Things we learned from NFL Week 17: QBs remain predictive, whether starting or backing up

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Things we learned from Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season:

1. You know that old adage – the one suggesting if you have two or three starting-caliber quarterbacks on your roster, then you don’t really have one? Might be time to rethink that. Sixty-four different QBs have now started this season, most ever in a non-strike campaign.

2. The New York Jets (Mike White), Miami Dolphins (Teddy Bridgewater), Tennessee Titans (Joshua Dobbs), Las Vegas Raiders (Jarrett Stidham), Washington Commanders (Carson Wentz) and Arizona Cardinals (David Blough) all made changes under center from Week 16 to 17.

2a. None of those quarterbacks engineered a victory Sunday … so maybe that aforementioned adage was proven airtight after all?

3. The Jets’ 23-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks eliminated them from playoff contention, extending their league-worst drought. The NYJ last reached postseason in 2010.

4. The San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy entered the season third on the team’s quarterback depth chart. Sunday night, the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 draft (as the last player selected) joined Virgil Carter, Mike Kruczek, Ben Roethlisberger and Phil Simms as the fifth rookie QB to win his first four starts.

4a. Purdy also has multiple TD passes in each of his past five appearances. Only Justin Herbert possesses a longer streak (seven games in 2020) among rookie passers since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

5. Purdy and the Niners escaped the Raiders, who benched QB Derek Carr, in overtime, giving San Francisco a shot at claiming the NFC’s No. 1 seed and the first-round bye and home-field advantage that come with it.

6. Another backup, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Gardner Minshew II, dropped his second straight start after the NFC East leaders surprisingly stumbled Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Philly is suddenly just about out of runway after the NFC’s top seed once seemed a fait accompli … though the Birds can still secure it by beating the New York Giants – Big Blue is now locked in as the NFC’s No. 6 seed – in Week 18.

7. The Eagles’ two-game skid without injured QB Jalen Hurts might also have the unintended consequence of boosting his MVP case amid suggestions many quarterbacks would thrive given the benefit of being surrounded by Philadelphia’s Pro Bowl-laden roster.

8. Of course Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes may just about have the MVP hardware locked up. Sunday, he joined Drew Brees and Tom Brady as the only players to throw for 5,000 yards in a season more than once.

8a. Mahomes, who also has the most TD passes in the league, reached 40 for the second time in his career.

9. Speaking of previous league MVPs, Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers ran their winning streak to four Sunday, embarrassing the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings 41-17. However, the touchdowns the Pack scored on special teams and defense sparked their victory more so than Rodgers. But with a win at Lambeau Field in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions, Rodgers and Co. are going back to the playoffs as road warriors.

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