When it comes to QBs, Bears bring up the rear in NFC North
Welcome to our 10-part series in which we rank the four NFC North clubs at every position.
Rankings are based on performance to date, scouting reports and a consensus of evaluations from general managers, coaches and scouts around the NFL.
1. Green Bay Packers A+: Aaron Rodgers isn't just the best quarterback in the NFC North today; he is one of the NFL's best of all time.
Rodgers' all-time passer rating of 102.4 is the best in NFL history, with Seattle's Russell Wilson's 101.2 the only other QB with a rating over 100.
He also boasts an impeccable 364-to-84 touchdown to interception ratio and a starter record of 123-68-1, .643.
Rodgers has struggled just a bit in recent seasons with Tom Brady (. 769), Russell Wilson (. 668) and Ben Roethlisberger (. 665) all boasting better win percentages among active QB's with more than 50 wins, but a number of our evaluators chalked that up to the Packers recent shortcomings in surrounding him with sufficient weapons.
Rodgers is one of the most accurate passers in NFL history and one of the best at extending plays and turning losses into big gains.
2. Detroit Lions B+: Matthew Stafford is arguably one of the more underrated players in the game, has the biggest arm in the division and could be an elite quarterback with more talent around him.
Since making him the first player drafted in the 2009 NFL College Draft, Stafford has thrown for 41,025 yards (18th NFL history), 256 touchdowns, 134 interceptions, piloted 34 game-winning drives and 28 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins.
He had a streak of 136 consecutive starts over 8 ½ years halted at the midway point of last season.
But the Lions have managed just four winning seasons in Stafford's 11 years with the team and his record as a starter is 69-82 -- 1, .457
3. Minnesota Vikings B: Kirk Cousins has built a reputation as one of the NFL's more productive quarterbacks in most games, but one who struggles badly in big games.
His 96.8 career passer rating is actually seventh in NFL History and he has gone 18-12-1 the last two seasons in Minnesota, but he was 26-30-1 over his first six years in the league in Washington.
Cousins was outstanding in an upset win over the Saints in the wild card round last season. His two worst games were against the Packers in Weeks 2 and 17 which cost the Vikings the division title. Two of his three worst 2018 games were against the Bears when they were division champs.
He possesses all the physical traits you look for but has failed to show up more often than not when the game's been on his shoulders.
4. Bears C: Mitch Trubisky actually has the second best won-loss record among NFC North starters at 23-19, .548, and he is 8-3 vs. the North over the last two seasons, but his 85.8 career passer rating and 48-to-29 touchdown to interception ratio are disappointing at best after he was drafted ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
Trubisky's numbers after three seasons are much better than those of Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning were after their first three seasons, and he has shown flashes of the player the Bears hoped they were getting. His accuracy runs hot and cold, his mechanics can be inconsistent and he still doesn't read or see the field as well as his three division opponents.
Quarterback depth: 1. Bears 2. Lions 3. Vikings 4. Packers
Before you argue this is misleading because Nick Foles will or should be the starter ... even if he was and Trubisky was the backup, Foles ranks behind Rodgers, Stafford and Cousins, and Trubisky is a runaway choice over Chase Daniels (Lions), Sean Mannion (Vkings) or Tim Boyle and Jordan Love (Packers).
If the Packers and Vikings are serious about Super Bowl runs this year they are clearly playing with fire should Rodgers or Cousins get hurt.
The fact Cousins hasn't missed a game due to injury in five seasons and Rodgers played all 16 games in six of the last eight seasons -- he missed seven in 2013 and nine in 2017 -- apparently gives the Vikings and Packers comfort because neither is a playoff contender without their starter.