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Top NFL 5 quarterbacks of 2016

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24:  Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders throws the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter on Decembe
Image: Quarterback Derek Carr is one of our top five quarterbacks of 2016. Find out who else made the cut

In a season of mixed emotions for quarterbacks across the league, it's time to take a look at the best passers of the NFL this season.

In Atlanta, Matt Ryan played at an MVP-calibre level, a huge step up for the nine-year veteran, while there was also improvement for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers led their teams on respective nine and eight-game winning streaks, before both falling on Championship Sunday.

Elsewhere, the Dallas Cowboys unearthed a gem in rookie QB Dak Prescott, who led the organisation to a 13-3 record. In a year of great performances, Sky Sports picks its favourite passers of the 2016 season.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Now the front running for the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award, Ryan has had a stellar season. He led Atlanta to its first NFC South title since 2012, turning the Falcons into the highest scoring team in the national league (540 total points) and orchestrating an QB-topping average of 9.26 yards per attempt across the season.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:   Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after taking a knee in the final seconds against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia
Image: Falcons QB Matt Ryan has exceeded all expectations, leading his team to their first Super Bowl since 1998

His passer rating this year ranked as the fifth best in NFL history, and he followed up with an incredible post-season run, scoring a total of 80 points in two games, against the Seattle Seahawks and then Green Bay Packers.

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In a season which has elevated Ryan to 'elite quarterback level', he has also led the Dirty Birds to only their second Super Bowl, in their last season at the Georgia Dome.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The Packers suffered a four-game slump early in the year, and at 4-6 after 10 games, the team looked highly unlikely to make the play-offs. However, the 33-year-old Rodgers carried Green Bay into the post-season, spearheading six wins in a row to finish 10-6.

The feat is even more remarkable when you look back to Rodgers' premonition at 4-6 when he said that the Packers could "run the table" and win every remaining game.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after the Packers scored a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the N
Image: Aaron Rodgers' inspired form led the Packers to another NFC North title, and all the way to Championship Sunday

The run continued, with clutch wins against the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, where Rodgers threw a last-minute 36-yard completion to Jared Cook, which set up the game-winning field goal. However, the quest for Rodgers' second Vince Lombardi trophy ended in Atlanta, coming unstuck against Ryan's Falcons.

His poor start to the season might hold him back from MVP, but his 15 touchdown passes without interception in a six-game stretch will certainly keep him in the conversation.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

It was an agonising end to a fantastic campaign for Carr, who suffered a broken leg in the penultimate game of the season.

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24:  Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders is helped off the field after injuring his right leg during their NFL game against the Ind
Image: Oakland made the play-offs for the first time in 14 years, but Derek Carr's broken fibula derailed the Raiders' campaign

At 12-4, Carr led Oakland into the playoffs, but it became clear how important he was to this team, as the Raiders lost their final game of the season and then struggled in the play-offs, beaten on Wild Card weekend by the Houston Texans.

Carr's 28 touchdown passes, six interceptions and 3,933 yards propelled him into the running for MVP, and the 2016 season will be remembered by Raiders fans as a 'what might have been' year.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

The New England veteran QB has had another sensational season, finishing the regular season just shy of an average 300 passing yards per game (296). He finished with a passer rating of 112.2, and the Pats are 11-1 when he has played.

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16
Image: After missing a quarter of regular season games, Tom Brady is now looking for his fifth Super Bowl victory

Brady missed a quarter or the season, after serving a four-game 'Deflategate' suspension, but came back stronger than ever, and will now play in his seventh Super Bowl, vying for a fifth ring.

A win in Texas on February 5 would make the six-round, 199th pick the most successful quarterback of all-time. At 39, his performances are something to be marvelled.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

The 37-year-old Texan made his own history in week 17, by competing the fifth 5,000-yard passing season of his career.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Januar
Image: Drew Brees put up big numbers, and was an outsider for MVP before a disappointing finish ended his hopes of a play-off place

The Saints might have missed out on a play-off berth for the third consecutive season, but Brees has been at his best once again with a league-highest average of 326 passing yards per game, a completion rate of 70 per cent and 37 touchdown passes (and that's not to mention his part in the longest play in Saints' history, with a 98-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in September).

Brees was selected as a 2017 Pro Bowl replacement, his tenth appearance at the All-Star event. Though his team are in a period of rebuilding, the quarterback continues to be the centrepiece, and will be hoping he can get the team back to the post-season next year.

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