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QB Index, Week 12: Deshaun Watson, Derek Carr climb

Where do the starting quarterbacks of each NFL team stand heading into Week 12 of the 2020 season? NFL.com editors Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr provide a composite ranking of all 32 players below. Each editor's individual ranking of each quarterback can be found underneath the player's name; analysis is presented in eight-QB chunks below the players being discussed.

NOTE: The rankings and statistics below reflect what has transpired through WEEK 11. Up-down arrows reflect changes from the previous week's QB Index.

Rank
1
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 1 | Blair: 1 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1

2020 stats: 10 games | 67.9 pct | 3,035 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 27 pass TD | 2 INT | 187 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
2
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 16

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 2 | Blair: 2 | Filice: 4 | Parr: 2

2020 stats: 10 games | 68.2 pct | 2,889 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 29 pass TD | 4 INT | 78 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
3
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 9

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 3 | Blair: 3 | Filice: 3 | Parr: 4

2020 stats: 10 games | 70.7 pct | 2,986 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 30 pass TD | 10 INT | 367 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
4
4
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · Year 4

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 4 | Blair: 4 | Filice: 2 | Parr: 5

2020 stats: 10 games | 68.9 pct | 2,883 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 20 pass TD | 5 INT | 269 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


(UPDATE: Watson absolutely chewed up Detroit’s defense on Thanksgiving, throwing four TD strikes in a 41-25 rout of the Lions. The Texans QB was particularly locked in down the field in his near-flawless performance, finishing 8 of 10 for 239 yards, three scores and a perfect passer rating on intermediate and deep throws (10 or more air yards), per Next Gen Stats.)

Rank
5
1
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 3

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 5 | Blair: 6 | Filice: 6 | Parr: 3

2020 stats: 10 games | 68.4 pct | 2,871 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 21 pass TD | 7 INT | 279 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
6
1
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 2

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 6 | Blair: 5 | Filice: 5 | Parr: 7

2020 stats: 10 games | 68.3 pct | 2,644 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 19 pass TD | 8 INT | 619 rush yds | 10 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
7
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 9

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 7 | Blair: 7 | Filice: 10 | Parr: 6

2020 stats: 10 games | 65.4 pct | 2,387 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 22 pass TD | 4 INT | 149 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
8
2
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 7

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 8 | Blair: 8 | Filice: 7 | Parr: 8

2020 stats: 10 games | 69.7 pct | 2,431 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 19 pass TD | 3 INT | 124 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost

Filice: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth spent much of Sunday night's Vegas show marveling at Patrick Mahomes' ability to buy extra time with the backpedal before unfurling fadeaway lasers. Cheat-code stuff, no doubt, but I'd like to spotlight a different kind of evasive maneuver: the pocket eject. You know, when the pass rush breaches the blocking and Mahomes escapes with a reverse pivot that slingshots him out to the left, against the grain of his throwing motion. Every time this move happens, it's a sit-up-in-your-chair development: Off-platform absurdity could be in the offing! That was the case on a 12-yard completion to Travis Kelce amid K.C.'s 16-play touchdown drive to open the third quarter. With multiple Raiders in hot pursuit, Mahomes spun away from the pressure, continued rolling, contorted his body and delivered a throw like a Gold Glove shortstop, hitting his tight end on the money 25 air yards down the field. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are no strangers to unscripted brilliance, but Pat's preternatural skill set is unfair. Deshaun Watson, Mahomes' 2017 draftmate, is quite the playmaker himself. Don't let Houston's 3-7 record fool you: Watson's playing as well as anyone in football right now, fresh off a bravura evisceration of Bill Belichick's defense. In fact, Pro Football Focus just handed him the highest single-game grade of his career. Josh Allen has already set a new career high for TD passes (21), putting him on pace to eclipse Jim Kelly's single-season Bills record (33). Kyler Murray moves differently than any other player in league right now -- just ask Jamal Adams. Think Ryan Tannehill likes sharing a backfield with Derrick Henry? Watch Ravens CB Marcus Peters bite hard on the play-action to set up Tannehill's 50-yard bomb to Corey Davis. Then watch the entire Ravens defense follow Henry on a read-option play, allowing Tannehill to stroll into the end zone untouched for a key two-point conversion. If this is a prove-it year for Derek Carr, he's doing just that. The prolifically scrutinized signal-caller was nearly flawless in Round 2 against this list's QB1, giving him sparkling numbers in the season split with Kansas City: 72.6 comp pct, 311.0 pass ypg, 10.0 yds/att, 6:2 TD-to-INT ratio, 123.2 passer rating.

Rank
9
2
Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 1

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 9 | Blair: 9 | Filice: 8 | Parr: 9

2020 stats: 9 games | 68.0 pct | 2,333 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 22 pass TD | 6 INT | 187 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
10
1
Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 17

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 10 | Blair: 10 | Filice: 9 | Parr: 10

2020 stats: 10 games | 67.1 pct | 2,534 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 24 pass TD | 5 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
11
2
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 3

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 12 | Blair: 11 | Filice: 11 | Parr: 12

2020 stats: 10 games | 63.4 pct | 1,948 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 15 pass TD | 6 INT | 575 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost


(UPDATE: Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and will not play Sunday against the Steelers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday. Robert Griffin III will start for the Ravens in his place.)

Rank
12
6
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 21

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 11 | Blair: 14 | Filice: 12 | Parr: 11

2020 stats: 10 games | 66.0 pct | 2,955 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 25 pass TD | 9 INT | 8 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
13
4
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 13

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 15 | Blair: 13 | Filice: 13 | Parr: 13

2020 stats: 10 games | 65.7 pct | 2,978 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 15 pass TD | 7 INT | 68 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
14
4
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · Year 5

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 16 | Blair: 12 | Filice: 14 | Parr: 15

2020 stats: 10 games | 67.7 pct | 2,823 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 16 pass TD | 8 INT | 44 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
15
1
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · Year 17

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 13 | Blair: 16 | Filice: 16 | Parr: 14

2020 stats: 10 games | 68.5 pct | 2,683 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | -3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
16
3
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 9

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 14 | Blair: 15 | Filice: 15 | Parr: 16

2020 stats: 10 games | 66.9 pct | 2,461 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 20 pass TD | 11 INT | 58 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Parr: This is a distinguished group of eight, with three former MVPs and two members of the ballyhooed 2004 quarterback class in the bunch, but it's the new kid on the block who's all the rage right now. I mean, watch rookie Justin Herbert roll to his left to escape the Jets' pressure on Sunday and throw across his body, firing a laser to Keenan Allen in a tight window for a score. On the other end of the age spectrum, a grizzled vet joins Herbert in reaching the top 10 this week, with Ben Roethlisberger playing some of the best ball of his 17-year career. Now, you might be wondering why Lamar Jackson is moving up in the rankings after not playing up to his usual standard in an overtime loss to the Titans. Jackson isn't reaching the high bar he's set for himself, but Matt Ryan and Tom Brady were much worse in Week 11. Ryan and the Falcons' offense never adjusted to the Saints' pressure/tight coverage, so he ended up with an eight-sack, zero-TD, two-INT day. Brady cost the Bucs dearly in their loss to the Rams with a pair of second-half picks. He's failed to complete 22 straight deep throws (20-plus air yards), which is the longest incompletion streak on deep pass attempts by any player since 2017, per Next Gen Stats. Brady's counterpart on Monday night, Jared Goff, had some miscues of his own, but he gets a bump up the board after carrying his team to victory. He posted season highs in completions (39) and pass yards (376) and matched a season-best in TD passes (3), overcoming a non-existent running game. Then there are middle-of-the-pack guys like Philip Rivers and Kirk Cousins, who have played well of late but still receive a healthy dose of skepticism from us editors because of the overall limitations/rough patches from earlier in the season that can't be ignored.

Rank
17
1
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · Year 7

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 17 | Blair: 19 | Filice: 18 | Parr: 17

2020 stats: 10 games | 72.1 pct | 2,552 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 13 pass TD | 7 INT | 196 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


Rank
18
3
Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · Year 10

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 18 | Blair: 18 | Filice: 17 | Parr: 19

2020 stats: 9 games | 68.1 pct | 1,900 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 4 pass TD | 7 INT | 341 rush yds | 9 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
19
5
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · Year 12

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 19 | Blair: 17 | Filice: 19 | Parr: 18

2020 stats: 10 games | 62.8 pct | 2,581 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 17 pass TD | 7 INT | 82 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


(UPDATE: Stafford went up against a buzz saw on Thanksgiving, playing fine despite a torn ligament in his thumb, but nowhere near the level needed to keep pace with a pristine performance from Deshaun Watson. Stafford’s pick-six on the Lions’ second possession was one of three Detroit turnovers on consecutive drives in the first half.)

Rank
20
1
Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 1

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 20 | Blair: 21 | Filice: 21 | Parr: 20

2020 stats: 5 games | 61.9 pct | 602 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 0 INT | 34 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
21
1
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 3

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 22 | Blair: 20 | Filice: 22 | Parr: 22

2020 stats: 10 games | 60.8 pct | 1,850 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 15 pass TD | 7 INT | 75 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
22
1
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 2

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 23 | Blair: 24 | Filice: 20 | Parr: 21

2020 stats: 10 games | 63.5 pct | 2,122 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 9 INT | 384 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
T-23
8
Taysom Hill
Taysom Hill
New Orleans Saints · Year 4

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 24 | Blair: 22 | Filice: 23 | Parr: 23

2020 stats: 10 games | 78.6 pct | 319 pass yds | 11.4 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 237 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
T-23
2
Alex Smith
Alex Smith
Washington Football Team · Year 16

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 21 | Blair: 23 | Filice: 24 | Parr: 24

2020 stats: 3 games | 68.3 pct | 752 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 1 pass TD | 3 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


(UPDATE: Smith’s dink-and-dunk conservative approach under center wasn’t exciting, or particularly productive, but it was enough (with the help of a booming run game and an ill-timed fake punt) to lift Washington over Dallas and to the top of the NFC East standings. The veteran passer attempted just two passes of 10-plus air yards the entire game, eschewing possible chunk plays for high-percentage completions. Still, a poor decision while under duress late in the third quarter narrowly undid all of Smith’s game managing.)

Blair: Teddy Bridgewater's in line for a fun treat: stepping back into a job that someone else (P.J. Walker) competently babysat for him. Cam Newton had a fun line against the Texans, even if his day ended with a pair of stalled drives in a one-possession loss. He topped 360 passing yards for the second time this year and made some pretty throws, including a 42-yard scoring bomb to Damiere Byrd, justifying his bump here. I wish I could use the word "fun" a third time, but then I turn to Matthew Stafford, and the sky darkens. Whether the issue was a bum thumb (Stafford says it wasn't), too much pressure or not enough help, he put up a real stinker, logging the 10th-lowest yardage total (178) of his career and securing a five-spot drop. Tua Tagovailoa didn't fall far despite looking completely flummoxed against Denver's sack-happy D. Like Brian Flores, we're not willing to toss the rookie aside after one bad start (and one brief benching). Baker Mayfield can tell you about maintaining faith in young QBs. He missed on a couple scoring chances in another bad-weather outing but slung as many darts as he did duds -- and, crucially, continued to be the second- or third-most important factor for the Browns. Coming off a bye and heading for a date with a Bengals team that ranks 25th in takeaways, Daniel Jones has a shot to go four whole weeks without turning the ball over. Alex Smith had some nice moments, especially a deep shot to Terry McLaurin, while reestablishing himself as a steward (if not driver) of victories against Cincinnati, powering a push out of the bottom eight. Taysom Hill needed a minute to get going against Atlanta, but once he did, he connected on downfield strikes with authority (with a little help from his friends), showing he's got the goods to be a legitimate dual-threat QB and promising that his time in the saddle will be -- hey! -- fun.

Rank
25
1
Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton
Dallas Cowboys · Year 10

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 26 | Blair: 25 | Filice: 25 | Parr: 26

2020 stats: 5 games | 63.2 pct | 655 pass yds | 5.6 ypa | 4 pass TD | 4 INT | 25 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


(UPDATE: After an efficient first half (15 of 18, 151 yards, 1 TD), Dalton attempted just three passes in the third quarter and couldn’t capitalize on a prime red-zone opportunity gifted to him by his defense. A batted-ball-turned-pick-six late in the fourth quarter put Washington up 25 and capped 30 minutes of football the former Pro Bowler will quickly want to forget.)   

Rank
26
2
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 5

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 27 | Blair: 26 | Filice: 26 | Parr: 25

2020 stats: 10 games | 58.4 pct | 2,326 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 14 pass TD | 14 INT | 216 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
27
1
Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · Year 2

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 25 | Blair: 27 | Filice: 27 | Parr: 27

2020 stats: 8 games | 55.6 pct | 1,767 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 11 INT | 88 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


(UPDATE: Lock, along with fellow Broncos QBs Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles, have all been ruled out for Sunday's game due to close contact tracing linked to Denver QB Jeff Driskel, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, per NFL Network's James Palmer.)

Rank
28
2
Nick Mullens
Nick Mullens
San Francisco 49ers · Year 3

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 28 | Blair: 29 | Filice: 28 | Parr: 29

2020 stats: 6 games | 67.3 pct | 1,390 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 1 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
29
Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco
New York Jets · Year 13

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 29 | Blair: 28 | Filice: 30 | Parr: 28

2020 stats: 5 games | 55.2 pct | 864 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 22 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


(UPDATE: Sam Darnold will start for the Jets on Sunday against the Dolphins, Adam Gase told reporters Friday.)

Rank
30
1
Nick Foles
Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · Year 9

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 30 | Blair: 30 | Filice: 29 | Parr: 30

2020 stats: 8 games | 65.0 pct | 1,852 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 10 pass TD | 8 INT | 3 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


(UPDATE: Mitchell Trubisky will start for the Bears on Sunday night against the Packers, Matt Nagy announced Friday.)

Rank
31
NR
Mike Glennon
Mike Glennon
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 8

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 31 | Blair: 31 | Filice: 31 | Parr: 31

Rank
32
NR
Brandon Allen
Brandon Allen
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 5


Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 32 | Blair: 32 | Filice: 32 | Parr: 32


Bhanpuri: Welcome back, Andy Dalton! And welcome back, Cowboys! Dalton's inspired play against the Vikings, his first start since late October (concussion, COVID-19 list), has Dallas in prime position to challenge for the NFC East title down the stretch. On the back of his three passing touchdowns, the Cowboys scored as many points (31) as they totaled in their three previous games combined. The postseason hope suddenly swirling at The Star seems to have been siphoned out of Philly, where Carson Wentz's season-long struggles continue. The former No. 2 overall pick posted his seventh game with a passer rating of 80.0 or worse on the year; the top five QBs in this ranking have a total of six. At some point, the name power won't be enough to overcome the product on the field, sending Wentz possibly lower down this list. While Drew Lock didn't completely quiet his critics Sunday, he did bring the shouts down to a more reasonable octave. After a terrible interception on the Broncos' first drive, the second-year passer settled in, leaning on a relentless rushing effort from Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay (166 yards and 2 TDs on 5.35 yards per carry) to guide Denver to its fourth win of the year. A reasonable person could argue Joe Flacco deserves to be slightly higher, as he's nearly doubled Sam Darnold's season TD total in just the last two weeks. Can't say the same for Mike Glennon, who's set to make his first start in more than three years. Come Sunday, the 30-year-old will have seen game action for five different teams in the past five seasons. Not sure how much of a difference it'll make if the Bears stick with Nick Foles over Mitchell Trubisky. If the latter is healthy, I say give him back the rock and let him make some plays with his legs. Trotting out this guy hasn't worked. While the drop-off from Jimmy Garoppolo to Nick Mullens isn't anywhere close to the $25,850,000 difference in their 2020 cap hits, the contrast between Joe Burrow and Brandon Allen couldn't be more stark. Both backups will have tough tests this Sunday.

The Air Index presented by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. Check out the weekly FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote after Sunday Night Football.

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