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The Buffalo Bills don't have the worst QB in the NFL

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It's close. It's debatable. But here's why the Bills don't have the NFL's worst quarterback heading into the 2015 season, whoever it may be.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, ESPN released an article providing NFL power rankings for the next three seasons. Although the Buffalo Bills fared well in most categories, their quarterback situation was ranked in a tie for the worst in the league with the Cleveland Browns, and this ranking plunged the Bills to No. 26 overall.

Then, earlier this week, Andy Benoit of The MMQB did his own ranking of current NFL quarterbacks, placing Matt Cassel dead last while providing a caveat that EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor would pull the same ranking if they start.

In light of this continued narrative, I thought it would be interesting to look at some very simple statistics comparing Cassel and Manuel (Taylor and his small sample size could not be considered) to the other nine lowest-ranked quarterbacks, according to Benoit's list (with Ryan Fitzpatrick thrown in for good measure).

The first chart ranks those 12 quarterbacks sorted by touchdown-to-turnover ratio. Each chart below looks at games played over the last two seasons (three for Sam Bradford) in which the player either started and finished the game, or started the game and was benched because of poor play. Games in which a player was injured during or entered the game as the backup were not considered.

Player GP Win% YPG TD Run TD INT FL TD:TO
Nick Foles 18 78% 278 40 3 11 6 2.53
Sam Bradford 23 45% 234 35 1 17 6 1.57
EJ Manuel 13 43% 206 16 3 12 4 1.19
Derek Carr 15 20% 218 20 0 11 6 1.18
Ryan Fitzpatrick 22 41% 218 30 5 20 11 1.13
Josh McCown 16 25% 231 22 4 14 12 1.00
Teddy Bridgewater 13 46% 225 14 1 12 3 1.00
Brian Hoyer 16 56% 245 17 0 16 2 0.94
Matt Cassel 9 56% 228 13 1 13 3 0.88
Geno Smith 30 37% 186 25 7 34 10 0.73
Robert Griffin III 20 20% 241 20 1 18 14 0.66
Blake Bortles 14 21% 208 11 0 17 5 0.50
Averages 17.42 40% 226.43 21.92 2.17 16.25 6.83 1.04

While Cassel is near the bottom of the chart, Manuel sits near the top. Manuel has been relatively decent about not turning the ball over, even if his passing yards per game and win percentage are below average.

The next chart looks at the same players sorted by winning percentage.

Player GP Win% YPG TD Run TD INT FL TD:TO
Nick Foles 18 78% 278 40 3 11 6 2.53
Brian Hoyer 16 56% 245 17 0 16 2 0.94
Matt Cassel 9 56% 228 13 1 13 3 0.88
Teddy Bridgewater 13 46% 225 14 1 12 3 1.00
Sam Bradford 23 45% 234 35 1 17 6 1.57
EJ Manuel 13 43% 206 16 3 12 4 1.19
Ryan Fitzpatrick 22 41% 218 30 5 20 11 1.13
Geno Smith 30 37% 186 25 7 34 10 0.73
Josh McCown 16 25% 231 22 4 14 12 1.00
Blake Bortles 14 21% 208 11 0 17 5 0.50
Derek Carr 15 20% 218 20 0 11 6 1.18
Robert Griffin III 20 20% 241 20 1 18 14 0.66
Averages 17.42 40% 226.43 21.92 2.17 16.25 6.83 1.04

Again, Foles is a cut above the rest by a considerable margin. Regarding the matter at hand: although not at the top, neither Bills quarterback finds themselves last, or even in the bottom three. In his limited recent starting experience, Cassel has led teams to more wins than losses, and while his touchdown-to-turnover ratio is below average, his passing yards per game align with the average almost exactly.

The last chart solely examines the four least-experienced quarterbacks on the list - Manuel, Bridgewater, Carr, and Bortles - and is again sorted by winning percentage.

Player GP Win% YPG TD Run TD INT FL TD:TO
Teddy Bridgewater 13 46% 225 14 1 12 3 1.00
EJ Manuel 13 43% 206 16 3 12 4 1.19
Blake Bortles 14 21% 208 11 0 17 5 0.50
Derek Carr 15 20% 218 20 0 11 6 1.18
Averages 13.75 32% 214.12 15.25 1.00 13.00 4.50 0.93

While Manuel had an extra season to reach his 13 starts, and his yards passing per game are the lowest of the group, he does not seem to stack up poorly enough against three generally well-regarded young quarterbacks to necessarily earn the disrespect he receives. I understand that neither Manuel nor Cassel are average quarterbacks, but as the stats show, the level of quarterback play at the bottom of the NFL is very poor.

While no one will mistake the Bills' quarterback room for that of Joe Montana and Steve Young or Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, it does seem as though the narrative that the Bills have the worst quarterback situation in the league may be somewhat overstated.