3 NFL QB questions that need answering, and 1 that has been answered with certainty

We'll need to wait for some of the biggest questions related to NFL quarterbacks answered, but Jordan Love has made his presence known.

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Justin Fields' future in Chicago is hard to get your head around

The Chicago Bears, for the second consecutive year, will end the season with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Last year, confident in what they had with Justin Field at quarterback, they traded the No. 1 pick to the Panthers.

This year, that confidence in Fields has waned at times, but gauging it at this point is tough to do reliably.

We're three years into his career and can't put a finger on how good of a quarterback Fields truly is. Honestly, him keeping pace with his lowly first half might have made things easier for Chicago. Instead, he's done just enough to inspire some hope that maybe he's finally figuring it out, but not quite enough to say so with certainty.

If the Bears were making their first selection later in the first round -- like 10th overall, where their own pick is set to be -- this would be a far easier question to answer. You likely go ahead with Fields under center and continue to build around him.

But now, at No. 1 overall, you have the full spread of rookie quarterbacks that could completely change your franchise's future at your disposal. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, Michael Penix Jr., they'd all be available to Chicago.

Quarterback efficiency, first and second half NFC
Quarterback efficiency, first and second half NFC /

Has Fields done enough? He's in the top 10 in EPA per play growth in the second half and top-5 in CPOE growth. But even as he's progressed, he still remains somewhat middling at best. In the second half of the season he's 16th in EPA per play and 11th in CPOE, just about average in both categories.

Is Patrick Mahomes going to will the Chiefs to victory in the playoffs?

Jan. 2020, en route to the Kansas City Chiefs' first Super Bowl of the Patrick Mahomes era, Mahomes and the Chiefs were down 21-0 in the first quarter to the Houston Texans in a divisional round playoff game.

Mahomes and the Chiefs looked down and out, only to storm back and hold the Texans to 10 points in the following three quarters, winning 51-31 and hoisting a Lombardi Trophy weeks later.

The lesson, I think, is that you are wise to not count Mahomes out. Or, maybe more precisely, the lesson is to think long and hard before deciding he's done for.

The way he and the Chiefs are playing, though, it's worth questioning whether or not this current receiving corps will get it done for Mahomes. He's playing below average in CPOE and EPA per play in the second half, and in terms of EPA per play, no quarterback has declined more than him in the second half of the season.

It feels wrong to count Mahomes out. We'll find out soon enough whether or not he and Kansas City can turn on the playoff boosters.

Will we get the ultimate AFC Championship QB matchup?

Taking a look at the likely AFC playoff picture gives the impression that there are several interesting quarterback matchups fans would love to see.

Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence. Pluck any two and you like the odds of a classic playoff game between them being the result.

Quarerback efficiency, AFC
Quarerback efficiency, AFC /

Perhaps most interesting would be Jackson and Tagovailoa. Jackson is looking like an MVP candidate, and Tagovailoa is leading one of the most fire-powered offenses we've seen in quite some time. Tagovailo is fourth in EPA, Jackson ninth. Same rankings in CPOE.

They're also the two top-scoring teams in the NFL.

It feels like it could be the quintessential AFC Championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. Will it materialize?

Jordan Love has been great

Like his division rival Justin Fields, Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love has staged an impressive second-half turnaround this season, only Love's has been even more consequential and convincing.

The first few weeks into the Jordan Love era, there were some reasonable concerns over whether or not the Packers had chosen the right player to put under center following highly successful eras led by Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay lost as many as four consecutive games with Love as the starter and through its first eight games had a record of just 3-5. Excuses were available for the youthful Love, who had his No. 1 receiver Christian Watson just sporadically available, and the entirety of his main receiving corps youthful and growing along with him.

Love, himself, wasn't doing himself favors, though, including an interception a game and an addition four fumbles in the first eight weeks.

In the first eight games, Love produced a 0.053 expected points added per play and a completion percentage above expected of -3.5%. Since? 0.225 expected points added per play and a CPOE of 3.70 percent. Just one quarterback (Geno Smith) has improved more in CPOE and one (Matthew Stafford) in EPA/play.

Best of all? He's got one game left, and the Packers are essentially postseason locks if they can win this one.

Love is good. Real good.

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