It's time for Cutler to become Manning's equal

What it all adds up to is Manning has helped his team win more. In five of Manning's eight seasons, his teams have had winning records. But Cutler's teams have had a winning record in only one of his five seasons as a primary starter.

Those records aren't all about the quarterbacks though. Manning has played on better teams.

Manning has been sacked on 4.7 percent of his dropbacks throughout his career. Though Cutler was protected reasonably well Friday night, he has been sacked on 6 percent of his dropbacks through his career.

Manning also has had another very significant advantage over Cutler. He has played on the same team, with many of the same players, with the same basic offensive system.

Cutler, meanwhile, has played on two teams and has had five offensive coordinators. It's almost impossible for a player like Cutler to compensate for the lack of continuity early in a career.

Manning also has a two-year head start on Cutler. Two years ago, Manning was nowhere near as respected as he is now.

So the 29-year old Cutler remains a work in progress. He need not be limited by what he has been up to this point. Cutler is hitting the sweet spot of his career, and he has a wonderful opportunity this season

Cutler never will be "Easy E." He is a different type of player and person. But Cutler is capable of being Manning's equal.

All he has to do is win.

Twitter @danpompei