical flaws led to 12 interceptions. At age 35, he must improve his footwork and base to remain elite.

4. Giants — Eli Manning

His stats aren’t always the best (25 INT in 2010), but he threw for a career-high 4,933 yards last season as the Giants transitioned to a pass-heavy attack. He has eclipsed 4,000 passing years each of the past three seasons. Manning has two rings; Jim Plunkett is the only retired quarterback to win two Super Bowls and not be in the Hall of Fame.

5. Cowboys — Tony Romo

Romo was the NFL’s third-most accurate (66.3 percent) and fourth-best rated (102.5) passer last season. His statistical excellence in 2011 (31 TD/10 INT/4,184 yards) is widely overshadowed by clutch failures. The Cowboys missed the playoffs in three of the past four years, and they lost their opener in 2007 after finishing with the NFC’s top seed.

6. Broncos — Peyton Manning

Manning is as smart a quarterback as any in NFL history, but he must re-establish himself with a new team after missing a year with a neck injury that compromised nerves in his throwing arm. He could easily regain a spot near the top of these rankings, but he had to install his offense with a Broncos team transitioning away from Tim Tebow. His grade is incomplete.

7. Lions — Matthew Stafford

The No. 1 pick in 2009 was brilliant last season as he improved his decision making in his first injury-free campaign. His 97.2 passer rating was fifth-best in the NFL. Only Brees and Brady beat his 41 TD passes.

8. Falcons — Matt Ryan

Story Continues →