Something strange is going on with passing games around the NFL. Surely, you've sensed it, too. You saw the likes of Patrick MahomesRussell Wilson, and Dak Prescott all fail to score even 10 points in six-point-per-pass-TD leagues, with Derek CarrRyan TannehillJoe Burrow, and Matt Ryan all putting up poor performances as well. This was not a one-week thing, either.

In fact, we've seen a dip in QB play for a month straight, maybe more. In Week 5, NFL quarterbacks collectively posted a passer rating of 96.1, with 8.0 yards per target; they haven't hit either of those marks since. In fact, they haven't come close: The highest league-wide passer rating since Week 5 is just 92.8, while the highest Y/A is an abysmal 7.13, both in Week 7. 

Over the past four weeks, quarterbacks have been above 7.0 yards per attempt just once; for context, the league average in 2020 was 7.2, and 22 of 35 qualified QBs were above 7.0. League-wide, touchdown rates are down to 4.2% since Week 6, compared to 4.9% through the first five games; interception rates are similarly up from 2.1% through five games to 2.5% since. 

These are pretty significant changes to have occurred in the middle of the season, and it's hard to come up with one good explanation, though I do think there is one possible answer. Along with those drops in overall production, we've also seen intended air yards per target fall from 8.2 through five weeks to 7.5 since. Now, we've seen teams like the Bills and Chiefs be periodically flummoxed by teams looking to take away the deep ball, and it's fair to wonder if that might not be happening more and more around the league. If opposing defenses are more willing to play soft coverage and allow teams to try to move the chains with short passes and runs rather than in chunks, that could have a pretty profound effect on the way the position plays moving forward, potentially in favor of rushing quarterbacks even more. 

Or maybe it's just a weird fluke. Smarter folks than me will have to figure that one out. All I know is, right now, the QB position isn't what it used to be, and with Dak Prescott likely playing without his top two options and Kyler Murray and Mahomes on a bye, that may not change in Week 12, either.

Here are my QB rankings for Week 12. To see the rankings from Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings, make sure you head here.  

Week 12 QB Rankings

  1. Lamar Jackson vs. CLE
  2. Tom Brady @IND
  3. Jalen Hurts @NYG
  4. Justin Herbert @DEN
  5. Aaron Rodgers vs. LAR
  6. Tua Tagovailoa vs. CAR
  7. Cam Newton @MIA
  8. Matthew Stafford @GB
  9. Kirk Cousins @SF
  10. Joe Burrow vs. PIT
  11. Russell Wilson @WAS
  12. Tyrod Taylor vs. NYJ
  13. Teddy Bridgewater vs. LAC
  14. Taylor Heinicke vs. SEA
  15. Ben Roethlisberger @CIN
  16. Carson Wentz vs. TB
  17. Matt Ryan @JAX
  18. Daniel Jones vs. PHI
  19. Mac Jones vs. TEN
  20. Trevor Lawrence vs. ATL
  21. Jimmy Garoppolo vs. MIN

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