The NFL has become a pass-happy league, like it or not. The days of using the run to set up the pass are a thing of the past, unless of course, you want the Baltimore Ravens to return to running the ball to set up the pass. That's probably still not going to happen, as the Ravens have attempted over 100 more passes than carries in the running game (451 passes vs. 334 runs).
Whether or not Ravens QB Joe Flacco can move up the list towards the top of the league's best passer remains to be seen, but perhaps the change in offensive coordinator is a step in the right direction. Time will prove that right or wrong, but in the meantime, take a look around the NFL and let's debate who is leading the pack as the best QB in the league.
For the most part, when discussing the best signal-callers, the conversation usually includes Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Once again, this season you can add Peyton Manning to that group and probably drop Brees into the second tier. That second group arguably also includes Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Matt Schaub and yes, sorry Ravens fans, Big Ben Roethlisberger and even Matt Ryan.
Is Joe Flacco part of that second tier? What about Cam Newton and rookies Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck? To be honest, the best of the rookies might just be Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. And where do Andy Dalton, RyanTannenhill, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Freeman, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler fit in?
However, for the purpose of this debate, we'll narrow the discussion down to three guys who are clearly in the top three of the league, namely Brady , Rodgers and Manning. Brady is consistent and has his team's offense clearly at the top of the league. Rodgers is the youngest and perhaps the future biggest star in the making once both Brady and Manning head off towards the Hall of Fame.
Speaking of Peyton Manning, his resurgence back from a career-threatening injury is perhaps the biggest comeback story of the year and what he has done for the Denver Broncos could have him in the lead for the NFL MVP Award. Aaron Rodger's talent is undeniable, but his team is just not playing at the consistent level of either Brady or Manning.
Both the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons have better records than either the Patriots or Broncos, but neither Matt Schaub nor Matt Ryan are in the two other guy's class. Therefore the final choice is between the two guys whose teams have waged classic battles over the past decade. While most of those clashes have been between the Pats and Manning's prior employer, the Indianapolis Colts, it's still Brady vs. Manning.
Right now, the Pats and Broncos look like the two best teams in the league and unless the Ravens can beat Denver this weekend, which will allow them to say they beat both of those division winners, it seems those two teams are headed towards a showdown to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Statistically, while neither Brady nor Manning are in the top four in passing yardage, they are the top two in QB Rating in the league (Brady 104.2 & Manning 104.0). To be fair, Washington Redskins QB RG3 (104.2) is up there as well, but has almost 1,000 less passing yards than that pair.
Their stats are so close to each other, it's almost scary looking at the similarities. The one thing that stands out is that while they have valmost identical TD passes (Manning: 30 / Brady: 29), the noticeable difference is that Peyton has thrown 10 interceptions, Tom has only thrown four in almost 500 attempts (495), a ridiculously low number, considering that Drew Brees, who leads the league in passing yardage and TD passes, has thrown 18 picks, 14 more than Brady, almost five times as many.
That one stat is the reason that Tom Brady has to be the difference in making my decision in picking the best QB in the NFL this year. The Patriots and Broncos are one-two in the league in scoring average, yet New England is stil scoring over touchdown more than Denver (35 ppg vs. 28 ppg).
So that's my pick in this debate. What's yours? Cast your vote below and also at Gillette's 'No Debate' Facebook page.