The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
• "I don't know how mentally tough Carson Palmer is. He just looks fragile. The Raiders would have gotten their (butts) kicked if Jay Cutler was playing for the Bears and then they lost by 20 to Miami. … I heard him talking about how exhausted he was and how he hit a wall (last week) after moving his family to the Bay Area. Why did he move his family now? Then he was talking about how he learned so much. Where is the new learning? I thought the reason Hue (Jackson) brought him there is because he worked with him before and he knew the system. They gave up two first-round picks to get him? That might go down in the books with the Herschel Walker trade — the biggest bust ever."
• "The reason Miami is winning right now is because they are healthier than everyone else. Give Bill Parcells credit — if there is one thing he understands, it is that you make the playoffs by what you do in November and December. He built a big team that plays big and they have weathered the storm. Outside of the quarterback, whom have they lost. When the rest of the league is rested, they will still have the same problems they did early."
• "When you think about the way the Ravens put together the team — you've got to give them a lot of credit. The offense was a work in progress, and it keeps getting better and better, and they are not even peaking yet. (C) Matt Birk was hurt early. (ORG Ben) Grubbs was out for a significant time. (GM) Ozzie (Newsome) signed (OLT) Bryant McKinnie and put (Michael) Oher at right tackle. It's like switching from batting left-handed to right — it's more difficult than you'd think. And it worked. Ozzie has done an outstanding job."
• "You look at (NFL executive VP of football operations) Ray Anderson's track record — when has he ever done anything? He doesn't know if it's pumped or stuffed. The best thing Atlanta ever did was push him out the door. If he is hired on the team side again, it will be a mistake."
• "The Vikings did not (have a winning record) last year. They only have two wins this year. The defense is playing very average. They gave up 35 points at home to an option quarterback. They gave (Adrian) Peterson all that money, and he got hurt. The question you have to ask yourself — if they would have started with (Christian) Ponder instead of (Donovan) McNabb, would they have been better? Bringing McNabb into the building was a blunder — no doubt about it."
• "You look at Buffalo's decision to extend (QB Ryan) Fitzpatrick. It was kind of like buying a stock. His stock went through the roof, and Buffalo said — I am going to buy it. The next thing you know, the price cuts in half. What happens if the Bills start negotiating now — would they have paid what they did? You never negotiate when a guy has all the leverage."
• "The key to any good football league is strong quarterback play. When the CFL was most popular was when Warren Moon and Doug Flutie were up there. The USFL had (Jim Kelly and) Steve Young. You want to know what makes the NFL? It is quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. They put fans in the seats. They win championships. They sell the game."
• "When you look at Jacksonville, how many of their players are on injured reserve from offense, where the problem lies? One starter — that's it. The majority of their injuries are on defense, but that is not where their problems have been. So you can't use injuries as an excuse there."
• "I have a sinking feeling about the 49ers coming down the stretch. I think they are going to be one and done. What scares me — all of a sudden I see talk about the quarterback's contract situation and how he played his way into an extension — it is the kiss of death."