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NFL QB Index, Week 6: Jalen Hurts soars to No. 1; Brock Purdy knocking on door of top five

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 5 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 6.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 67.3 pct | 1,262 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 206 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 1 fumble

It took him a month, but Hurts is back to his MVP-candidate form. He threw it all over the SoFi Stadium yard on Sunday, breaking 100 yards with both A.J. Brown (who is a receiving god with Hurts throwing to him) and Dallas Goedert. What truly makes Hurts an elite quarterback is his ability to make defenses pay with both his arm and legs -- and after seeing minimal running opportunities in the first month, he seized them in Week 5, leading the Eagles in rushing (72 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries). He converted multiple long third-down situations with his legs, pushed forward on the Eagles’ trademark sneak on a handful of occasions and generally assembled a fantastic performance. Hurts’ only major mistake came on an interception that appeared to be a positioning-battle loss for Brown, and it didn’t end up mattering much. If Hurts continues to play like this, the Eagles are going to stay undefeated for a while.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7

2023 stats: 5 games | 66.8 pct | 1,287 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 154 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Sunday's win over the Vikings was a classic Mahomes performance, one filled with improvisational completions, seemingly miraculous deep connections and everything in between. Mahomes’ two touchdown passes didn’t require much magic: One was in structure (a dart right into the hands of rookie Rashee Rice), while the other was simply Mahomes surveying and ripping a bullet to a wide-open Travis Kelce near the goal line. I don’t have to take up a bunch of space describing Mahomes’ play, which is in line with his reputation after one month. And he seems to only be getting better.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Mahomes' 306 passing yards ended up looking slightly better than the tape, but that's only because the Chiefs struggled to finish drives Thursday. It didn't end up mattering much: He completed 30 of 40 passes and routinely moved the offense within Harrison Butker's range in the 19-8 win over Denver.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 6

2023 stats: 5 games | 73.1 pct | 1,407 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 120 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Allen nearly pulled off a highlight deserving of the all-time London reel on Sunday when he found Stefon Diggs open over the middle and launched a throw in his direction. This clip ended up in the can, though, because Darious Williams made a fantastic play on the ball for an interception. That will happen sometimes, but what dings Allen in the rankings this week is how long it took for he and the Bills to rediscover their offensive mojo against Jacksonville. They struggled to sustain drives, finishing with 29 rushing yards as a team, going 5-for-12 on third down and losing the time of possession battle by roughly 17 minutes. When things grew desperate, Allen responded, rattling off a 75-yard touchdown drive in four plays. He nearly led them to victory, finding Diggs open downfield, but a fumble doomed them. I don’t pin this loss on Allen; he just wasn’t nearly as good as he was in his previous three games.

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 71.7 pct | 1,614 pass yds | 9.7 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 21 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

The win over the Giants certainly wasn’t a blemish-free performance. An under-pressure Tagovailoa flicked an errant pass, resulting in a Bobby Okereke interception, and an earlier pass into traffic along the goal line resulted in a deflection and a Jason Pinnock pick-six. Otherwise, though, Tagovailoa remained the conductor of a high-flying offense that didn’t need him to do too much, but certainly didn’t mind his scoring production. Tagovailoa operates this offense with the goal of getting the ball in the hands of its playmakers and letting them run, but what was most impressive was how quickly he’s getting through his progressions to find the open target. On his 69-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, Tagovailoa first scanned the left side of the field, realized none of his options would be open, and quickly shifted to the right, lofting a beautiful pass to Hill, who did the rest with his elite speed. Tagovailoa did something similar on his first touchdown pass, but with a scramble to the left added in. He’s not quite the best quarterback in the NFL right now -- not after two weeks with some miscues -- but he’s still deserving of a place in the upper tier.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 4

2023 stats: 4 games | 71.0 pct | 1,106 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 1 INT | 55 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble

Herbert has been good, and at times, great. This is what we expect from the star quarterback, who got an extra week to allow his injured finger to heal following a heart-stopping win over the Raiders. How he fares without Mike Williams (lost for the season to a torn ACL) remains to be seen, but at least the Chargers are better prepared for this situation than they were a year ago. Herbert will have to continue to carry the Chargers to victory, as is expected of most every franchise quarterback. So far, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do so.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers · Year 2

2023 stats: 5 games | 72.1 pct | 1,271 pass yds | 9.3 ypa | 9 pass TD | 0 INT | 24 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 4 fumbles

If you’re searching for proof of how well Purdy understands his role in San Francisco’s offense, just pull up the tape from the 49ers’ bludgeoning of the Cowboys. Purdy was once again dialed in all night, completing 17-of-24 passes, and this time around, he did so by finding star tight end George Kittle. How efficient were the two, you ask? Each of their three completions produced a touchdown. Purdy also found his other usual targets, connecting with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Juszczyk two or more times each, and one throw in particular -- a 23-yard completion to Aiyuk in the third quarter -- was so beautiful, it made me audibly gasp. Purdy dropped, surveyed and threw to where he knew Aiyuk would be, placing the ball right over the outstretched arms of linebacker Leighton Vander Esch for a big gain over the middle. It was a work of art, much like the 49ers’ first five games of 2023. And Purdy is the one holding the paintbrush. 

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 15

2023 stats: 5 games | 61.1 pct | 1,451 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 5 INT | 49 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

To no one’s surprise, Stafford fed Cooper Kupp in the receiver’s first game back since suffering a season-ending injury in 2022. The two hooked up eight times for 118 yards, adding a serious threat in a receiving corps that was otherwise relying on rookie sensation Puka Nacua and third-year pro Tutu Atwell. Stafford was stellar early in Sunday's loss, dropping sideline passes in the bucket to Kupp and Nacua, and ripping a throw past a defender to Atwell for a score. Stafford’s production tailed off in the second half once the Eagles decided to send the heat after him, but he’s largely still playing excellent -- if not his best -- football, and it will be fascinating to see where he can take the Rams’ offense with Kupp back in the fold.

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 8

2023 stats: 5 games | 69.8 pct | 1,265 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 9 pass TD | 3 INT | 12 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Goff is the transmission of what is a well-oiled engine in Detroit (automotive puns not entirely intended). He ensures everything runs smoothly, delivering on-time and on-target passes all over the field to an array of pass catchers. Lately, Sam LaPorta has been the favorite gear, scoring two touchdowns (including one via some trickery) in Detroit’s romp over Carolina. Goff is playing the best football of his career because he’s surrounded by productive teammates, directed by an offensive coordinator in Ben Johnson who has complete command of this unit and, most importantly, is taking care of the football.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 6

2023 stats: 5 games | 69.9 pct | 1,030 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 265 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 7 fumbles

In most of the Ravens' games this season, Jackson has carried them to victory, oftentimes in spite of his teammates. Baltimore's Week 5 loss followed a similar trend, with Jackson’s teammates (Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor) dropping two crucial passes that should have produced touchdowns. But make no mistake: Jackson is not without blame for Baltimore’s colossal meltdown. With Baltimore poised to put away another win, Jackson dropped back and lofted a third-down fade attempt to Odell Beckham Jr. It never had a chance, resulting in a Joey Porter Jr. interception. And when Jackson suddenly needed to play hero, he was strip-sacked, giving Pittsburgh the opportunity to bleed the clock and tack on three more points. His last-ditch drive ended fittingly: in a fourth-down sack. For the first time in 2023, Jackson failed to play hero, and played a direct role in Baltimore’s implosion.

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 12

2023 stats: 5 games | 67.2 pct | 1,498 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 13 pass TD | 4 INT | 22 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Cousins eliminated the turnover problem from his own stat line in Week 5, which is a good start for a quarterback whose numbers suggest he’s among the best in the NFL at his position. And for most of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, he was that player, overcoming frequent pressure to deliver to his targets, both covered and open. Cousins played a clean game, avoiding risk and finding his pass catchers. His touchdown pass to Jordan Addison worked exactly as designed. He probably should have had a better shot at a game-tying score, but because of a picked-up flag on a fourth down, he was left only with a desperate attempt in the game’s final minute, which ended in a sack on the final play. Cousins is playing better than the Vikings’ 1-4 record suggests, and it’s a shame it will be held against him.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 5 games | 67.2 pct | 1,258 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT | 132 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Lawrence has played better than the numbers have indicated. Sometimes, his teammates drop the ball, both literally and figuratively. And sometimes, Lawrence hasn’t trusted his eyes and his progressions enough to make the right throw. But finally, in Week 5, all parties started to make progress. A perfect example came in his first-quarter touchdown pass, when Lawrence scanned from left to right before delivering a rocket to Zay Jones in the back of the end zone. His stat line (25 of 37, 315 yards, one touchdown) also backs it up. Now, he and the Jaguars just need to do it more consistently. If they're able to do that, he’ll move up these rankings before long.

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 11

2023 stats: 4 games | 68.3 pct | 846 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 5 pass TD | 1 INT | 22 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Smith has largely picked up where he left off in 2022, leading the Seahawks to victory in a shootout versus Detroit in Week 2, and doing enough to help them win games when other teammates are carrying the load. He’s not quite performing at the same explosive rate as we saw last season, but the Seahawks have no reason to worry about their quarterback. With the young defense continuing to blossom, Pete Carroll has to feel good about his team’s chances in 2023.

C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans · Rookie

2023 stats: 5 games | 61.3 pct | 1,461 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 7 pass TD | 0 INT | 53 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

After two white-hot, record-setting weeks for the rookie, Stroud descended closer to earth in Week 5. He still set a record -- this time, passing Dak Prescott for the most pass attempts without an interception to start a career -- but he didn’t find the same success that powered the Texans to their last two runaway wins. Atlanta simply made the going tougher for Stroud, who wasn’t as consistently accurate as he was in the previous two games. He still didn’t make any terrible mistakes and led a number of drives that ended up stalling and resulting in field goals. Stroud did engineer quite a drive for a late go-ahead touchdown that appeared as if it might secure a win for the Texans. He’s still playing good ball -- he just didn't reach the bar he set for himself in previous weeks.

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Year 3

2023 stats: 5 games | 61.8 pct | 1,143 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 191 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Fields has emphatically dunked on his haters in the last two weeks. In Week 4, the Bears crumbled in the final two quarters after putting 21 points on the board in the first half. This time around, they scored 27 heading into the break. Fields was once again sharp, showing off his arm talent with a number of excellent throws to DJ Moore (who had a career night), including an end-zone shot that simply arrived too quickly for the deep safety to have a chance of contesting. Fields made plays with his feet, and because of his ability to pull off the big play, finished with 282 passing yards on just 15 completions in the team's first win of the season. The passer rating -- 125.3 -- speaks for itself. Fields was never the Bears' problem, and that should be crystal clear if they approach each week with that type of game plan. Let the talent cook.

Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 6

2023 stats: 4 games | 69.6 pct | 882 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 7 pass TD | 2 INT | 61 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Mayfield dropped three touchdown passes on a division rival right before the bye week. Folks are feeling good about the Buccaneers because of their quarterback, who is exceeding expectations. He’s been sharp and avoided colossal mistakes. If he continues to play like this, the Bucs will undoubtedly have a say in how the NFC South shakes out. 

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 8

2023 stats: 5 games | 69.4 pct | 1,061 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 45 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Prescott walked off the field at Levi’s Stadium with only one excellent throw to his name in Week 5, a rainbow strike to KaVontae Turpin for a 26-yard touchdown. The rest was entirely forgettable, if not nauseating. With no running game to speak of, the responsibility fell on the shoulders of the quarterback, who threw three interceptions, with each uglier than the last. His first was an ill-advised heave downfield that was easily snagged by safety Tashaun Gipson. His second was a poor decision, attempting to force a pass against a defender with inside leverage on a slant route, resulting in a deflection caught by Fred Warner. And his third was downright atrocious, another throw toward a slanting receiver (this time against outside leverage) that Oren Burks could see coming all the way from San Jose. Folks who believe Prescott can carry the team to a title got a hard dose of reality on Sunday night.

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders · Year 2

2023 stats: 5 games | 68.6 pct | 1,349 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 101 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

You know, Howell wasn’t as terrible as the final score suggested last Thursday. In fact, his interception only happened because he was a tick late on a throw over the middle, and Bears defensive back Greg Stroman made a great play. But Howell understandably couldn’t carry the team on his own when Washington asked him to (SEE: 51 pass attempts). With the Commanders starting slow and finding themselves in a deep hole, their only chance of a comeback rested on the arm of Howell. He’s still not the best at identifying pre-snap pressure, and he narrowly missed a few downfield shots to open receivers, but this felt like one man trying to carry an entire 53-man roster to victory. I won’t really hold this game -- 37 of 51 for 388 and two touchdowns certainly isn’t a bad stat line, by the way -- against him.

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · Year 10

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.3 pct | 946 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Finally, Carr established a downfield rhythm before the second half. It must have felt like a massive weight was lifted off the city of New Orleans when Carr connected with a few targets early in the Saints’ blowout win over the Patriots, even after he and Jimmy Graham weren’t able to hook up for a third-down gain in the first quarter. Carr dropped a couple of beauties on Chris Olave, including one that went for a touchdown, and he looked more settled in the initial portions of the game than he has in any other week to this point. New England’s defense isn’t supposed to be a slouch, although I’ll have to review this game again a month or two from now to truly grasp whether this was a sign of improvement or just a quarterback taking advantage of a subpar unit. For at least one week, though, Saints fans could enjoy a game without any early frustration.

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 62.4 pct | 1,045 pass yds | 5.3 ypa |5 pass TD | 3 INT | 10 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Burrow might be back, folks. After a month of languishing with zero mobility and little hope, Burrow stepped out of whatever healing chamber he’d spent the last week in, laced up his Nike cleats and promptly carved up the Cardinals. He teamed with Ja’Marr Chase to help his favorite receiver set a franchise single-game receptions record, navigated the pocket with a fleetness of foot not seen from him since 2022, and even scrambled for some positive gains. He looked like Burrow -- not the imposter who has been wearing his uniform for the last month. Hopefully for Bengals fans (and the NFL as a whole), it will last.

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 12

2023 stats: 5 games | 63.4 pct | 1,052 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 5 INT | 40 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Tannehill sure is tough. No, I’m not talking about him shaking off my Diet Kirk Cousins nickname for him (which undoubtedly didn’t land in so much as the same hemisphere as Tannehill’s radar). I’m referring to the multiple hits he took while standing firm in a collapsing pocket against the Colts on Sunday. Tannehill is excellent out of play-action and played like it again in Week 5, but he needs someone other than DeAndre Hopkins to help him out. Consider: Of Tannehill’s 23 completions in the Titans’ loss to Indianapolis, Hopkins caught eight of them. No other wide receiver caught more than one pass. And yet, because of Tannehill, the Titans were competitive. He wasn’t spectacular, but his interception came in the final 10 seconds of a game the Titans probably weren’t going to win anyway.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 12

2023 stats: 5 games | 66.9 pct | 1,210 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 11 pass TD | 2 INT | 119 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

I sometimes wonder whether Wilson needs to be placed in a pressure cooker to transform into a productive quarterback. That wasn’t the case back in Week 2 -- it was quite the opposite, in fact -- but it seemed to be what worked for Wilson in Week 5. That is, until Wilson was strip-sacked late in the fourth quarter, effectively ending the Broncos’ hopes of a comeback victory over the Jets. Wilson shows signs of reclaiming his special talent, especially when it comes to extending the play, but it’s not consistent enough right now. These Broncos aren’t a good team, and Wilson isn’t elevating them beyond that standing -- even when his numbers (20 of 31 for 196 yards, two TDs) suggest he had a relatively productive day.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: On a night when most everything was difficult to accomplish offensively, Wilson mounted one drive of legitimate significance, ending it by throwing a pretty touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton in the fourth quarter. That was pretty much it. Wilson's 95 passing yards tell the story of another frustrating outing for Denver.

Jimmy Garoppolo
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 10

2023 stats: 4 games | 68.8 pct | 917 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 7 INT | 23 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Garoppolo needed a decent performance after two rough outings prior to his missed start in Week 4. I can confidently say he did enough to qualify for decent against the Packers on Monday night. In what was an ugly affair in Las Vegas, Garoppolo emerged as the better of the two starting quarterbacks. He wasn’t perfect, of course. We knew Garoppolo would be good for one bad throw, and he delivered, throwing a pass to a crossing Jakobi Meyers that was easily intercepted by Rudy Ford. But he didn’t let that sink him, instead battling through the adversity to reconnect with Davante Adams in the second half, which proved crucial in the Raiders’ comeback efforts. 

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts · Year 5

2023 stats: 4 games | 68.7 pct | 553 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Well, just when I thought we’d left this town behind, we’re back in Backupville. Minshew was called into action once again in Week 5, this time because of a shoulder injury suffered by rookie Anthony Richardson. And just as he did in Indianapolis’ Week 3 win over Baltimore, Minshew did enough to keep the Colts afloat. Luckily for him, he had a very strong running game, thanks to the efforts of Zack Moss (195 total yards, two rushing touchdowns). Minshew played an important part in a key drive that tacked on three points late in the game. He’ll need to fill a similarly competent role for the next month (if not longer) after the Colts placed Richardson on injured reserve.

Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns · Year 7

2023 stats: 3 games | 63.7 pct | 678 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 83 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Well, we last saw Watson play in Week 3, his lone quality performance of the season. He was a game-time decision and ultimately did not play in Week 4 due to a right shoulder injury. Now his status is still in question coming off the Week 5 bye. Watson could certainly use a strong showing against undefeated San Francisco on Sunday. Until we know whether he’ll play, the Browns will likely continue to face questions about his health and toughness. Cleveland needs its QB1 to be productive, especially with Nick Chubb unavailable.

UPDATE: The Browns officially ruled Deshaun Watson out of Sunday's game, positioning P.J. Walker to take the reins against the 49ers.

Joshua Dobbs
Arizona Cardinals · Year 7

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.8 pct | 980 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 142 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Ah, this was a tough one. Dobbs made some excellent throws versus the Bengals, but his stat line wasn’t pretty (15 of 32 for 166 yards, two TDs, two INTs). Sure, both interceptions, including a pick-six, came off deflections, but Dobbs is responsible for at least some blame for each of them. He didn’t play a factor in the ground game, especially once the Cardinals lost James Conner to injury, and when Arizona needed to move down the field quickly late in the game while facing a 14-point deficit, it became painfully clear Dobbs wasn’t going to get the job done. His start to the season has been a feel-good story, but he can’t be feeling good after Week 5.

Desmond Ridder
Atlanta Falcons · Year 2

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.4 pct | 1,073 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 57 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

That is how you bounce back from a dreadful trip overseas. Ridder was so bad in London, coach Arthur Smith had to field questions regarding the future under center. How did Ridder respond, you ask? By throwing for 329 yards, accounting for two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing) and leading a late drive that produced the game-winning field goal. I’m not sure if Mercedes-Benz Stadium is incredibly comfortable for Ridder or what, but he’s better at home. He appeared comfortable and decisive in his play, and even used his eyes to manipulate the Houston defense through his progressions. C.J. Stroud was supposed to blow Ridder out of the water. Instead, the second-year passer held his own, and helped the Falcons to another triumph.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 3

2023 stats: 5 games | 61.1 pct | 911 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 83 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Wilson’s day got off to a slow start, and the numbers don’t suggest he did anything special (19 of 26 for 199 yards, no TDs, one INT). You don’t have to be special, though, when Breece Hall explodes for 177 rushing yards and a touchdown. Wilson did show some significant signs of progress late against the Broncos, especially when it came to sensing pressure and trusting his internal clock. He stood tall in the pocket as the rush approached his face, surveying and delivering a pass over Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell to Tyler Conklin for a gain of 37 yards. Those are the types of plays that give me hope Wilson can develop into a viable starter down the road for the Jets, who will scratch and claw their way through games as he makes incremental improvements.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 2

2023 stats: 5 games | 59.7 pct | 1,027 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 12 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

The new controversy in Pittsburgh this week was whether Pickett checked to the route or offensive coordinator Matt Canada called for the route that led to a George Pickens TD catch in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ win over the Ravens. Either way, that connection was one of a few impressive throws by Pickett, who is still too often stuck in an offense that doesn’t know what it wants to be. There were encouraging signs, though: Pittsburgh didn’t seem to be in third-and-long nearly as much as in previous weeks, and the checkdowns to running back Jaylen Warren -- a sore spot for Steelers fans wanting more fireworks -- ended up producing big, essential gains in the comeback effort. Pickett didn’t compile a scintillating performance by any means, but in the key moments, he delivered.

Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 55.6 pct | 1,083 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT | 109 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

After a fun first few weeks, Love is taking steps backward, appearing both overwhelmed and determined to play the hero. It’s producing negative outcomes, including three interceptions against the Raiders, with Love throwing into traffic and taking unnecessary risks in a close game. The struggles are so obvious, Love’s teammate, Jaire Alexander, said the defense has to not give up any touchdowns for the Packers to win. That’s how bad it is through five weeks, an outcome I did not see coming a month ago. Perhaps Aaron Jones’ return -- whenever that happens -- will help matters, but it’s clear the Packers can’t execute their offense as coach Matt LaFleur intends because their quarterback isn’t yet capable of doing so consistently.

Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 5

2023 stats: 5 games | 68.9 pct | 884 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 2 pass TD | 6 INT | 197 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

We’re entering David Carr territory with Jones, a quarterback who delivers on-target passes when he isn’t pressured but is under duress far too often. The Giants simply aren’t giving him a chance to make a difference, not with their leaky offensive line that invites blitzes. Jones is trying his best; that is painfully obvious. But Jones isn’t Superman, nor should he be expected to be. He was undoubtedly better in Week 5 before leaving the game with a neck injury, but if the Giants don’t fix things up front, it’s not going to end up mattering much.

UPDATE: Giants coach Brian Daboll announced Friday that quarterback Daniel Jones (neck) won't play Sunday, putting Tyrod Taylor in the starting lineup against the Bills.

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers · Rookie

2023 stats: 4 games | 63.9 pct | 750 pass yds | 5.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 65 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Young is taking baby steps toward a more productive future. He engineered a few nice scoring drives against the Lions and ripped a pretty touchdown pass to Tommy Tremble, as the Panthers were forced to throw to try to keep up with Detroit (SEE: 41 pass attempts). He’s still trying to do too much at times, and still trusts his arm a little too much (like when he tried to hit a hole shot against a drifting defensive back, resulting in an interception), but he’s starting to slowly cut down on those mistakes. We might start to see legitimate progress by the halfway point of the season, but we also must accept it’s going to be a slow and sometimes painful burn.

Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Year 3

2023 stats: 5 games | 62.5 pct | 1,008 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 5 pass TD | 6 INT | 60 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Jones seems to be suffering from a crisis of confidence. He’s missing open throws and trying too hard to make a play. That combination is killing the Patriots. Almost nothing (save for the underneath options) has come easy for him in the last few weeks, and while it doesn’t help that the run game isn’t making a difference, Jones could, at the very least, minimize risk. It might not produce anything of significance, but it won’t hurt New England as much as his play has in the last couple of games. Things are bad in New England right now, and it starts with the quarterback. His mistakes buried the Patriots before they ever had much of a chance against the Saints.

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