To their everlasting credit, SportsNation did prefer Kyle Orton to JaMarcus Russell when ranking NFL quarterbacks on the eve of the 2009 season. Then again, given the option, they probably would have ranked Vince Evans, Y.A. Tittle and Shane Falco ahead of Russell.
The Nation's No. 30 field general back in August, Orton earned his fifth star Sunday, throwing for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns in an upset win against the Patriots and Tom Brady, the guy voters ranked No. 1 two months ago.
But Orton, who wouldn't have an interception to his name if not for a pick by Randy Moss at the end of the first half Sunday, isn't the only quarterback with upward mobility. The Nation's fourth-ranked quarterback when the 2007 season began, Carson Palmer had slipped to No. 11 this preseason. But after another upset win for the Bengals this week, this time in Baltimore against the Ravens, is he once again top-5 material?