NFC North Quarterback Rankings 2023 Edition

For years the NFC North had been dominated by established veterans at the quarterback position for the most part. However with a new season upon us, a new era of NFC North football is beginning, and with that comes differing situations at the QB position for each team. But which ones will flourish and which ones will flounder?

1. Jared Goff
7 years ago, Jared Goff was selected #1 overall by the Los Angeles Rams. 7 seasons, 1 superbowl appearance and 1 trade later, the question of whether he is truly a good NFL quarterback has seemingly been answered. And luckily for Lions fans, the answer is yes.

Goff was bad his rookie year. Like real bad. With quarterback killer Jeff Fisher, Goff really had no chance at success. So it’s a good thing that for his next 4 seasons, he had Sean McVay, one of the most innovative and influential offensive minds in NFL History. In 2017 and 2018 he put up pro bowl numbers and his team saw a lot of success, including a NFC Championship win. However, his next few seasons weren’t as great. While his team had a winning record, it seemed that they were underperforming despite their overwhelming amount of talent because of Goff’s mediocre play. So, they traded him. And in return they got a QB who would lead them to a super bowl win in his first year there. At this point, Goff seemed like an afterthought. With the Lions starting their 2021 season 0-10-1, and Goff still playing mediocre, it seemed that his best seasons were a product of McVay’s extraordinary offensive style. But from there, he seemingly exploded. During the end of the 2021 season and especially during the 2022 season, Goff significantly improved his play. He went 12-11 and put up 5,403 yards, 38 touchdowns and just 9 interceptions. Needless to say, the Goff we saw back in 2018 was back and possibly better, and he didn’t have an offensive mastermind helping him along the way. Not only did he prove a multitude of doubters wrong, he made the trade with the Rams an almost equal win-win trade in hindsight.

In this upcoming season, Goff will once again have Amon-Ra St.Brown at his disposal, and if the latter stays healthy, these two will be the scariest Lions duo since Stafford and Megatron. The Lions are hoping to transition into Super Bowl contention, and having a quarterback like Goff is really going to help them.

2. Justin Fields
Ok, ok hear me out. Yes, I’m a Bears fan. Yes, Fields is 5-20. Yes, he still has a lot to prove as a passer. But with all that comes a multitude of positives. He is currently the best running quarterback in the NFL. He has shown out in training camp so far with his new weapons. And he is playing behind a better offensive line.

Fields was drafted in 2021 after the Bears traded up to the 11th overall pick to select who they believed was their future. His first year was so-so. He had some good moments but ultimately was held back by a bad coach putting him in an offense that he didn’t fit in. With a new offensive coordinator the next year, he had a better season. He proved that even with subpar receivers he could put up solid passing stats, and his dual threat capabilities were shown off fully.

Fields comes into the 2023 season with a more well rounded roster around him and an offense that he actually fits in. With all these factors being considered, Fields is bound for a true breakout season. He has promised to become the Bears first 4000 yard passer as soon as this season, but even if that doesn’t happen he is bound for great success this season. Doubt now, but he will finish the season as the second best QB in the division and will take first place in the years to come.

3. Kirk Cousins
Oh boy, I’m gonna be in trouble. Now I want to make one thing clear. During the 2022 season Kirk was the best quarterback in the division no doubt. But this article largely considers how I personally believe these quarterbacks will perform in the 2023 season. This isn’t a week 1 ranking that I will change throughout the season or anything like that. It is simply my projection.

With that said I will now explain why I believe Kirk is gonna have one of the worst years of his career. Besides his first year with the Vikings in 2018, Kirk has played well and has statistically been one of the better QBs over the past 4 years. However, I believe that streak of consistent good play is going to end soon. First and foremost, he’s getting older. Kirk is 34 years old going into this season. NFL History has proven that unless you are an elite quarterback, most quarterbacks start to decline at this age. In fact, Kirk started to decline last year, having a significantly worse season statistically than his 2020 and 2021 campaigns. But historical trends don’t prove much about a singular player. So what else does Kirk have against him? Well, going back to his 2022 season, it wasn’t anything special from a statistical standpoint, but his late game antics gained him recognition as he led numerous game winning drives last season on route to a NFC North championship and a home playoff game, one they would ultimately lose to the Giants. Rather than statistical glory, his clutch factor is what made him special in the 2022 season. But it should be noted that the Vikings as a whole got very lucky in many of these scenarios. The Bills fumbling on the 1 yard line, the Patriots getting robbed of a touchdown, and the Colts choking the biggest lead in NFL History were just a few among many instances in which the Vikings were saved from imminent defeat. It would take a miracle for such luck to befall this team back to back seasons. And given that his stats aren’t looking like they are going to improve, all signs point to a worse season for Kirk.

Kirk is good, but he isn’t great and he isn’t going to change that this season. The reason people see Kirk as one of the more mundane QBs in the league is because even though he can make the most of the situations given to him, he really isn’t a playmaker who can get himself out of a mess without extra help. He’s just a solid NFL QB, but Goff and Fields are simply better. And they are going to surpass him this season.

4. Jordan Love
I mean, do I have to explain this? Jordan Love is the youngest, most inexperienced and unproven quarterback on this list by a long shot. He has played in three games throughout his three year career, playing horribly in the first two and then playing pretty well in his most recent appearance during the 2022 season. Still, he hasn’t done enough in preseason games and camps to prove that he can really surpass any of the guys above him in just one season. He is part of one of the best QB classes of all time, yet unlike his peers he doesn’t bring much explosiveness, and the Packers offense will likely not focus on him as much as they will on Aaron Jones. Everyone reading this knew Love would land at last.

But hating on him would be too easy. So I’m going to do something else. We all know he is likely gonna be the worst QB in the division this season, so I will take a bit to examine what he does well and how he can disprove the masses and have a really great season.

In the 2022 season, he would appear significantly in a game against the eventual NFC Champion Eagles. Considering his abysmal appearances vs the Chiefs and Lions the prior season, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that he would exhibit subpar play once again. However, he impressed, showing off a connection with then rookie WR Christian Watson. Now they have a whole season together and long with fellow young receiver Romeo Doubs, they can both help further Love’s development in a quick manner.

He also sat behind one of the greatest QBs to walk the earth in Aaron Rodgers for 3 seasons, so who knows what he learned from him? Chances are that if he really picked up a lot from Rodgers during his two MVP seasons, he could perform in the clutch similar to the 10-time pro-bowler. And given that he has a phenomenal running back in Aaron Jones by his side, he will have some breathing room to learn in his inaugural season as the Packers starting quarterback. We also can’t forget that his coach, Matt Lafleur, contributed to some of Rodgers best seasons. If things go right, he can really turn Jordan Love into a consistent starter for years to come.

Love is worse than Goff, Fields and Cousins by a lot but it doesn’t mean he completely sucks. He will likely have a tough time this year but it is just a developmental year for him after all, and in a matter of years he could have the Packers back in contention.

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