The Chicago Bears traded for Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles on Wednesday, and he’ll likely be the new starting quarterback on Week 1.
Mitch Trubisky will be given a fair chance to keep his job, but after three seasons of uninspired play, Foles is the favorite at QB1 once the regular season rolls around.
Foles will join an NFC North with an impressive quarterback fraternity. Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Kirk Cousins routinely finish near the top of most statistical categories every season.
So where does Foles rank in the hierarchy of NFC North passers?
We can't base this assessment on accumulated statistics. Foles has played the least amount of games (58) by a wide margin. But if we break down the numbers on a per-game and per-throw basis, it doesn’t look great for Foles.
Foles' completion percentage, 61.9%, ranks last in the division. His career yards per attempt (6.26) also ranks last. Essentially, Foles completes fewer passes for fewer yards per pass than the other three quarterbacks in the division. Not great.
His career 1.2 touchdown passes per game is the worst rate in the division, and his 205.2 yards per game is the NFC North's lowest total. But there’s some context required. Foles has the fewest attempts per game (29.3) out of the bunch, which is nearly 10 fewer passes than Stafford throws every week. That's a big gap, which leads to an even bigger gap in production.
Now, we look at what really matters: the playoffs.
Foles' four playoff wins are second only to Rodgers, and his 68.1% completion percentage in the postseason is the best in the North. His 7.8 yards per attempt in the playoffs is tied for first in the division, too.
Stafford and Cousins have played the same number of postseason games (combined) as Foles. They're 1-5. Foles is 4-2.
Speaking of postseason success, Foles and Rodgers are the only quarterbacks in the division to win a Super Bowl. He won it with the Eagles in 2017 in one of the most memorable quarterbacking seasons in modern NFL history.
If we're ranking Foles against the NFC North in the regular season, he's an obvious fourth. But do Bears fans really care? He's money when the games matter most. And if we're ranking the division based on who we want as a starter in January, he's only second to Rodgers.
Is it crazy to rank Foles as the second-best quarterback in the NFC North? Not if you care about winning championships. If that's your standard, then:
NFC North Quarterback Rankings:
1) Aaron Rodgers
2) Nick Foles (!!!)
3) Kirk Cousins
4) Matthew Stafford