Instant Debate

Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady playing QB at the highest level

Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 12 touchdown passes in the past two weeks, setting an NFL record. Meanwhile, Tom Brady has put together an 18:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio during the Patriots' current five-game winning streak, Peyton Manning is on pace for a sick line of 5,144 yards/48 touchdowns/10 interceptions and Andrew Luck leads the league in throwing yards and touchdown passes. Then there's Aaron Rodgers, whom Packers coach Mike McCarthy claims is "much better" than he was in his spectacular 2011 MVP season.

Yes, a number of quarterbacks are playing the position at a high level in 2014. But who's playing it at the highest level right now?

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  • Charley Casserly @CharleyCasserly
  • Brady's been on an absolute tear over the past five weeks

My choice is Tom Brady. Over the past five weeks, the Patriots quarterback has posted a 120.5 passer rating -- the highest mark in the NFL during this span -- with 18 touchdown passes against just one interception. Not coincidentally, New England has gone 5-0 in this period, with a pair of blowout victories over first-place teams: Cincinnati and Denver. In the win over the Broncos, Brady outplayed Peyton Manning, who once again is having a stellar season of his own and, prior to Sunday's game, might've been playing better than any other QB. Brady also took it to a Bills team that currently sits at 5-3, racking up 361 passing yards and four touchdowns during the 15-point win in Buffalo.

What Tom Brady has accomplished in the last five weeks is incredible, but the answer is Ben Roethlisberger. Don't overthink it. Twelve touchdown passes in the past two weeks, including six against a Colts team that came into Pittsburgh feeling pretty good (and rightly so) about its defense. For good measure, six more TDs against the hated Ravens on national TV.

The key words to this question are HIGHEST and RIGHT NOW. While I would argue, as one of 50 AP voters, that the MVP race at the half reads 1) Brady, 2) Andrew Luck, 3) Big Ben, 4) Aaron Rodgers, there is no quarterback playing more majestic and eye-popping ball at this very moment than Roethlisberger.

Wait until he gets ahold of the Jets this weekend!

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  • Chris Wesseling @ChrisWesseling
  • Honestly, there are five acceptable answers

The only wrong answer to this question is a definitive claim that one of the quarterbacks is on a separate plane from the others. We're blessed to witness five future Hall of Famers at the height of their powers and -- with the exception of Brady -- enjoying the fruits of the best supporting casts of their careers.

There are so many different ways to view these quarterbacks. Rodgers has been the game's premier player since his 2010 title run. Manning is the best regular-season quarterback in history. When it comes to winning one game, Brady is an assassin. When it comes to picking the best franchise cornerstone, Luck is the obvious choice. For a heat-check in the current climate, nobody is playing at a higher level than Roethlisberger over the past two weeks.

Ask me again next week.

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  • Gil Brandt @Gil_Brandt
  • Hard to choose between Roethlisberger and Brady, but I'll go with ...

I'll take Ben Roethlisberger by the narrowest of margins over Tom Brady. Big Ben is on pace for 4,836 yards and 39 touchdowns, both of which would easily be career-high marks. He's also the only player in NFL history to post back-to-back regular-season games with six touchdown passes.

Of course, no quarterback is an island. A number of things are helping Roethlisberger operate at this level, from the Mike Munchak-coached offensive line to the emergence of Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton to the off-the-charts play of Antonio Brown. Still, the 32-year-old signal-caller is currently outplaying elite contemporaries Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck -- and that's worth taking note of.

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