The NFL schedule-makers blessed football fans with a loaded Week 1 schedule. With several playoff teams facing off against each other — several in prime time, no less — there's plenty to look forward to all week.
Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield facing their former teams should be exciting, but nobody wants to watch Geno Smith and Jacoby Brissett go up against them. Along those same lines, Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins may pile up massive yardage totals, but they don't even crack the five most interesting quarterback matchups of Week 1. Let that be a sign of good things to come this weekend.
With that in mind, let's break down the top quarterback matchups of the season's opening week.
Top 5 Quarterback Matchups of Week 1
5. Justin Herbert vs. Derek Carr
These signal-callers have some shared history after their Week 18 matchup last week that kept the Chargers out of the playoffs. And you can expect a lot of yards. Both finished in the top five in passing yards last season (Herbert: 5,014; Carr: 4,804), although Carr ranks a bit lower in QBR (52.4, 14th). With the Raiders bringing in an offensive-minded head coach in Josh McDaniels as well as Davante Adams, this has the potential to be a really high-scoring affair.
4. Trey Lance vs. Justin Fields
Sure, both quarterbacks had completion rates under 60 percent last season, but this game will be a great gauge of which 2021 first-rounder might break out first. They both display dual-threat skills, although Lance has the benefit of a much better offensive line and skill position players. It may not be a pretty game, but this will be fascinating from a scouting perspective.
3. Josh Allen vs. Matthew Stafford
The top three matchups on this list are all impressive, but this one comes in third because Stafford is the worst of the six. Although he led the league with 17 interceptions last season, he still finished fourth in QBR (63.8) and sixth in passer rating (102.9). As for Allen, he's the MVP favorite for a reason and has a pair of new weapons in rookie running back James Cook and free-agent addition Jamison Crowder.
2. Tom Brady vs. Dak Prescott
There’s a bit of a question about which Brady will show up after he missed 11 days of training camp. But even an 80 percent Brady will be effective against a fairly porous secondary. Prescott may still be looking for postseason success, but he can absolutely sling it and should be able to go toe-to-toe with Touchdown Tom.
1. Patrick Mahomes vs. Kyler Murray
These quarterbacks have more than $300 million guaranteed to them, and they probably deserve even more. Mahomes’ excellence has been taken for granted at this point — it’s a down year when he only throws for 4,839 yards and 37 touchdowns. Murray remains one of the league’s most electric runners and is an excellent passer (57.3 QBR, 7th) despite the lack of team success. Few games will have a better QB matchup all season than this.
Related: NFL Quarterback Rankings for 2022