The quarterback position has become one of relative strength in the NFL over the last few seasons. We have seen quite a few young quarterbacks make their mark and the veterans continue to put up strong numbers. Let's take a look at the quarterback rankings for week 1. As you're going through the rankings, watch for three tags:
a MUST START quarterback - he has the potential to have the strongest week of all the quarterbacks,
a WATCH OUT quarterback- he has the potential to self-destruct and cause you stress
and a SLEEPER- a quarterback who could really surprise and play big.
1. Drew Brees vs. Minnesota
I can see Brees and the passing game performing much better than the NFC Championship game. He gets off to a fast start here. He should pick up, right where he left off.
2. Aaron Rodgers at Philadelphia
3. Peyton Manning at Houston
MUST START. Manning seems to have the Texans number. The passing offense should keep on rolling. He should spread it around to all of his weapons. He could have the best week of all quarterbacks.
4. Jay Cutler vs. Detroit
His season last year started off as a disaster. The opening opponent this season should be more to his liking. Two of his best games last year were against the Lions.
5. Philip Rivers at Kansas City
Of course, they still have no V-Jax. That should be no problem in the opener against the Chiefs. Again, Rivers has fared well against them and that should continue.
6. Matt Schaub vs. Indianapolis
7. Tony Romo at Washington
Romo and the Cowboys really want to start out positively to start this season. This game is always played tough but they should be able to pass the ball. Look for some long connections from Romo.
8. Tom Brady vs. Cincinnati
He should have a good game but the Bengals have a strong corner duo. This will be a game to see where the Pats are with their passing game. Brady should be better just being another year removed from knee surgery.
9. Brett Favre at New Orleans
WATCH OUT. Favre had such a great season last year, that it's hard to believe that it could happen again. I think the Vikings will really look to AP in this game. Sydney Rice being out does not help Favre.
10. Matt Ryan at Pittsburgh
They're playing in Pittsburgh but I think Ryan has matured enough to handle the environment. The Falcons will try to go with balance but I'm sure the passing game will get its due. The Steelers starting Dixon might give Ryan some nice field position at times.
11. Kevin Kolb vs. Green Bay
Kolb's time has finally come. The Eagles have the weapons to counter the Packers defense in the passing game. Kolb will put the Eagles in position to win this game.
12. Donovan McNabb vs. Dallas
There has been concern about his status for the game but I'm sure McNabb will play. The Redskins should be a much better passing attack with McNabb at the controls. Shanahan will put together a game plan that will help him to succeed.
13. Kyle Orton at Jacksonville
Orton had a better season last year than I think any of us thought possible. He lost his biggest weapon in Brandon Marshall but facing the Jags in Week 1 will ease the pain. Watch how the Broncos use their passing game here.
14. Eli Manning vs. Carolina
The Giants have really supplied Manning with some nice receivers. The Panthers do have a top corner duo, so he could have trouble. Manning will probably not be asked to go out and win this game.
The Ravens have also really supplied Flacco with more talent to throw to. He will be on the road though facing a strong defense in the Jets. Look for a mixed first game for Flacco and his new wide receivers.
16. Carson Palmer at New England
Palmer and the Bengals passing game did not burn things up last year. The team has gone to more of a balanced approach on offense. He should still have a good game here but nowhere near the top quarterbacks.
17. David Garrard vs. Denver
This spot is basically reserved for him. He doesn't blow you away but he also won't tank and leave you with nothing. Just a steady QB on a team that leans heavily on the run.
18. Vince Young vs. Oakland
This is a good game for Young and the Titans to start off with. He should perform well against the Raiders and have a good game both passing and running. If only they would find him some better receivers.
19. Matthew Stafford at Chicago
He has a tough first match up, going into Chicago. I'm worry about how he will perform here and dropped him down a little. Stafford won't be terrible but will have better games this season than this one.
20. Derek Anderson at St. Louis
I never thought he would be starting the season instead of Leinart but here we are. Anderson has a great match up in Week 1 facing the Rams. I think he will have a good game but then again it is just the Rams.
21. Alex Smith at Seattle
Smith played one of the two games against the Seahawks last year and passed for 300 yards but no TD's. I could see that happening again here. The 49ers will lean heavily on the run to wear down Seattle.
22. Jason Campbell at Tennessee
This will be a nice fresh start for Campbell. The Raiders don't have much in the cupboard receiver-wise except for Zach Miller. Campbell will seem like a Hall of Famer when compared to JaMarcus Russell.
23. Matt Cassel vs. San Diego
Cassel is the third highest paid quarterback in the league but he certainly won't play like it. The Chiefs will look to the running game first and foremost against the Chargers. If Cassel adds some plays in the passing game, that will be a bonus.
24. Chad Henne at Buffalo
Henne struggled in both games against Buffalo last year. We still don't know how the Dolphins will exactly run their offense (has the Wildcat died). Henne and Marshall will hook up but the story of the day will be the running game.
The Panthers have not looked strong on offense in the pre-season. Steve Smith has voiced his concerns. The Panthers love their powerful running attack and Moore will just manage things as they visit the Big Apple.
26. Matt Hasselbeck vs. San Francisco
The Niners stymied Hasselbeck last year in their two meetings. This game will also be a struggle for him. He might already be looking over his shoulder.
27. Dennis Dixon vs. Atlanta
Dixon really impressed me against Baltimore in his one start last season. He brings a lot of athletic ability to the quarterback position. Playing in Pittsburgh will help him to at least be comfortable.
28. Josh Freeman vs. Cleveland
This will probably be the worst match up for quarterback play. Freeman showed flashes of brilliance last year but he starts this season with an injured thumb. Things could get ugly.
29. Trent Edwards vs. Miami
This could be a turning point for Edwards. He has gone from a rising prospect to bench warmer and now back to starting. I think he might struggle again and possibly get the hook.
30. Mark Sanchez vs. Baltimore
SLEEPER. Sanchez was not asked to do much last season except manage the offense. The Ravens corners are very weak. If the running game is struggling, Sanchez may be asked to do alot more.
31. Jake Delhomme at Tampa Bay
Delhomme is at least familiar with his first opponent, having played against them frequently in the NFC South. They too though are familiar with him. He struggled in his one start against the Bucs last year, this should be more of the same.
32. Sam Bradford vs. Arizona
The Bradford era starts on Sunday in St. Louis. I think that this game will be one for him to forget. Stafford and Sanchez had at least some talent to work with, which is something you cannot say about the Rams passing game.