Mike Sando (ESPN Insider) re-joins Dave to discuss some of the most surprising teams in the NFL. He explains how health and personnel have fueled the Bengals’ breakout season and how Miami and Oakland have gone in different directions with their developing quarterbacks. They discuss the disaster in Dallas and the value and trade-offs necessary to budget for backup QB’s and Mike breaks down how the Seahawks’ strangely poor record even while winning turnover battles bodes well for their chances later in the season.
Dave and Mike then go on to discuss Mike’s revised “Insider QB rankings” and look at some of the rising and falling stars at the position this season. Mike discusses the risk/reward trade-offs of Aaron Rodgers’ “second reaction plays” and explains how the player personnel framework of “can we win with this guy?” has led to the benching of Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning. Finally, Mike makes his case for why Cam Newton’s performance this year should be judged less on metrics like QBR and more on his ability to fulfill the role his team needs him to play in the offense. The show rounds out with a look at the key Jets at Texans match-up and what it means for the AFC playoff picture.