Is Joe Burrow the best quarterback in the AFC North division? We analyze the QB competition in the Cincinnati Bengals’ division.
The Cincinnati Bengals are the feel-good story coming out of Ohio at the moment. They are still standing in the 2022/2023 after that memorable Super Bowl appearance last season. Can they make it to Super Bowl 57?
Looking back to Super Bowl 56, while Cincy did lose, one of the main reasons they made it to the Bowl was down to quarterback Joe Burrow. He came back after tearing his ACL and led the team to one of their best seasons ever.
So, how does Burrow compare to the other quarterbacks in the AFC North Division? Is Joe Burrow the best QB in AFC North? Let’s take a look.
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The Competition: AFC North Quarterbacks
To get an idea of the quarterback strength in the AFC North division, we’ve taken a look at stats from Week 1 to Week 4 of the 2022/2023 NFL season. Here are our findings:
|Player||Team||Statistics (as of Week 4 of the 2022-23 NFL season)|
|Joe Burrow||Cincinnati Bengals||1,099 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 64.1% completion rate. 9 designed carries, 79 yards, 3 fumbles|
|Lamar Jackson||Baltimore Ravens||893 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 65% completion rate. 25 designed carries, 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 fumble.|
|Jacoby Brissett||Cleveland Browns||830 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 64.6% completion rate. 9 designed carries, 80 yards, 1 touchdown.|
|Mitchell Trubisky (benched in Week 4)||Pittsburgh Steelers||653 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 59.5% completion rate. 3 designed carries, 34 yards, 1 touchdown.|
|Kenny Pickett||Pittsburgh Steelers||120 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 76.9% completion rate. 3 designed carries, 15 yards, 2 touchdowns.|
Mitchell Trubisky & Kenny Pickett
Here, we’ll look at the quarterbacks we can immediately rule out of this competition against Burrow. That would be Brissett and the tandem of Trubisky and Pickett.
While Pickett had three interceptions, it’s worth noting that none were his fault. However, it’s too early in the rookie’s career to tell. As the Steelers starter, Trubisky struggled to get anything moving on offense and still completed less than 60% of his passes.
According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky graded out as the #11 overall passer with a 69.5 grade. Interestingly, this is higher than Burrow. He sat at #17 with a 65.0 grade.
Still, when push comes to shove, we’d easily take Burrow over Trubisky and Pickett. Looking back at the season from now, Burrow is the man you want.
Looking at this season alone, it’s closer than you’d think. Brissett ranks as the No. 8 passer in the league.
Burrow hasn’t been super clean with the ball. He has eight turnover-worthy plays and has an average depth of target of just eight yards despite his plethora of weapons. Brissett has half the turnover-worthy plays Burrow does and has an average depth of target similar to his at 7.9 yards.
Brissett is much more conservative, but he’s taking care of the ball, throwing just two interceptions all year.
He had a fantastic game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who picked off Burrow four times. He had 220 yards on 21 completions in that game for two touchdowns.
Burrow’s pedigree and track record give him the edge. Still, one could argue Brissett has simply been the better quarterback this season.
If not for several injuries to the Ravens in 2021-22, including Lamar Jackson, who knows that would have happened playoffs-wise for them and the Bengals?
Nonetheless, Burrow is the second-best quarterback in the division, behind Jackson.
Besides that, Jackson had three straight games of three or more passing touchdowns, and he adds so much with his legs, scoring on the ground twice. However, Burrow showed in the Wild Card Round that he still reigns supreme.
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Joe Burrow Conclusion
So, is Joe Burrow the best QB in the AFC North division?
Burrow and the Bengals are now on their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl if they can get past the Kansas City Chiefs. They got past them last year, so why can’t they do it again?
In our eyes, Burrow isn’t yet the best quarterback in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson represents the one hurdle to being the best in this division. But, there’s still plenty of time in Burrow’s career to become the main man. A Super Bowl victory this season might just settle the debate for now.