The Mathew Stafford trade on March 18 was the source of a lot of controversy in the NFL world. Many people were divided on the simple question of, is Mathew Stafford an elite QB? Some would argue that he is not an elite QB, that he couldn’t win in the playoffs and rarely had success in the regular season. Others tried to portray the lack of success in his career since he was on the Detroit Lions. At the beginning of the season, Stafford thanked the Detroit Lions and showed how he was excited to start the season, “It’s an exciting time. You know, I feel great physically and mentally ready to go. I know all the guys are.” All the negative connotations have been put to bed as Stafford in the first five games of the season; he has thrown for 12 touchdowns and three interceptions for 1,587 yards. He also leads the league in QBR with an unbelievable rating of 74.8%; his play has started the Rams season 4-1 with an impressive home win against the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, winning 34-24. A big part of his newfound success has been his star receiver, Cooper Kupp. Kupp started the season solid with 37 receptions for 523 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Kupp leads the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns; this explosive start is due to the connection with Stafford and has given the Rams a much-needed burst in their offense. The offensive firepower between these two people has been a dominant force in the league and proves why they have the best quarterback-receiver connection.
Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill
Even with a slow start to the season with a record of 2-3, the Kansas City QB-WR duo is still one of the tops in the league. With arguably the best quarterback in the league and one of the fastest receivers in Tyreek Hill, it’s no surprise where they are on this list. Maholmes has thrown for 1,490 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Considering that this is a down year for Maholmes speaks to the magnitude of how good a player he is. Hill is too good to be contained even with this slight slump, and his numbers speak for themselves. Hill has racked up 516 yards and four touchdowns on 37 receptions. Hill has had one of the most explosive games anyone has seen this season. In week four against the Philadelphia Eagles, Hill completely torched the Eagles’ secondary. Every drive, it ended up with Hill wide open, with the ball in his hands, walking quickly right into the end zone. Hill caught an efficient 11 of 12 balls in the game, not to mention his 186 receiving yards and three touchdowns in one game. He was putting Hill two touchdown receptions away from tying the record. This ability to put up monster numbers in just one game puts Hill and Maholmes at number 2 as the best duo in the league when it comes to the passing game.
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams
The first game of the season for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers was abysmal. Rodgers played arguably one of the worst games in his life, and the Packers lost in embarrassing fashion 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints. The sports world was in an uproar, stating that Rodgers was washed or just losing on purpose because of his offseason push to leave the Packers. Though after this loss, Rodgers said, “I played bad, we played bad… it’s just one game, 16 to go.” Rodgers didn’t seem to worry too much about the loss, and he was right. The Packers have won 4 straight games straight, and Rodgers has been playing impeccably. Rodgers has thrown for 1,241 yards with ten touchdowns and three interceptions. After the horrible week one performance, he looks just like his usual self. One of the main reasons this duo is so deadly is because Rodgers is throwing too, and this versatile weapon goes by the name of Davante Adams. Adams has 42 receptions to go along with the most targets in the league and to go along with that 579 yards with two touchdowns. Adams also averages the most receiving yards per game with a groundbreaking 115.8 yards per game; the separation Adams gets on his routes complements the perfect throwing accuracy of Rodgers. This is what earns this dynamic duo the number 3 spot on this list.
Justin Herbert and Mike Williams
Going into the 2021-22 NFL season, there has been much talk about whether Herbert is the real deal. Some people thought he would be having a sophomore slump, and others believed that his success last season proves he will be an elite quarterback. So far, Herbert has been living up to the high expectations set for up. The Chargers top their division with a 4-1 record and have beaten the two AFC Championship game teams in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns. This fantastic and almost unforeseen record has come from the stellar play of Herbert during the season. Herbert is 4th in total passing yards with 1,576 and has a solid completion percentage at 67.2%. He’s also throwing on 13 touchdowns and three interceptions; this impressive ratio is only rivaled by the likes of Tom Brady and Josh Allen. Now, this next part is crazy; when you think of a top receiver, an elite receiver, the name Mike Williams probably, if ever, doesn’t come up, but the things he is doing this season are unremarkable. He has 471 receiving yards and leads the league with 6, yes 6, receiving touchdowns. He’s doing all of this on just 31 catches, the efficiency with which he plays the game is unrivaled, and he is doing this not even as the number one option on his team. The play of these two has been superb, which earns them the 4th spot on this list.
Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson
Now the number 5 spot was heavily contested, but the fact is that this list is decided by the impact of the connection between a receiver and a quarterback, and in this case, just an MVP-level candidate quarterback doesn’t carry any receiver up the list. Justin Jefferson is coming off of a year where he arguably should’ve won OROY, and Kirk Cousins is coming off a very inconsistent year in which his play arguably ended up hurting the team. Now, this puts both of these players in a position where they need to prove something, they have a chip on their shoulder, and their play has not disappointed. Kirk Cousins is up there, with the top quarterbacks being 8th in passing yards with 1,396 yards. One of the most significant improvements in his play has been the touchdown to interception ratio; he has thrown ten touchdowns and just two interceptions, he is tied 2nd least for the number of interceptions thrown this season. One of his biggest nacks is that he turns the ball over; well, this season, no one can say that’s a problem anymore. Justin Jefferson has picked up right where he did last year and is 6th in the league in receiving yards. Jefferson has 462 yards on 33 catches with three touchdowns so far on the year. This duo’s outstanding productivity has got them to the number 5 spot on this list.
This article originally appeared in CT Today