2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Updated: October 30, 2012, 2:02 PM ET

The days of having rookie quarterbacks develop behind established veterans are pretty much over. The demands to please rabid fan bases and see quick returns on investments have compelled NFL teams to test their young signal-callers early.

Since 2008, we've seen the likes of Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton and others make immediate impacts.

The trend has been especially evident in 2012. Top picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who were handed the reins from the outset, have been as good as advertised. Thanks to each player's rapid progression, the Colts and Redskins now have much-needed stability at the position.

But the rookie crop doesn't end with them. Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Brandon Weeden also started from day one, and all three have proved capable.

In Week 9, Tannehill (if recovered from a leg injury) and Luck go head-to-head in what has become a marquee AFC matchup. Both Tannehill's Dolphins (No. 12) and Luck's Colts (No. 15) surprisingly stand at 4-3, and the winner will take a big step toward a potential playoff berth and gaining even more stock with our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, NFC East blogger Dan Graziano, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and NFC West blogger Mike Sando).

So yes, opportunity continues to knock for rookie QBs. And so far, this year's crop is doing a good job of seizing it.

• How they voted | Bloggers | Who's overrated, underrated? Insider | Bettors' Poll Insider | Rank 'Em | Mike & Mike Listen | Team Power Rankings charts since 2002

Find Tickets:

Season tickets or single game tickets, all the best seats are here.

See all tickets