Chris Farley highlights the premier bets of Week 18, including two bets on highly motivated teams playing with postseason implications on the line, and two teasers he feels are sure to hit.
Former NFL quarterback Matt Cassel played with seven teams in his career, most notably for the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. His weekly QB rankings are a snapshot of where the league’s 32 current starters are right now.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Team Record: 12-3 | QBR: 78.7 | Touchdowns: 37 | Last Week’s Rank: 2
Comment: His 4,720 passing yards and 37 TDs both lead the league giving “Magic Mahomes” a slim lead in the MVP race and the top spot in these rankings.
2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Team Record: 12-3 | QBR: 70.5 | Touchdowns: 32 | Last Week’s Rank: 1
Comment: After taking the top spot last week, a couple of picks on Christmas Eve against the Bears bumped him behind Mahomes. He still showed the grit we all love in rough conditions, allowing the Bills to claim their third-straight AFC East title.
3. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Team Record: 11-4 | QBR: 61.3 | Touchdowns: 34 | Last Week’s Rank: 4
Comment: Burrow put the Bengals on his back by throwing 52 times in a hard-fought win over the Patriots last week. The Bengals have now won seven-straight games and are in the driver’s seat for the AFC North crown.
4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Team Record: 13-2 | QBR: 68.7 | Touchdowns: 22 | Last Week’s Rank: 3
Comment: Hurts is still banged up, but his 2022 resume is still too good for him not to be in my top 10. There’s a chance he plays this week against the Saints, but because there’s some uncertainty, I’ve included Gardner Minshew later on in these rankings too.
5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Team Record: 9-6 | QBR: 56 | Touchdowns: 21 | Last Week’s Rank: 5
Comment: Although the Chargers have clinched a playoff spot, Herbert has shown some cracks in the armor during the past two weeks, with QB ratings of 68.8 and 84.7, respectively. He will need some more consistency in this week’s matchup against the Rams.
6. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Team Record: 12-3 | QBR: 51 | Touchdowns: 27 | Last Week’s Rank: 6
Comment: Cousins has 13 TDs vs. just three picks during his past five games, and the Vikings are 12-3. The early-season doubters have to give Cousins credit at this point.
7. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 56.7 | Touchdowns: 24 | Last Week’s Rank: 8
Comment: Lawrence might be the hottest QB in the league right now. He’s got the upstart Jaguars just one win away from being AFC South champions and getting Jacksonville to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. He’ll have a chance to secure that win against the Titans in Week 18.
8. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 61.8 | Touchdowns: 26 | Last Week’s Rank: 7
Comment: Goff and the Lions couldn’t beat the Panthers, but his stats still proved he had a strong game. He finished with 355 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions last week. It showed off the skillset Goff has brought to the table all season long.
9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 39.5 | Touchdowns: 24 | Last Week’s Rank: 10
Comment: Rodgers propelled the Packers to a tough win vs. the Dolphins last week. Green Bay needs some help getting a playoff spot but kudos to an all-time great for having this squad in the hunt after a rough start to the season.
10. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 63.4 | Touchdowns: 27 | Last Week’s Rank: 7
Comment: The QB darling of the season’s first half has hit a second-half slump. Smith needs a big performance in arguably the biggest game of his career on New Year’s Day against his former squad, the Jets, to keep Seattle’s playoff chances intact.
11. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Team Record: 11-4 | QBR: 60.2 | Touchdowns: 20 | Last Week’s Rank: 14
Comment: They may not catch the Eagles in the standings, but Prescott made a huge statement by taking down Philly in a huge rivalry game last weekend.
12. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 49.4 | Touchdowns: 21 | Last Week’s Rank: 11
Comment: Everyone’s saying, “what’s wrong with Brady?” Well, he’s still third in the league in passing yards and has his team in a position to win the NFC South. Most QBs would kill to be having that “bad” of a season.
13. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Team Record: 3-12 | QBR: 55.4 | Touchdowns: 16 | Last Week’s Rank: 13
Comment: The Bears are 3-12 but can play big-time spoilers down the stretch with divisional games against the Lions and Vikings remaining. Fields’ running ability and downfield passing prowess make him a defensive coordinator’s nightmare.
14. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Team Record: 11-4 | QBR: 67 | Touchdowns: 8 | Last Week’s Rank: 16
Comment: The darling of the second half keeps rolling. Purdy helped the 49ers easily handle the Commanders and kept their unlikely shot at the No. 1 seed alive. Can he keep the Cinderella story going?
15. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Team Record: 8-6-1 | QBR: 56.8 | Touchdowns: 13 | Last Week’s Rank: 15
Comment: The team has only won one of their last six, but Jones has continued to be a positive for them. Jones completed a season-high 30 passes and threw for a season-high 334 yards in New York’s last-second loss to the Vikings on Saturday.
16. Baker Mayfield, Los Angeles Rams
Team Record: 5-10 | QBR: 27.1 | Touchdowns: 10 | Last Week’s Rank: 22
Comment: Mayfield played at a high level on Christmas Day as he helped the Rams post 51 points, completing 24-of-28 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
17. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Team Record: 6-9 | QBR: 58.9 | Touchdowns: 4 | Last Week’s Rank: 23
Comment: Despite being the Panthers’ third starting quarterback this season, Darnold has helped Carolina leap into the NFC South Champion conversation by protecting the football with zero turnovers. If the Panthers win out, they’ll win the NFC South.
18. Mike White, New York Jets
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 48.4 | Touchdowns: 3 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Coming off his rib injury, he will need to be strong as New York looks to keep its season alive. The Jets are benching Zach Wilson for White again, leaving the door open for White to assert himself as the team’s long-term starter.
19. Teddy Bridgewater, Miami Dolphins
Team Record: 8-7 | QBR: 53.4 | Touchdowns: 3 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Bridgewater is likely filling in for Tua Tagovailoa this week after he suffered a concussion against the Packers. Bridgewater is 0-2 in games he’s started and finished this season, so he’ll have to come up big in a game with huge playoff implications against the Patriots.
20. Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles
Team Record: 13-2 | QBR: 69.5 | Touchdowns: 2 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Minshew nearly went into Dallas and almost beat the Cowboys but fell just short. He still managed to score 34 points and give the Eagles a legitimate chance to win.
21. Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders
Team Record: 7-7-1 | QBR: 32.6 | Touchdowns: 11 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Wentz looked good in his 19 snaps on Saturday, going 12/16 with one touchdown. He’ll get a chance to prove it wasn’t just a flash in the pan against the Browns with Washington’s playoff hopes on the line.
22. Andy Dalton, New Orleans Saints
Team Record: 6-9 | QBR: 52.4 | Touchdowns: 17 | Last Week’s Rank: 20
Comment: Dalton got the win in blistering-cold Cleveland conditions despite failing to post 100 yards passing last week. The win kept the Saints alive in the NFC South race.
23. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Team Record: 4-11 | QBR: 35.1 | Touchdowns: 12 | Last Week’s Rank: 21
Comment: Wilson’s three interceptions didn’t help in the Rams’ thumping of the Broncos. He will look to improve in 2023 with a new head coach after the team fired Nathaniel Hackett on Monday.
24. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 46.8 | Touchdowns: 5 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: Pickett’s ball security has consistently improved this season. He has just one turnover since Week 9, and he kept Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive with a come-from-behind victory against Las Vegas.
25. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: 32.3 | Touchdowns: 9 | Last Week’s Rank: 30
Comment: Jones’ 240-yard, two-touchdown performance was nearly enough to top Cincinnati in a dramatic comeback. Jones has an opportunity to vault the Patriots into the playoff picture with a win against the Dolphins on Sunday.
26. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
Team Record: 6-9 | QBR: 37.3 | Touchdowns: 2 | Last Week’s Rank: 25
Comment: Watson hasn’t found his form from two years ago yet, as he completed less than 50% of his passes on Christmas Eve. If Watson can’t return to form in the final two games, there will be a lot of questions circling the Browns this offseason.
27. Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens
Team Record: 10-5 | QBR: 36 | Touchdowns: 1 | Last Week’s Rank: 27
Comment: Coach John Harbaugh indicated there’s a chance Lamar Jackson returns this week. If he doesn’t, Huntley did play well enough to help Baltimore get a win against Atlanta, but the offense has posted less than 12 points in the four games where he’s played the majority of the QB snaps.
28. Colt McCoy, Arizona Cardinals
Team Record: 4-11 | QBR: 39.2 | Touchdowns: 1 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: McCoy returns to the lineup after missing one game with a concussion. The veteran signal-caller gives the Cardinals a little more stability than what they got from Trace McSorley in his first start.
29. Nick Foles, Indianapolis Colts
Team Record: 4-10-1 | QBR: 3.4 | Touchdowns: 0 | Last Week’s Rank: 29
Comment: Foles became the third Colts quarterback to make a start this season on Monday night. He finished with an abysmal three-interception performance, leaving the Colts with just three points in their loss to the Chargers.
30. Davis Mills, Houston Texans
Team Record: 2-12-1 | QBR: 33.2 | Touchdowns: 13 | Last Week’s Rank: 28
Comment: Mills and the Texans ended a nine-game losing streak by upsetting the Titans this past week. It marks Houston’s second win of the season. They’re likely a team already looking toward the 2022 NFL Draft for their next quarterback.
31. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Team Record: 5-10 | QBR: 42.2 | Touchdowns: 0 | Last Week’s Rank: 31
Comment: The good news is Ridder hasn’t had a turnover in his young NFL career. The bad news is he hasn’t accounted for a touchdown, either. Atlanta has dropped two-straight one-possession games with Ridder at the helm.
32. Josh Dobbs, Tennessee Titans
Team Record: 7-8 | QBR: N/A | Touchdowns: 0 | Last Week’s Rank: N/A
Comment: The Titans made the late decision to bench Malik Willis in favor of Dobbs for their Thursday night battle with the Cowboys. Dobbs hasn’t played in a regular-season NFL game since 2020, so it’s hard to rank him any higher.