QBs primed for title breakthrough

Bears, Eagles among teams that can win Super Bowl with improved QB play

Originally Published: August 14, 2014
By Steve Palazzolo | Pro Football Focus

Jay CutlerAndrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsWith an improved supporting cast, Jay Cutler and the Bears could make a playoff run this season.

While the merits of NFL quarterbacks are often discussed under the guise of their perceived "eliteness" and ranking on top-10 lists, recent years have shown that memberships in those clubs are not necessarily prerequisites for playoff success and a Super Bowl championship. Eli Manning was certainly not among the league's best quarterbacks in 2007 before his Super Bowl run, and the same can be said for Joe Flacco in 2012.

Subsequently, conjuring up the late-season magic doesn't automatically vault a quarterback into the imaginary land of the elite, but all that NFL teams need is a quarterback capable of stringing together a three- to four-game run of strong play. While this is certainly easier said than done, the number of quarterbacks capable of making this happen around the league is not as thin as our pre-set lists make it seem.

Here are five quarterbacks who may have enough surrounding talent to take the next step and lead their teams to a Super Bowl victory this season.

• Senior analyst at Pro Football Focus
• Contributes regular columns to ESPN Insider