If you haven’t heard, this is a slow time in the NFL. So here is a ranking of the divisions based quarterback and head coach combos.
The quarterback is arguably the most important position in any sport. For a team like the New England Patriots, they have been lucky enough have the same guy slinging the rock for two decades at a legendary level.
Incredibly, New England has also enjoyed perhaps the greatest coach of all-time during the same stretch. Currently, there is no doubt Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the NFL’s best combo, but what about the rest of the division? Where does it stack up with the rest of the NFL?
8. AFC East
New England Patriots: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady
New York Jets: Adam Gase and Sam Darnold
Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores and Ryan Fitzpatrick/Josh Rosen
Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott and Josh Allen
While the AFC East does have Brady and Belichick, the rest of the division is unproven. Darnold presents a ton of upside, but Gase doesn’t have the greatest track record. Flores is a first-year head coach and Rosen has the tools, but hasn’t shown he is going to be a franchise quarterback. Bills Mafia is hopeful that Allen is the next Jim Kelly, but he needs to show tremendous growth in his passing ability in year two to prove he’s the future.
7. NFC East
Philadelphia Eagles: Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz
Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott
Washington Redskins: Jay Gruden and Dwyane Haskins
New York Giants: Pat Shurmur and Eli Manning/Daniel Jones
The NFC East was very close to having the worst combinations, but edged out the AFC East. The Giants have the worst situation in the NFL with their combination, although the Eagles and Cowboys both have very good options at QB. In Philadelphia, Pederson has already shown he is an elite-level head coach.
The Redskins are the wild card. Jay Gruden has shown the ability to be a good play-caller and Haskins has the talent to be a good starter in the NFL.
6. AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes
Los Angeles Chargers: Anthony Lynn and Philip Rivers
Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio and Joe Flacco/Drew Lock
Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden and Derek Carr
The AFC west enjoys the reigning NFL MVP in Patrick Mahomes and one of the most innovative offensive play callers in Andy Reid. In addition to that, they have potential Hall of Famer Philip Rivers. Anthony Lynn has also shown to be a good NFL head coach.
After that, though, the rest of the division is lackluster. Fangio is a first-time head coach, but has shown he can create elite defenses. Unfortunately, he’s tied to Joe Flacco. Gruden is still an OK play-caller, but Carr hasn’t shown to be anything more than an average quarterback.
5. AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger
Cleveland Browns: Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield
Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson
Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor and Andy Dalton
Mayfield is the best quarterback in this division, but is paired with a rookie head coach. I still give the slight edge to the Steelers as far as the combo goes in the division. Tomlin and Roethlisberger have been a staple in the north and can never be counted out in the AFC. Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL, but will need to continue to develop Jackson’s passing ability if the Ravens want to win the division again.
In Cincinnati, the Bengals finally moved on from Marvin Lewis and plucked Taylor off the Sean McVay coaching tree. He will pair up with Dalton who has been an average quarterback throughout his career. It will be interesting to see what Taylor can do with that offense, which seems to have some weapons, if he can get Dalton going.
4. AFC South
Indianapolis Colts: Frank Reich and Andrew Luck
Houston Texans: Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson
Tennessee Titans: Mike Vrabel and Marcus Mariota
Jacksonville Jaguars: Doug Marrone and Nick Foles
Reich and Luck is a top-four combination in the entire NFL. Watson is one of the best 10-12 quarterbacks in the NFL. After that, the rest of the division is solid. Vrabel has been able to create a good defense in Tennessee, finishing third in scoring defense last year. Foles has shown he can win in the NFL on the biggest stage. Mariota is solid. Nothing great, but solid.
3. NFC West
Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson
Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay and Jared Goff
San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo
Arizona Cardinals: Kilff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray
The NFC West contains two of the best play-callers in all the NFL in McVay and Shanahan. McVay has already shown his ability to lead and NFL franchise to the Super Bowl. Shanahan is paired up with a healthy Garoppolo and this combo has shown a ton of upside before Garoppolo’s knee injury.
Carroll and Wilson have already been to multiple Super Bowls and are always ready to compete, even if they do have one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. The group I am most excited about and has a ton of potential are the rookies in Arizona. Kingsbury comes in from college where he was putting up a ton of points every game with Texas Tech and Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy with the Oklahoma Sooners. They could be a scary combo for years to come.
2. NFC North
Green Bay Packers: Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers
Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky
Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer and Kirk Cousins
Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia and Matt Stafford
After Mahomes, Rodgers is still, arguably, the most-talented quarterback in the NFL. He has been banged up the past few years, but will hopefully be coming in to next year healthy and with a new offense under LaFleur.
The rest of the division is solid. Nagy is from the Andy Reid tree and a great innovator on the offensive side of the ball. Trubisky is a great pairing with him due to his athleticism. Zimmer is tough and has built a nasty defense in Minnesota. Cousins has performed solidily with two great wide receivers to throw too. The Lions are on the lower end of the division, but Stafford is solid and Patricia should be better in his second year as a head coach.
1. NFC South
New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton and Drew Brees
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera and Cam Newton
Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bruce Arians and Jameis Winston
Top to bottom, the NFC South has the best combinations of quarterbacks and head coaches in the NFL. At the top are Payton and Brees. They exude consistency and dominance on the offensive side of the ball. Also, a Super Bowl-winning combo.
Carolina’s biggest concern is Newton’s health. If he’s right, the Panthers could be a team to watch. They have surrounded Newton with weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Also, you know that Rivera won’t be afraid to take some gambles in close games.
Quinn and Ryan are coming off a disappointing season last year after finishing 7-9. However, the defense was riddled with injuries. If healthy, they could be right back in the mix in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay was able to lure Arians out of retirement and pair him up with Winston. Only the Chiefs had threw for more yards per attempt than the Buccaneers in 2018 and Arians is bringing in a vertical passing game that had great success when he was with the Cardinals. This could be a fun pairing. Arians will have to limit Winston’s turnovers to unlock his full potential.