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Is Andy Dalton the Best quarterback in the AFC North?

Pro Football Focus has released its ranking of quarterbacks through eight weeks of the season, and Andy Dalton finished pretty high up.

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC North has some bitter rivalries among it. It has a long history of smash mouth football, but in recent years it has become all about the quarterbacks. Joe Flacco has been questioned for years whether he is elite or not. Ben Roethlisberger has been constantly viewed one of the best in the league. The Browns have been looking for a quarterback since their reincarnation. That leaves Andy Dalton. The constant punching bag of the national media and fans. He has always shouldered the blame for any issue with the Bengals deservedly or not. Now it seems though one media outlet view Dalton as the best quarterback in the division.

Pro Football Focus released their rankings of all the quarterbacks through eight weeks of the season. Dalton ended up finishing 11th out of 34 quarterbacks. Here is how he ranked in their metric stats.

It is fair to say that it is pretty shocking to see Dalton so high up on a list. It is true a lot of the struggles this season aren’t completely his fault, but he has shown major signs of struggles. Most of that though is due to feeling the pressure of the pass rush even though it isn’t there. Dalton is currently tied with Drew Brees for 13th in the league with 11 touchdowns, but he has also thrown the fifth most interceptions so far this season with eight. However, that touchdown to interception ratio is the best among AFC North quarterbacks. Roethlisberger has 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and Joe Flacco has six touchdowns and eight interceptions. DeShone Kizer has three touchdowns and 11 interceptions in case you were curious.

As far as where the other AFC North quarterbacks rank, Roethlisberger is next on the list at 14th with a 79.9 overall grade. He is followed by Flacco way down at 29, which means he is only ahead of five other quarterbacks including guys who have only played a couple of games. Kizer sits at the bottom of the list, which could explain why the Browns attempted to trade for AJ McCarron before the deadline. Here are the other quarterbacks numbers.

It is nice to see Dalton so high on a list like this because it is made up from people who actually analyze every play of every game to compile this data. It also confirms that Flacco being thought of more highly than Dalton is as ludicrous as it sounds. These numbers also show that the decline of Roethlisberger is a very real thing that is coming fast.

A shocking number is the time each quarterback has to throw. If someone asked you who had the least amount of time to throw among AFC North teams you’d probably think the Bengals, but according to this data they rank second among AFC North teams right behind the Browns. Flacco and Roethlisberger rank in the bottom three for time to throw.

The most telling stat is the adjusted completion percentage. Dalton is ranked 10th overall and the highest among AFC North quarterbacks in this stat. This stat is different from regular completion percentage because it doesn’t count drops, throw aways, batted balls at the line of scrimmage or passes disrupted by the quarterback being hit against the quarterback. With that stat, Dalton’s throw is good enough for a completion 75 percent of the time. It seems the major thing that is holding the Bengals and Dalton back is the offensive line.

Hopefully going forward Dalton can build on these numbers while dragging the Bengals out of the hole they dug themselves into early on this season.