The 2022 NFL season’s playoff race is simply beginning to warmth up, and a whole lot of eyes shall be on every contender’s quarterback down the stretch. Some passers at the moment are hitting their stride, whereas others have seen potential considerations creep into their video games. And some groups face tough choices surrounding their QB scenario, whether or not or not it’s over the remainder of the season or within the upcoming offseason.
We known as on our NFL Nation reporters to reply 12 massive questions across the sport’s most necessary place via two thirds of the season. Can the Giants alleviate among the pass-rush strain on Daniel Jones, will the Payments determine Josh Allen’s sudden purple zone turnover woes, and might the Chargers unlock Justin Herbert’s downfield throwing? How will the Packers, Jets and Seahawks strategy offseason choices? Can the Vikings and Patriots preserve profitable with marginal quarterback play? What’s subsequent for Justin Fields, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa? And at last, what is the Saints’ plan below heart for the remainder of the season?
Let’s dive in, beginning with a rising concern for one of many NFL’s finest signal-callers.
BUF | CHI | CIN | GB | LAC | MIA
MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | SEA
Are purple zone turnovers turning into a problem for Buffalo’s Josh Allen?
Sure, it is turning into a sample. Now, not all of that’s on Allen — the offense as an entire has not regarded the identical because the crew’s bye in Week 7. And Allen’s proper elbow damage can even proceed to linger, which has performed a component in his efficiency. However it does not clarify away the variety of purple zone turnovers that simply weren’t there earlier in his profession.
Allen has been intercepted within the purple zone in 4 of the previous 5 video games, in comparison with simply twice in his earlier 67 video games. The 4 picks lead the NFL and are essentially the most by any participant since 2019, not together with a further fumble. The Payments are getting into an important stretch with three straight AFC East video games, and correcting the purple zone turnovers shall be very important. — Alaina Getzenberg, Payments reporter
Was the key to unlocking Justin Fields’ sport so simple as getting him on the transfer extra typically?
Chicago’s offense wasn’t capitalizing on Fields’ dynamic speeding talents in the course of the first six weeks of the season. Now he’s on tempo to interrupt the Bears’ single-season quarterback speeding report (968 yards) and at present ranks seventh amongst all gamers with 834 speeding yards via 11 video games. The Bears personal the NFL’s No. 1 speeding offense, and Fields is a giant a part of that together with his 11.1 makes an attempt per sport.
The following a part of serving to Fields attain his full potential shall be creating his expertise as a passer, although. He has proven he could make performs occur exterior of the pocket and on the run. Getting him to win from the pocket will take his sport to the following stage. Area’s QBR from exterior the pocket is 61.8 (sixth within the NFL) this season, but it surely drops to 25.0 (thirty first) from inside it. — Courtney Cronin, Bears reporter
Is Joe Burrow poised to hit one other stage as soon as receiver Ja’Marr Chase returns to the Bengals’ offense?
It appears that evidently approach. The Bengals have received three of the previous 4 video games regardless of Chase’s absence and quietly changed into among the best offenses within the league. Burrow has completed nicely with out his high goal, with Cincinnati rating fifth in passing yards per sport (257) and fourth in factors per sport (28) since Week 8. However he’s twenty third amongst qualifying QBs in air yards per try (6.7) in that point.
If Chase might help the Bengals change into extra explosive offensively — since he entered the NFL, 23.4% of Chase’s receptions have gone for 20-plus yards — it might be a large enhance for a crew with Tremendous Bowl aspirations. — Ben Child, Bengals reporter
What are the probabilities the Packers choose up Jordan Love’s fifth-year possibility?
Common supervisor Brian Gutekunst has already been on the report saying he does not envision a state of affairs wherein Love and Aaron Rodgers are each on the Packers’ roster in 2024. It will be far too value and cap prohibitive. The Packers will know earlier than the choice deadline in Could about Rodgers’ standing for 2023, however even when he returns for subsequent season, he is not more likely to determine then what he desires to do in 2024.
Impartial of the Rodgers side, the Packers would possibly nonetheless must see Love play extra this season earlier than they’ll make a remaining name on his possibility. Love nonetheless has simply 80 move makes an attempt over his profession since being drafted within the first spherical in 2020 (three landing passes, three interceptions). — Rob Demovsky, Packers reporter
Will Mike Williams’ return imply Justin Herbert lastly begins throwing downfield extra this season?
Maybe, but it surely’s removed from sure. Herbert is averaging 6.5 yards per try, which ranks thirtieth within the NFL. And his 6.1 air yards per try ranked thirty fourth of 35 qualifying quarterbacks, forward of solely Matt Ryan.
Coach Brandon Staley mentioned many components have contributed: “It’s a combination of how defenses are playing us. It’s a combination of the transition within our offense from a personnel standpoint and trying to play to the strengths of our team that is out there in a given week.”
A part of the transition within the offense has been the absences of not solely Williams but additionally receiver Keenan Allen — who was sidelined many of the season earlier than returning in Week 11 — and left sort out Rashawn Slater (on injured reserve and changed by a rookie). It’s honest to suppose, nonetheless, that Williams’ eventual return will permit Herbert to look downfield extra typically. Amongst receivers with 250 or extra targets since 2020, Williams’ 12.5 air yards per goal ranks fourth. — Lindsey Thiry, Chargers reporter
Stephania Bell and Area Yates focus on why Justin Herbert is poised for appreciable fantasy success over the following a number of weeks.
Who has made an even bigger influence in Tua Tagovailoa’s bounce this season, receiver Tyreek Hill or coach Mike McDaniel?
It is an inconceivable query, however McDaniel will get a slight edge right here. Not solely did he design this offense, however he additionally took it upon himself to assist rebuild Tagovailoa’s confidence over the offseason. Sure, the Dolphins’ offense would possible be much less efficient with out Hill in it — the Miami receiver is main the NFL in receiving yards with 1,233, and in accordance with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, his 30% goal share is the third highest within the league — but it surely’s onerous to say whether or not it could even work in any respect with out McDaniel on the sideline.
None of this, after all, takes away from Tagovailoa’s personal growth since getting into the league. His 82.8 Complete QBR by far paces the league, and his 69.7% completion share trails simply Geno Smith. — Marcel Louis-Jacques, Dolphins reporter
The Vikings are 9-2, however Kirk Cousins is simply No. 23 in QBR. Can Minnesota proceed to achieve success with common/inconsistent QB play?
Cousins is the primary to confess he has not performed nicely sufficient to fulfill the requirements of a division-winning crew. However he’s coming off finest particular person QBR efficiency of the season (84.8 in a 33-26 victory over the Patriots), and it is honest to challenge continued enchancment as he grows extra comfy in coach Kevin O’Connell’s scheme. Extra importantly, Cousins has made distinctive throws throughout key fourth-quarter and time beyond regulation possessions, and he is a giant purpose the Vikings are 8-0 in one-score video games this season. — Kevin Seifert, Vikings reporter
Let’s reset the place the Patriots are with Mac Jones: Are they entrenched of their perception that he is their long-term reply?
Jones is coming off his finest outing of the season, regardless of the loss to the Vikings (28-of-39 for 382 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions). He confirmed shades of 2021, when his promise had excited the fan base and training employees. There was no indication that the Patriots have wavered that Jones is the long-term reply, particularly amongst gamers.
“This year has been tough at times, going through an injury and battling his way back. The leader he is, we continue to ride him. … I’m glad he’s our quarterback,” veteran tight finish Hunter Henry mentioned.
Jones’ 35.3 QBR ranked twenty eighth within the NFL, however he’s finishing 69.2% of his throws (third) and has completed sufficient to maintain New England proper within the playoff image. — Mike Reiss, Patriots reporter
Will we see Jameis Winston below heart for the Saints once more this season?
It is not out of the query. Saints coach Dennis Allen brazenly contemplated the potential of switching quarterbacks final week however in the end determined to stay with Dalton, which prompted Winston to publicly lament dropping his beginning job due to damage. Dalton’s beginning place has appeared contingent on the Saints’ offense performing nicely, and it is possible no person’s job is secure after a shutout loss to San Francisco on Sunday. Nonetheless, the problems towards the Niners went nicely past Dalton’s play, and it appears unlikely he’d be focused because the wrongdoer for that loss. — Katherine Terrell, Saints reporter
What can the Giants do to lighten the pass-rush strain on Daniel Jones?
Jones is being pressured on the third-highest charge (38.5%) this season, but he has a completion share over expectation within the blue (plus-0.2%), through to NFL Subsequent Gen Stats monitoring. The Giants getting their beginning offensive line wholesome ought to assist a bit of; it is attainable three starters return this week towards Washington. That will not essentially enhance their move blocking in a dramatic approach, however it is going to be an enormous enhance to their run sport given the strengths of the person gamers. And getting Saquon Barkley again on observe (61 speeding yards over the previous two video games) ought to barely ease the strain on Jones. — Jordan Raanan, Giants reporter
Have the Jets already realized Zach Wilson is not the reply? Might they draft one other QB in April?
The Jets clearly have some questions on Wilson, or they would not have benched him in the course of a playoff push. However they’re additionally not going to draft one other quarterback and begin over so quickly. The Jets see themselves as a win-now crew and do not need to restart the rebuilding cycle.
In the event that they do exchange Wilson, it could be with a confirmed veteran like, say, Jimmy Garoppolo. However they have not even reached that time but. Publicly, the Jets insist Wilson is their future regardless of a 44.4 QBR and 4-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season. — Wealthy Cimini, Jets reporter
Is it extra possible the Seahawks re-sign Geno Smith after his big season or draft a quarterback early in Spherical 1?
It is too early to make a name on this with any diploma of confidence due to all of the unknowns at play. The Seahawks would little doubt need to re-sign Smith if he maintains his play from the primary half of the season, however what’s going to his market seem like after one robust season that adopted seven as a backup? Will Smith drive a tough discount to be able to make up for all the cash he did not earn whereas taking part in on minimum-salary offers? He is at present fifth in QBR at 64.2 and is main the NFL in completion share at 72.8%.
Take into account that Seahawks GM John Schneider got here up with the Packers below Ron Wolf, who drafted quarterbacks usually despite the fact that Inexperienced Bay had Brett Favre entrenched because the starter. So it is believable Seattle might preserve Smith both on a multiyear deal or a franchise tag and additionally draft a quarterback early. The Seahawks have the Broncos’ first-rounder, which is at present projected to be No. 2 general, per ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index. — Brady Henderson, Seahawks reporter