Ranking Opposing Quarterbacks Seahawks Will Face in 2020
The Seahawks boast arguably the best quarterback in football in Russell Wilson. Consequently, this results in some epic battles pitting the six-time Pro Bowler with other top signal callers for opposing teams.
Consistently on prime time television much thanks to Wilson's ever-growing stardom, Seattle will have four games under the lights this fall, with three of them coming at CenturyLink Field.
Gearing up for the season, let's rank all 13 quarterbacks Wilson will duel against in 2020 and see how they stack up against one another.
13. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins (Week 15)
After a flip-flopping between Haskins and Case Keenum earlier in the year, the Redskins finally gave the former Ohio State Buckeye the reins as he started seven of the final eight games of the 2019 season.
The results were certainly a mixed bag at best for Haskins, who posted a respectable 85.5 passer rating in his final seven starts after throwing four interceptions in just 22 attempts in his first two games.
Heading into 2020, the job is Haskins' to lose, barring a push by former Panthers starter Kyle Allen. With only seven starts under his belt, the league still knows very little about the former Buckeye star. Given that he does not have high-class weapons at his disposal in the passing game, we may not know his full potential for some time.
With a new coaching staff led by Ron Rivera, it's quite possible Haskins will rise up this list before the two sides meet in late December.
12. Sam Darnold, New York Jets (Week 14)
Even with two full seasons under his belt, Darnold has yet to meet the expectations that come with being the third overall pick as he was in 2018. Some blame can be directed at the coaching staff and lack of depth at receiver, but sooner or later, Darnold will have to answer for those expectations, fair or not.
With an 81.1 passer rating and almost 6,000 yards to his name in two seasons, Darnold has shown flashes of his top-three pick potential. Last season, the former USC Trojan posted better than a 110.0 passer rating in three games, including a sparkling performance against the Raiders when he threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns, posting a 127.8 rating.
Seemingly with every stellar performance, a dud followed. The 22-year old hit rock bottom when he and the Jets were shutout by the Patriots 33-0 while Darnold completed just 11 passes for 86 yards and committed a whopping five turnovers.
With a few more weapons in the holster heading into 2020, the hope is that Darnold will even out and become what the Jets have lacked for a decade as a true franchise quarterback.
11. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Week 9)
This may seem low for a quarterback who led his team to 10 wins and a playoff spot last season. However, the Bills were boosted by their defense, which ranked second in the NFL, while Allen and the offense ranked 23rd.
The Wyoming product had his share of solid games, including beating the Cowboys on the road on Thanksgiving Day with over 270 total yards, two touchdowns, and a 120.7 rating. The 24-year old finished his second season in the NFL with an 85.3 rating (24th among qualified quarterbacks), 3,089 yards, and 20 passing touchdowns.
Allen separated himself as a runner as well, with 510 yards and a nine touchdowns, the latter being more than the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson.
Buffalo acquired former Minnesota standout receiver Stefon Diggs in March, who finished his second consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2019, thus giving Allen a premier weapon on the outside.
Much like his fellow signal callers down on this list, Allen's biggest struggle has been consistency. He has the potential to become a star in 2020 if he can take that next step, especially with a shiny new toy like Diggs.
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (Week 4)
The bearded journeyman signal caller looks to be the starter in Miami heading into the season. It's unlikely it will last the whole season, as the Dolphins are eager to play their star rookie Tua Tagovailoa, whom they picked with the fifth overall selection in April's draft.
Fitzpatrick, despite being 37 years old, has put together a few solid seasons during his time in Florida, be it with the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay or with Miami. In 29 games over the last three seasons, the Harvard grad possesses an 89.6 passer rating and has thrown 44 passing touchdowns.
The Arizona native certainly is not the long term answer for any team these days as he approaches 40 years old, but he still has a few tricks up his magic sleeves.
The Dolphins are optimistic that the 2020 campaign will be more competitive than their 5-11 season last year. Fitzpatrick will fill in until Tagovailoa is healthy enough to take over as he recovers from a serious hip injury suffered during his final season at Alabama.
Don't count out Fitzpatrick as a threat just because of his age and the subpar season Miami had in 2019. This will be a different squad when Seattle comes to town.
9. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (Week 13)
Despite two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning still being on the roster, the Giants could not keep Jones off of the field for long. After the Giants shocked many by taking the former Duke signal caller with the sixth overall pick, he took over starting duties in Week 3.
In his first career start, he immediately showed that he belonged on the field, with 336 passing yards and four total touchdowns, including two on the ground. The 23-year old posted a rating better than 112.0 in four games in 2019. He showed an ability to lead and make plays when needed.
The Giants did not add any significant weapons this offseason, but they used their fourth overall pick in April to add protection for Jones in right tackle Andrew Thomas.
Jones enters 2020 with a completely new coaching staff, which could send his career into either direction. If things click, he can become the best quarterback from the 2019 draft class. If not, it could be another long season for the G-Men.
8. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (Week 10, Week 16)
Had this list been made before the 2019 season, Goff would likely have been in the top three. Last year saw the former No. 1 overall pick look average after such a stellar 2018 campaign, however.
In 2018, when the Cal product led the Rams to an NFC title and a Super Bowl appearance, he threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns with a 101.1 rating against 12 interceptions. Last season, he turned in a mediocre performance compared to the standards he set the year before, throwing for a still solid 4,638 yards but with just 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Goff's 86.5 passer rating in 2019 was exceeded by the aforementioned Jones and ranked 22nd among qualified signal callers.
A variety of explanations can be made for his pedestrian year, from defenses catching up to Sean McVay's complicated offense to the health of the offensive line and receivers to Goff feeling fat and happy with a four-year, $134 million extension in tow prior to last season.
Expectations are now tempered heading into the 2020 season for the two-time Pro Bowler. Gone is former NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley as well as receiver Brandin Cooks, with unproven rookies expected to replace them as his primary weapons alongside Cooper Kupp.
This is a critical year for the Rams, who jettisoned star players with heavy contracts and now must start a new era with Goff being the face of the offense, for better or for worse.
7. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (Week 7, Week 11)
Being the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft certainly came with lofty expectations for Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. The Texas A&M-turned-Oklahoma product had his share of doubters due to his 5-foot-10 frame and video-game approach to his college game.
For the most part, Murray delivered on those standards and silenced the doubters as best he could with limited resources around him and a putrid defense as support. He amassed 3,722 passing yards and 544 rushing yards with 24 total touchdowns and an 87.4 passer rating (21st in the NFL).
Though the Cardinals struggled mightily for most of the year, coach Kliff Kingsbury and his star pupil won two of their final three contests, including delivering a sucker punch to the playoff-bound Seahawks in Seattle.
Murray went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year and set up an exciting 2020 campaign with one of the splashiest acquisitions of the entire offseason by tradng for All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
In Hopkins, along with future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and an improving Christian Kirk, Murray possesses one of the best arsenals in the NFL. Heading into the second year of the marriage between Murray and Kingsbury, expect the numbers to improve all around, making Arizona a dangerous underdog.
6. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (Week 8, Week 17)
Many pundits are quick to point out that "Jimmy G" excels at just one thing: checking down to easy, short passes and letting his defense carry him.
It will take a long time for him to shake off that label, which was exacerbated by the crushing Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs last February when Garoppolo failed to take control of the game and lead his team to victory.
However, there is much more to the story. It's hard to argue against winning and the former Eastern Illinois signal caller has done plenty of that in parts of three seasons by the bay. He is 19-5 as the 49ers starter in the regular season and won his first two playoff games before Super Bowl LIV.
Garoppolo's 102.0 passer rating in 2019 was eighth-best in the league, better than Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Aaron Rodgers. He amassed 3,978 yards and 27 passing touchdowns along the way. He did all this while averaging 8.4 yards per attempt, which was third-best in the league, and ranking sixth in yards per completion (12.1), a rebuttal to his doubters who have dubbed him "Captain Checkdown."
Part of Garoppolo's favorable numbers can be accredited to the tutelage of Kyle Shanahan and his offense in San Francisco, which sets Garoppolo up for success.
While he is certainly not the most explosive, gun-slinging quarterback Seattle will face in 2020, the system in which he resides poses a real danger and will allow him to put up optimal numbers once more.
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Week 3)
Prescott enters 2020 hungry for a big, new deal from Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. If he doesn't get it by the start of the season, it might fuel the fire for an impressive season.
The former Mississippi State product has two Pro Bowls under his belt, yet Prescott is still doubted by many. His biggest knock is his perceived inability to win the big games, going 27-21 in the last three seasons with one playoff win in four years.
After last year, the list of doubters thinned considerably, as he flirted with 5,000 passing yards (4,902 to be exact, second in the NFL) along with 30 passing touchdowns and three on the ground. He also registered a 99.7 passer rating, good enough for 10th in the NFL last season.
The 26-year old seems to be getting better every season, making his ceiling still unclear. This season, he has the potential to reach new heights thanks to Dallas bringing back four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper along with using a first round pick on Oklahoma standout CeeDee Lamb.
Whether he gets paid before the season or is forced to play out his franchise tag, Prescott will enter the year highly motivated. Do not discount the coaching change with Mike McCarthy now at the helm, who has guided quarterbacks such as Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
With a strong 2020, Prescott will make this ranking look like a slight.
4. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (Week 12)
Wentz might be the most hard-luck case in the NFL right now. Three times out of his four seasons, the Eagles have made the playoffs, including winning Super Bowl LII after the 2017 campaign. Yet the former Bison has yet to see one through due to injuries. Last January, he left with a concussion after Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney brought him down early in the Wild Card round.
It might be time to stop lamenting his bad luck and wonder about his true durability. But either way, when Wentz is on the field, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFC. People are quick to forget that he was an MVP front-runner in 2017 before laying out for a rushing touchdown late in the year and tearing his ACL, which paved the way for Nick Foles to lead one of the most unexpected Super Bowl runs in NFL history.
Before the 2019 season, the Eagles committed to the North Dakota State alum long-term with a four-year, $128 million extension. The franchise also invested heavily in pass catchers for Wentz after a disastrous run of injuries late last season left him tossing to practice squad scrubs.
Despite his limited weaponry, the 27-year old threw for 4,039 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 93.1 passer rating, 13th best in the league. This is commendable when you look at just how much Philadelphia endured down the stretch to even win the NFC East.
Wentz has everything you could possibly want in a quarterback: size, strength, arm talent, maturity, and leadership. Will this be the year he finally puts it all together and stays healthy? If he does, count on the Eagles being a force in the NFC East once more and Wentz to be on many MVP voting lists.
3. Cam Newton, New England Patriots (Week 2)
Things certainly got switched up once it was announced that Newton would be competing for the starting quarterback job in New England.
He has a clear edge over Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as a former MVP and being the physical specimen that he is, as long as he's healthy. He missed all but two games last year with a Lisfranc fracture in his foot and missed the last two games in 2018 with a shoulder injury.
But when healthy, Newton remained a solid starting quarterback in 2018. He completed a career-high 67 percent of his passes, threw 24 touchdowns - the second most he's thrown in a season - compared to just 13 interceptions, and also rushed for 488 yards and four scores.
At this point in his career, the 245-pound Newton won't be the same runner he was earlier in his career when he first arrived out of Auburn. But he will still be able to do damage both with his arm and legs, which will cause problems for opponents.
Assuming he's healthy and can stay on the field, the Patriots have always excelled at adapting to the strengths of their players. Catering the offense to his dual threat abilities, the Patriots could be right back in the race to win the AFC East with Newton under center and the Seahawks Week 2 game just got much more interesting in a hurry.
2. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (Week 5)
Before the 2019 season, many would have laughed at such a ranking. However, last season, something clicked for Cousins as a member of the Vikings.
He finished fourth in the NFL in passer rating at 107.4 and among quarterbacks who have made at least 25 starts in the last two seasons, only Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes have a better rating than Cousins in that time frame.
While Cousins has not put up eye-popping, MVP numbers like others on this list, he has quietly put together two very solid seasons in Minnesota, earning himself a Pro Bowl nod last year.
Plus, Seahawks fans do not need to be reminded of what happened in 2017, when Cousins led a game-winning touchdown drive as a member of the Redskins to stun CenturyLink Field and contribute to Seattle missing the playoffs that season.
Additionally, last season, Cousins accomplished something that had been nagging him for years. He finally won a big game. The Saints were flying high at 13-3 and hosted the Vikings in the Wild Card round, with very few pundits giving Minnesota much of a chance. Instead, Cousins led the Vikings to victory with an overtime touchdown pass to seal the stunning road victory.
Overall, Cousins has become a very efficient quarterback in Minnesota, with a 103.0 rating and averaging just under 4,000 yards next to just 16 interceptions in two seasons.
1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (Week 1)
A lot went wrong in Atlanta in 2019, but not much of it was the fault of Ryan, a former NFL MVP award winner.
First off, Ryan missed a start for the first time since 2009. He was not the only one who missed time either, as many other offensive pieces missed games and the Falcons ranked 23rd overall in total defense.
With Atlanta finishing the season 6-2 in the final eight games, look for a bounce back year in 2020 for this Falcons squad, starting with their 12-year signal caller.
Atlanta added a weapon at running back in Todd Gurley, who certainly can boost Ryan's numbers in the pass game too, as he has over 1,500 receiving yards in the last three seasons. He should be an excellent complement to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Ryan is sixth among active quarterbacks in career passing yards and seventh in passing touchdowns. He has accumulated at least 4,000 passing yards in nine consecutive seasons.
Since 2012, no quarterback has thrown for more yards than Ryan's 36,948 and he is third in fourth quarter comebacks during that time. He is the only quarterback the Seahawks will face this year that has been an All-Pro and MVP.
Having only missed three games over a dozen seasons, the former Boston College product is a model of consistency and will present a tough matchup for the Seahawks in the season opener.