Quarterbacks. We love them. We debate them. And we do it all because, at the end of the day, they're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe. It's possible to win without an elite signal-caller, but history shows it's much easier otherwise. So we're keeping tabs on all 32 starters throughout the 2023 season.
Which ones are the best of the best? And which ones could be nearing a demotion? All QBs are partly a product of their respective situations, but this is how we'd sort today's signal-callers right now. These power rankings, unlike offseason QB lists, are focused more on current standing than the bigger picture in an effort to tell the story of quarterbacks' respective rises and falls.
Without further ado, the latest pecking order:
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
|Among this year's top passers, he's simply been the steadiest. It sounds like a broken record, but his downfield timing with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle is unmatched. Up to 18 TDs in eight games, he's point-guarding an all-star offense. (+2)
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
|Everything is a little harder than it should be in Buffalo, and we all know Allen's rocket arm is prone to forced throws. But this guy is on pace for well over 40 total TDs this year. The Bills wouldn't be above .500 without him playing superhero.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
|With each additional week as new coordinator Todd Monken's dynamic starter, Jackson's bid for a second MVP award strengthens. He's more efficient than when he threw 36 TDs back in 2019, and his scrambling speed is still intact. (+1)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
|He's yet to go consecutive games without losing the ball in some way, but he's also rediscovered some of the downfield touch that made him an MVP candidate in 2022. Only Josh Allen has more total TDs, and his Eagles never blink. (+1)
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
|He still sets the standard at QB, and no one warrants more trust when it matters most. But his nonchalant heaving to a so-so wide receiver corps is growing costly; he's up to nine turnovers in eight games, making K.C. look vulnerable. (-4)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
|Give him the Bears defense in prime time, and he'll show you in a hurry why he still belongs in the upper tier of young signal-callers. Now let's see how the gifted Herbert handles a tougher test in the Jets defense next Monday night. (+2)
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
|Joe Cool appears to be all the way back. Sluggish and conservative to open the year, Burrow was lights out against the suddenly beatable 49ers "D" in Week 8, not only as a deep-ball artist but as a play-extender in and around the pocket. (+6)
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
|He and the Jaguars haven't been the world-beaters some advocates anticipated ahead of the season. But his resiliency is underrated. He's had a 100 QB rating in four of his last five starts, helping spearhead Doug Pederson's now-6-2 attack. (+3)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
|Has he been "figured out" after another late-game turnover spree? Eh, the kid's still making lots of pretty throws for an undermanned offense. But it's clear, when under fire to regain rather than preserve a lead, he'll put balls in play. (-2)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|These aren't massive numbers, but they're noteworthy: in Dallas' 2-0 stretch since a bad loss to the 49ers, Prescott's run 11 times for 59 yards and a score. He's best at dishing the ball around, but it's a sign he's still got value on the move. (+2)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
|He's got an underrated thing for tossing pick-sixes, but he bounced back nicely to help Detroit cruise past the Raiders in prime time and get back in the "W" column. Give him adequate protection, and he's playoff-caliber. (-2)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
|Two weeks after a hapless loss to the Chiefs , Wilson delivered as a red-zone decision-maker to outduel Mahomes, boosting his season TD total to 16, the third-best in the NFL . The issue has been expanding quick reads to the rest of the game. (+2)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
|Stroud's Offensive Rookie of the Year bid has lost a touch of steam in recent weeks; he's failed to clear 200 yards in back-to-back games. But seven starts into his career, you've gotta love the composure he's brought to Houston's pocket. (-3)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
|Ill-fated decisions are becoming the norm for him through the air; he's now up to 14 picks in his last 15 games dating to last year. But Geno's also still got some of that crunch-time spunk, outlasting the tough Browns defense in Week 8. (+2)
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
|If only he played the Eagles every week! The Commanders ' game script often forces him to throw more than he should, but this kid's got serious zip on downfield targets. Only three active starters have racked up more yards through the air. (+3)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
|There's been some scuttlebutt about the Bucs weighing a demotion here, but to whom? Mayfield's been perfectly serviceable for a middle-of-the-road spoiler. He's too erratic to elevate their group, but he nearly upset the Bills, too. (+1)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
|He's often played things painfully safe for a Saints team that seems to like ugly, low-scoring games, but his deep connection with Rashid Shaheed is worth monitoring. There's a real chance he can still end 2023 as the NFC South's best QB. (+3)
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
|For a backup permanently summoned to the starting lineup, Minshew's been just fine; in fact, the Colts have been far more effective moving the ball than they should be, losing their QB1 to injury. But "fine" hits different when your "D" is a sieve. (+1)
Will Levis Tennessee Titans QB
|Hello there. The Falcons may not be juggernauts, but the way Levis effortlessly chucked bomb after bomb on them in his NFL debut was outrageously encouraging for a Titans offense that's long been content to play ugly offensive football. (+12)
Taylor Heinicke Atlanta Falcons QB
|Coach Arthur Smith insists Desmond Ridder was pulled and kept out in Week 8 due to injury, but anyone with eyes could see Heinicke has a more natural feel for NFL speed. He's better off the bench, but he does represent an upgrade.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
|The Packers aren't doing him a ton of favors with their setup, strategy and execution. But Love's impressive arm talent hasn't translated to basic, consistent results. And you worry the steadily rising INT total (8) will affect his confidence. (+1)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
|The numbers still aren't gaudy for Young; they may not be for a long time. But he looked the part in every way outdueling C.J. Stroud for the Panthers ' first win in Week 8. Give him space to operate, and he knows where to put the ball. (+5)
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
|Banged up for the second time this season, Pickett insists he's gonna play on a short week after exiting Week 8 early with a rib injury. You can't say he lacks toughness, that's for sure. But it'd be nice if he could put together a complete game, too.
Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders QB
|Yikes. He's not wholly to blame for the Raiders' offensive ineptitude, but he's not helping the cause, either. He had zero chemistry with Davante Adams coming back from injury in Week 8, but he was also helpless behind a bad line. (-3)
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
|With backup Tyrod Taylor knocked out of action while relieving Jones, the Giants ' regular starter is set to return against the Raiders . Stay tuned on whether that's good news in New York. Jones has struggled to push the ball.
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
|In the last year and a half, Jones has bumbled through an 8-14 stretch while throwing 23 TDs to 19 INTs, averaging just 6 yards per throw. That's probably just as much an indictment of New England's designs, but it stinks nonetheless.
Tyson Bagent Chicago Bears QB
|The Division II product fell back to earth under the lights in Week 8, tossing two picks in an early hole against the Chargers . He also kept plays alive and, like the injured Justin Fields before him, can only control so much in a mercurial offense. (+2)
P.J. Walker Cleveland Browns QB
|Until Deshaun Watson actually plays 60 minutes again, the Browns are basically Walker's team, which is wild considering he joined the active roster Sept. 30. He's a fighter, but he's also yet to hit even 53% of his throws in a game. (+2)
Clayton Tune Arizona Cardinals QB
|The rookie will make his first start in place of the demoted and now traded Joshua Dobbs against the Browns, even with Kyler Murray apparently on the mend. He figures to be even more of a traditional pocket passer for Arizona.
Jaren Hall Minnesota Vikings QB
|The fifth-round rookie was thrust into action when Kirk Cousins exited in Week 8, and now he's the de facto fill-in until newly acquired Joshua Dobbs gets up to speed. Hall hadn't thrown an NFL pass until last Sunday.
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
|What a curious player he's been for one of the most curious teams in the league. Wilson is often credited for simply avoiding turnovers, which speaks to the low bar that's been set, but he did step up in crunch time to edge the Giants in Week 8.
Brett Rypien Los Angeles Rams QB
|Matthew Stafford is battling a hand injury after exiting Week 8 and failing to return. In the meantime, the ex-Broncos backup Rypien could be in line for his first start since last December.