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QB Index, Week 6: Justin Herbert vaults into top 10!

As listeners of the Around The NFL Podcast know, Chris Wesseling is currently in the middle of a second battle with cancer. And as anyone who's faced cancer knows, it's a grueling fight with taxing treatments. Some weeks are better than others. Sometimes, you just need to lean on a little help from your friends.

Below, per usual, you'll find Chris' updated rankings of the league's starting quarterbacks, 1-32. But in terms of this week's supplementary analysis, Chris has made a call to the bullpen. In for relief: THE EDITORS! (Mr. Wesseling's usual source of stress.)

Write-ups for the top 10 signal-callers -- the cream of the QB Index crop -- are provided by Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr, who just so happened to handle this weekly quarterbacking rundown last season. So, while the rankings are Chris', if you've got beef with a blurb, take it up with the initialed author!

Rank
1
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 16

2020 stats: 4 games | 70.5 pct | 1,214 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 13 pass TD | 0 INT | 31 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


GF: Rodgers recently pontificated, "I sometimes laugh when people talk about down years for me because, a lot of times, down years for me are career years for most quarterbacks." Bold, but admittedly true. This is most definitely not a down year for Rodgers. Is it a career year? Compare those numbers above this blurb to these:


Rodgers' first four games of 2011: 73.1 pct | 1,325 pass yds | 9.4 ypa | 12 pass TD | 2 INT | 53 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Rodgers' first four games of 2014: 66.2 pct | 999 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 9 pass TD | 1 INT | 36 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


Those are his two MVP seasons. At age 37, Rodgers is clearly ahead of his 2014 pace. And he's running neck-and-neck with the 2011 campaign, widely viewed as one of the greatest quarterbacking seasons of all time.


Rank
2
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 9

2020 stats: 5 games | 72.8 pct | 1,502 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 19 pass TD | 3 INT | 153 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


AB: C'mon, Wess! Russ is still No. 2?! The man just capped his league-best 30th game-winning drive since 2012, accounting for all 94 yards (77 passing, 17 rushing) of his team's inevitable overtime victory march that skewered the hearts of Skol chanters across the country. Sure, he had a quiet first half, but he was just preheating his burners so he could cook down the stretch. Wilson enters Week 6 undefeated and ranked first in TD passes (19) and passer rating (129.8) despite enduring a pressure rate 10.5 points higher than Aaron Rodgers (23.9% to 13.4%, per Next Gen Stats). ... I think we're going to need a Tony P's night to help settle this debate, Wess.


Rank
3
1
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4

2020 stats: 5 games | 63.7 pct | 1,474 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 13 pass TD | 1 INT | 129 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


DP: It's always jarring when a defense makes Mahomes look human. That's what the Raiders were able to do in Week 5, as they forced Patrick to hold onto the ball an average of a full second longer than usual, per Next Gen Stats, and handed him the most lopsided loss of his career. The margin was eight points, giving you an idea of how well the man's NFL tenure has gone. So, dwell on the late INT (his first of the season) and career-low 51.2 completion percentage if you'd like. We're not going to take his weekly all-world stuff for granted, including escaping a collapsing pocket just in the nick of time before firing a dart for a TD and throwing across his body while on the run to convert on third-and-15. Even his hiccups are spectacular.

Rank
4
1
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 3

2020 stats: 5 games | 69.3 pct | 1,589 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 14 pass TD | 3 INT | 101 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost


GF: With Halloween on the horizon, did Allen just turn into a pumpkin? No. Regardless of what you're hearing from a reinvigorated peanut gallery, it was one bad game against an undefeated team. After floating into the MVP-talk stratosphere of bona fide superstars Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, Allen fell back to Earth with a two-pick clunker in the 42-16 loss in Nashville. And yet, the guy still made a series of eye-popping plays that make you marvel at his unique skill set, including a shifty third-down scramble to extend a scoring drive, a cross-field fadeaway flick to convert another third down, and a slow-cooked laser strike to the back of the end zone. Anyone still questioning this draft pick is appallingly unfun at parties.

Rank
5
2
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 9

2020 stats: 4 games | 68.9 pct | 1,004 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 9 pass TD | 1 INT | 77 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


TB: I think we can say it: The New Ryan Tannehill is here to stay. Where he sits on the spectrum between high-floor veteran and 2019-era untouchable remains to be seen -- but it surely doesn't make much difference to the Bills defense he just dismantled. One area where Tannehill was Hall of Fame-worthy (at least for one Tuesday night in October) was the red zone. Against Buffalo, he became just the second QB in the last 30 years to complete all of his red-zone passes with three-plus TD throws and one-plus rushing TD in a single contest, joining Brett Favre.

Rank
6
5
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 7

2020 stats: 5 games | 73.1 pct | 1,442 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 11 pass TD | 1 INT | 34 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost


AB: Carr was 0-6 on the road -- and just 2-10 lifetime -- versus the Chiefs prior to last Sunday's AFC West clash at Arrowhead Stadium, so let's not understate how much he needed a performance like the one he just delivered. Rarely does a QB go toe to toe with Patrick Mahomes and outplay the phenom -- in Kansas City, no less -- but Carr was more productive (347 yards to 340) and efficient (11.2 yards per attempt to 7.9) while connecting on the second-most deep passing yards in a game (219) since 2016 (Mahomes, obviously, has the most, with 257 in a 2019 contest). I'd be letting down Chris if I didn't acknowledge Henry Ruggs III in a blurb about Carr's inspired 2020 campaign, as the rookie has been an absolute game changer for the Raiders' offense. Smarter minds than mine can properly measure his per-snap impact, but the electric field-stretcher has unquestionably made life easier on the seventh-year passer.

Rank
7
6
Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 1

2020 stats: 4 games | 68.8 pct | 1,195 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 9 pass TD | 3 INT | 55 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


DP: To think, this guy supposedly wasn't good enough to start a month ago. The rookie has thrown those doubts in the dust bin with his sensational string of performances since replacing Tyrod Taylor as the Chargers' QB1. There are now two players in modern NFL history with a 100-plus passer rating and 1,150-plus passing yards in their first four games: Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. And Herbert has done it with an injury-plagued supporting cast. Now he gets a Week 6 bye before taking on the Jaguars and Broncos back-to-back. That first career win can’t be far off.

Rank
8
1
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · Year 5

2020 stats: 5 games | 71.7 pct | 1,372 pass yds | 9.0 ypa | 8 pass TD | 3 INT | 29 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


TB: My colleague Nick Shook highlighted Jared Goff's deep-ball proficiency in September, and the QB has continued to thrive going long, completing 6 of 8 deep passes on the season for 195 yards, a 2:0 TD-to-INT ratio and league-best marks in passer rating (156.3) and completion percentage above expectation (+31.4%). If Goff ever establishes solid footing in the Very Good Quarterback tier (maybe this is the year!), this skill will be part of what gets him there. Scheme can get guys open, but it can't put the ball nearly halfway down the field and into the hands of a streaking Robert Woods.

Rank
9
4
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 3

2020 stats: 5 games | 63.7 pct | 949 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 9 pass TD | 2 INT | 238 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


AB: Through the first five weeks of the season, Jackson's individual production lags behind his MVP pace from a year ago. While his passing numbers are down basically across the board, it's the production on the ground (or lack thereof) that has started to generate headlines. The Pro Bowler tallied a career-worst 3 rushing yards (on just two attempts) against the Bengals last Sunday, bringing his season total through five games to 238 yards -- down 23 percent from the same period in 2019. While those numbers might frustrate some fantasy folks and contribute to his drop in these rankings, his Ravens are 4-1, so his stat line "doesn't really matter."

Rank
10
NR
Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · Year 10

2020 stats: 3 games | 68.1 pct | 714 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 149 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


GF: The Patriots haven't played since Oct. 5. Newton hasn't played since Sept. 27. Such is life in this bizarre, COVID-coated season. So, what should we expect when the (presumably) Cam-led Patriots return to action against Denver on Sunday? Bronco blitzkrieg! Newton, who missed one game on the reserve/COVID-19 list, has faced extra pass rushers on 42.7 percent of his 2020 snaps -- the highest rate of any quarterback who's started more than one game this season, per Next Gen Stats. Meanwhile, typically blitz-averse Broncos coach Vic Fangio just unleashed hell on the Jets to great effect, sending extra rushers on 40 percent of snaps in a six-sack pressure bonanza, with much of the heat coming from inside linebackers A.J. Johnson and Josey Jewell. Welcome back -- and watch your back! -- Cam.


UPDATE: The Patriots cancelled practice Friday after another positive COVID-19 test.

Rank
11
4
Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 17

2020 stats: 4 games | 69.9 pct | 1,016 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 10 pass TD | 1 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
12
9
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · Year 7

2020 stats: 5 games | 73.4 pct | 1,460 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 73 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
13
9
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins · Year 16

2020 stats: 5 games | 70.6 pct | 1,344 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 131 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
14
4
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 21

2020 stats: 5 games | 64.3 pct | 1,375 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 12 pass TD | 4 INT | 6 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
15
3
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 13

2020 stats: 5 games | 63.2 pct | 1,472 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT | 23 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
16
7
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · Year 4

2020 stats: 5 games | 66.9 pct | 1,451 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 9 pass TD | 5 INT | 83 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
17
1
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 3

2020 stats: 5 games | 61.2 pct | 976 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 9 pass TD | 4 INT | 32 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
18
Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2020 stats: 5 games | 69.9 pct | 1,439 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 87 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
19
1
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 2

2020 stats: 5 games | 69.6 pct | 1,299 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT | 296 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
20
6
Drew Brees
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · Year 20

2020 stats: 5 games | 71.0 pct | 1,331 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 9 pass TD | 3 INT | -2 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
21
13
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · Year 17

2020 stats: 5 games | 70.8 pct | 1,227 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 1 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
22
5
Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 1

2020 stats: 5 games | 65.2 pct | 1,304 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 85 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
23
NR
Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton
Dallas Cowboys · Year 10

2020 stats: 2 games | 75.0 pct | 111 pass yds | 9.3 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
24
5
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · Year 12

2020 stats: 4 games | 60.6 pct | 1,017 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 3 INT | 45 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
25
1
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 5

2020 stats: 5 games | 60.0 pct | 1,188 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 6 pass TD | 9 INT | 122 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
26
1
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 9

2020 stats: 5 games | 64.0 pct | 1,132 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
27
NR
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 7

2020 stats: 3 games | 60.6 pct | 467 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 9 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
28
2
Nick Foles
Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · Year 9

2020 stats: 3 games | 63.7 pct | 680 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | -5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
29
NR
Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · Year 2

2020 stats: 2 games | 60.5 pct | 236 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
30
2
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 2

2020 stats: 5 games | 61.0 pct | 1,111 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 2 pass TD | 5 INT | 130 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
31
NR
Kyle Allen
Kyle Allen
Washington Football Team · Year 3

2020 stats: 1 game | 69.2 pct | 74 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 7 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
32
NR
Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco
New York Jets · Year 13

2020 stats: 2 games | 57.1 pct | 211 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 20 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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