QB Confidence Index: Rating NFL quarterback situations

The NFL season can dramatically affect one’s confidence — in either direction. Sometimes what you thought you knew in August turns out to be dead wrong. Sometimes you’re happy about that, and sometimes you’re not.

Which brings us to the latest edition of ESPN’s Quarterback Confidence Index, also known as the toughest one yet.

Remember, the index ranks each team’s confidence in its overall quarterback situation. It does not simply rank starters, assess 2017 performances or predict who will be good the longest. We have to factor in health — short term and long term — age, contract situations and quality of backups.

Which makes things confusing when you factor in the following:

  • The Patriots, who have been the no-brainer No. 1 since we started doing this last year, have traded both of the well-regarded backups to their 40-year-old starter since August.
  • The Vikings are winning games with a third-stringer, and all three of their quarterbacks are eligible for free agency.
  • The Giants’ surprise late-season benching of Eli Manning for Geno Smith.
  • The 49ers could have their QB of the future on their roster, but he hasn’t actually started a game for them (though he will this week).
  • Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Carson Palmer, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck are all hurt.
  • The whole Bills thing.

With all of that in mind, this thing has been shaken up — starting right at the very top.