Like any book that's still in the process of being written, we don't know what the 2023 NFL season will ultimately be remembered for. But we don't need to see how this season ends to know it will at least partly be remembered for the alarming amount of starting quarterbacks who spent most of the year on the sideline with injuries. 

Aaron Rodgers offered an unfortunate foreshadowing of the coming months when he injured his Achilles in Week 1. Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Daniel Jones, Deshaun Watson, Kirk Cousins and Anthony Richardson followed suit by suffering season-ending injuries. Kenny Pickett, the Steelers' second-year quarterback, is hoping to play again this season after undergoing ankle surgery earlier this month. 

In football, one man's misfortunate is another man's opportunity. Several backup quarterbacks have made the most of their opportunity to play this season. Surprisingly, most of the teams that have lost their starting quarterback to injury have not gone in the tank. Actually, some of those teams have continued to play winning ball and could very well be playing when the playoffs begin next month. 

While most of the team's backups are playing because of an injury, the Patriots decided to replace Mac Jones with Bailey Zappe after Jones won just two of his 11 starts. The Raiders also changed course, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with Aidan O'Connell after Antonio Pierce became interim head coach. 

So, which teams have received the best play from their backup quarterback? We decided to find out by ranking the best backup quarterbacks who are currently being tasked with replacing their team's starter. 

1. Jake Browning

Jake Browning
CIN • QB • #6
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Yes, Browning benefits from having a supremely talented supporting cast that includes Pro Bowl wideout Ja'Marr Chase. But I'm not going to hold that against Browning, who has made the most of his opportunity so far. 

Browning was solid in his first start agains the Steelers except for the fact that he and the Bengals offense scored just 10 points in a six-point loss. Browning and Co. responded by putting 34 points on the board a week later in a season-saving win over Jacksonville. Browning changed the complexion of the game with a beautifully thrown, 76-yard touchdown pass to Chase in the third quarter. He finished the night by directing the game-winning drive in overtime. 

He wasn't quite as good this past Sunday against the Colts, but Browning showed impressive resolve after throwing a pick-six that temporarily tied the score. He responded by leading the Bengals to 20 unanswered points while completing 75% of his passes in a blowout win. 

2. Tommy DeVito 

Tommy DeVito
NYG • QB • #15
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DeVito is more than just a good story of a local kid who is finding stardom on his hometown team. He is a good quarterback who is accurate, athletic and is good at taking care of the football. 

Along with his tangibles, DeVito also has impressive poise in tight situations. He calmly led the Giants on the game-winning drive on Monday night when other quarterbacks in his position may have failed to rise to the moment. His 32-yard completion to Wan'Dale Robinson on the Giants' final drive set up Randy Bullock's game-winning field goal as time expired. 

If there's a knock on DeVito, it's that he hasn't put up big numbers against an elite team (even though he did beat a tough Patriots defense). DeVito will get his chance to do that with two upcoming games with the Eagles

3. Joe Flacco 

Joe Flacco
IND • QB • #15
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This might be a prisoner-of-the-moment statement, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Flacco's impressive outing during this past Sunday's win over the Jaguars wasn't a fluke. Flacco looked less like his current 38-year-old self and much more like the 27-year-old who won Super Bowl MVP. 

It wasn't perfect, but Flacco played exceptionally well given that it was only his second start for the Browns after signing with the team less than a month ago. He also came through when it mattered most, which was one of his calling cards during his prime years in Baltimore. An example of this was his 41-yard touchdown pass to David Bell on a fourth-down play that proved to be the game-winning score. 

The truth is, we really don't know how good Flacco is at this point in his career. Prior to this season, he spent the previous four years largely as a backup on subpar teams. Given what we saw on Sunday, it's safe to say that the Browns offensive talent and Kevin Stefanski's play-calling have brought out the best in Flacco at this stage of his career. 

4. Gardner Minshew 

Gardner Minshew
LV • QB • #15
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Watching Minshew play football is a truly unique experience. In a league where quarterbacks would rather drink poison than throw an interception, Minshew is a throwback gunslinger who never fails to make things interesting, or stressful if you're a fan of the team he plays for. 

Obviously, being a gunslinger has its fallbacks, usually in the form of interceptions. Minshew has made his share of ill-timed throws, but the Colts will probably live with those plays as long as he continues to make the right play more often that not while helping Indianapolis stay in playoff contention. 

5. Zach Wilson 

Zach Wilson
DEN • QB • #4
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Wilson just edged out the next two quarterbacks on this list, and the reason was simple. Wilson's 301-yard, two-touchdown performance in last Sunday's 30-6 win over the Texans is better than any game either quarterback has had this or last season. The next step for Wilson is proving that he can play at a more consistent level week in and week out. Jets fans shouldn't expect last Sunday's performance to be the norm from Wilson, but they should expect more consistent play from him moving forward. 

6. Bailey Zappe

Bailey Zappe
NE • QB • #4
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Like Wilson, Zappe benefits from just coming off one of the best games of his career. On a short week, Zappe fired three touchdowns in the first half in an eventual road win over the Steelers last Thursday night. Zappe played with poise for most of the night while rewarding the Patriots' faith in him. 

Unfortunately for Zappe, last Thursday might be as good as it gets this season, as the Patriots finish the season with four challenging games. It'll be interesting to see how Zappe fares in those games as he looks to make his case to be the Patriots' long-term starter. 

7. Mitch Trubisky 

I took no joy in putting Trubisky this low. He's a pro's pro who handled last year's demotion with class. But the film doesn't lie, and the fact is that Trubisky's play so far this season has been disappointing. 

That being said, Trubisky hasn't been put in the best situations, so it's fair to think that he will play better down the stretch for Pittsburgh. He was put into the starting lineup with the Steelers preparing to play two games in a five-day span; not an easy task for any quarterback, let alone a backup. Pittsburgh's mini bye following last Thursday's loss to New England should lead to better results. 

Really, though, it comes down to Trubisky making better decisions. The Steelers also need to do a better job calling plays that complement the things he does well. 

8. Nick Mullens 

Nick Mullens
MIN • QB • #12
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Experience is the biggest reason why Mullens got the nod over the last two quarterbacks on this list. The 28-year-old has 17 starts under his belt. He's also played in several systems and has had some success along the way. In fact, he made history with the 49ers by becoming the first player in franchise history to throw three touchdowns in his first game with the team. 

Like Trubisky, Mullens has been in the league for a while. But the difference between the two is that Mullens may still have some untapped potential as he has spent most of his career as a backup. He will get his chance to show some of that potential now for a Vikings team that is fighting for a playoff spot. 

9. Aidan O'Connell 

Aidan O'Connell
LV • QB • #12
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It's hard to really know how good O'Connell is giving the Raiders' current state. But you'd think that he would be better given the talent he has around him that includes perennial All-Pro Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, the league's reigning rushing champion. O'Connell needs to pick up his game over the next month in order to make his case to be in the mix to be the Raiders' starting quarterback next season. He can start by cutting down on the turnovers and leaning more into what he does best. 

10. Easton Stick 

Easton Stick
LAC • QB • #2
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Stick is like the box of chocolates Forrest Gump once famously alluded to. You have no idea what you're going to get from him as he has thrown just 25 passes in a regular-season game. 

Based on his past, it looks like Stick knows how to find the end zone. He threw 88 touchdown passes at North Dakota State that included 56 during his final two seasons. Stick was also good when it came to avoiding interceptions. 

Accuracy, though, was another story, as Stick finished his college career with a pedestrian 61% completion percentage. That's not a good sign given the fact that it is much harder to complete passes in the NFL

Stick's mobility, however, is a strong part of his game that the Chargers will surely look to showcase. He ran for an eye-popping 41 touchdowns in college, so be on the lookout for some RPO's over the Chargers' final four games.