Peyton Manning will have to watch his Colts from the sidelines for most of the year after undergoing neck surgery. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

Peyton Manning Out, Who Will Be AFC's Next Best Quarterback?

If you think the quarterback position is just another position on the football field, think again. There hasn’t been as much ongoing news about a quarterback since Tim Tebow’s performance at training camp a month ago. Scratch the news about the backup quarterback. Now there’s significant national starting quarterback news to report.

The Indianapolis Colts are now standing in front of a firing squad with their hands ties behind their backs. Their longtime and seemingly only QB Peyton Manning is reportedly out 2-3 months after having surgery this morning.

Manning had a a cervical fusion to repair a level-one disc bulge. Although Colts’ owner Jim Irsay told the public that Manning would be out 2-3 months, that is a best case scenario.

I am invested in this story because I am having the same procedure done on Sept. 29 after a bad snowboarding fall last winter.

Basically, an incision is made in the front of the neck (to better access the disc), the disc is removed and either a bone graft or an artificial disc is put into the space. If bone graft was used which is most likely the case for Manning, a plate will be inserted to allow the cadaver bone to fuse with his bone. He will first be in a hard collar for 7-10 days, and depending on how the healing processes goes, he will then be put into a soft collar for another 4+ weeks. A return to football could happen after 12 weeks if all goes according to plan.

This news throws the entire AFC for a loop. Long time veteran Kerry Collins will replace Manning, but Collins isn’t essentially the coach out on the field like Manning was. Manning was second in the league in passing yards last year, just 10 yards behind league leader Philip Rivers. He was 2nd in completion percentage, and 3rd in touchdowns, but most importantly, he was the leader of the Colts. When he was in the game, the Colts had every chance in the world at winning.

With that said, let’s take a look at the other AFC quarterbacks and their go-to receivers.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills - QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, WR Stevie Johnson, WR Roscoe Parrish

Miami Dolphins – QB Chad Henne, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Anthony Fasano

New England Patriots - QB Tom Brady, WR Chad Ochocinco, WR Wes Welker

New York Jets - QB Mark Sanchez, WR Plaxico Burress, WR Santonio Holmes

AFC South

Houston Texans – QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, WR Kevin Walter

Indianapolis Colts – QB Kerry Collins, WR Reggie Wayne, WR Austin Collie

Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Luke McCown, WR Mike Thomas, WR Mercedes Lewis

Tennessee Titans – QB Matt Hasselbeck, WR Kenny Britt, WR Nate Washington

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – QB Joe Flacco, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Lee Evans

Cincinnati Bengals – QB Andy Dalton, WR Jordan Shipley, WR Jermaine Gresham

Cleveland Browns – Colt McCoy, TE Benjamin Watson, WR Mohamed Massaquoi

Pittsburgh Steelers – QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Hines Ward, WR Mike Wallace

AFC West

Denver Broncos – QB Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal

Kansas City Chiefs – QB Matt Cassel, WR Dwayne Bowe, WR Steve Breaston

Oakland Raiders – QB Jason Campbell, WR Louis Murphy, WR Jacoby Ford

San Diego Chargers – QB Philip Rivers, WR Vincent Jackson, TE Antonio Gates

Which AFC quarterback will lead the conference in passing this year?

View Results

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Tags: Afc Quarterbacks Cervical Fusion Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning Philip Rivers Tom Brady

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