- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC North quarterbacks received no love from NFL.com, which ranked the division's passers fifth in the league.
This is a little low in my estimation. Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and Brandon Weeden (or Colt McCoy) should at least be No. 4. Here's how NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah assessed the division:
It was a tough call putting this group behind the AFC West QBs. Big Ben has two Super Bowl rings and is arguably the best in the league at extending the play. Last season, Flacco was a dropped pass away from making his Super Bowl debut, while Dalton would've been the talk of the league if not for Cam Newton's amazing rookie year. I'm not the biggest Weeden fan, but he does have size and a live arm.
For those reasons, I would put the AFC North ahead of the AFC West, which ranked fourth despite featuring a banged-up Peyton Manning and a struggling Philip Rivers, along with two quarterbacks on the hot seat (Matt Cassel and Carson Palmer). Roethlisberger has to be considered better than Manning at this point. Flacco outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC title game, and Rivers threw the third-most interceptions in the NFL (20). And Dalton made more of an impact on his team as a rookie than veterans Cassel and Palmer did last season.
The AFC North falls short of No. 3 with the NFC East, which has Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III. Roethlisberger has as many rings as Manning, but it's difficult to argue that Flacco had a better season than Romo (31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions). The nod goes to the NFC East in Dalton-Vick and Weeden-RG3.