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Lunchbreak: Cousins Continues to Move Up NFL.com's QB Rankings

"Movin' On Up" isn't just The Jeffersons theme song.

It also happens to describe Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and his progress in NFL.com's weekly QB rankings.

After being listed at No. 7 last week, Minnesota's passer improved to No. 6.

The rankings are created by averaging the point totals given by NFL.com's Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr.

The Vikings are 9-4 heading into their final road trip of the regular season, and Cousins currently has a 70.1 completion percentage, which ties his career-high set last season. He's racked up 3,274 yards and 24 touchdowns through the air and has just four interceptions to his name. Cousins' passer rating is a career-high 112.0.

Filice wrote the following of Cousins:

At what point do we stop expecting Cousins to crash back to Earth? After another squeaky-clean showing against Detroit (24 of 30, 242 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT), The 84 Million Dollar Man boasts the kinds of figures that make his fully guaranteed contract look like a bargain. Over 70 percent completions, a 24:4 TD-to-INT ratio, a 131.8 passer rating off play-action and a 128.1 mark on passes of 20-plus yards (both per Pro Football Focus) – with much of that produced without Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen, who hasn't caught a pass since October thanks to an uncooperative hamstring. What more must he do to put lingering doubts to rest? When does a hot quarterback become an unassailably great quarterback? I know, I know: He has to ball in the postseason. It just seems improper to dismiss months of exceptional play because The Narrative says so.

Cousins surpassed Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who dropped two spots on the list despite Green Bay's defeat of Washington last week. The Vikings will face Rodgers and Co. on Monday Night Football on Dec. 23.

The top five quarterbacks, starting with No. 1, were Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees.

The Saints lost to the 49ers in an offensive shootout last week, and if the season ended today, the Vikings would be headed to New Orleans for the Wild Card round.

Brees' 40-year-old arm isn't the same, but his beautiful football mind is firing on all cylinders. Brees reads defenses like an intellectual reads books: voraciously. And he's a speed reader, to boot. According to Next Gen Stats, Brees has the second-fastest average time to throw (TTT) among qualified quarterbacks this season at 2.53 seconds.

[…]

In a quarterbacking world of howitzer arms and fleet feet, Brees is beating opponents with computer processing ability.

Zimmer remains 'baffled' by Week 2 pass interference call

The rule change surrounding review of pass interference calls has been an interesting one, to say the least.

Rarely has a pass interference call (or non-call) by NFL officials been overturned. But one of the very few instances of an overturn occurred after a replay review in Week 2, and Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is still stumped at the instance that took a touchdown off the board for Minnesota.

Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press wrote about the play:

In Week 2 on Sept. 15, the Vikings thought Kirk Cousins had thrown a 3-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 1:08 left in the first half to potentially cut a 21-7 deficit to 21-14. However, a replay review, which is done after every scoring play, resulted in a controversial pass interference penalty on running back Dalvin Cook. The Vikings had to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal to make it 21-10.

The Vikings (9-4) eventually lost 21-16. That defeat could end up keeping them from winning the NFC North over the Packers (10-3).

Zimmer spoke with Twin Cities beat reporters via conference call on Thursday and was asked about the rule.

"The pass interference in Green Bay that we got called on that kept us from scoring a touchdown … that one, of the ones that I've seen, that one has me baffled," Zimmer said.

The rule change was implemented on a one-year trial basis after an obvious pass interference penalty late in regulation was not called on the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game last January at New Orleans. The Saints lost 26-23 in overtime, and the non-call likely cost them the game.

Pass interference challenges are allowed by coaches, and they also can be reviewed by the booth in the final two minutes of each half and after scoring plays. Initially, few coaches won challenges, but more have been won recently.

"It's really hard to tell," Zimmer said. "There's a bunch of them they didn't overturn, then they're starting to overturn some. It's very ambiguous to the players and the coaches. It was voted in for one year, so hopefully they either fix it or get rid of it because it is not the way it was intended to be from my understanding from being in the meetings."

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