NFL Week 16 QB Power Rankings: Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now

Last time we dropped these rankings, I pointed out just how absurd Patrick Mahomes season has been. And now, I'm going to move him out of the top spot. You know the old saying -- to be the best, you've got to beat the best. And Philip Rivers did just that last Thursday, toppling the Chiefs, exorcising some demons and vaulting himself into the thick of the MVP race with a 14-point, fourth-quarter comeback in Kansas City.

Mahomes is still probably going to win the award. He'd need to lay an egg in Seattle and the Chiefs would have to lose and the Chargers would have to win out for that to happen. 

But these rankings aren't about an MVP debate. It's who I think is playing the best quarterback in the NFL right now. And Philip Rivers -- right now -- is the best quarterback in football.

It's a combination of things for him to hit that mark. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are having down years by their lofty standards. Ben Roethlisberger has been up and down depending on the situation (home vs. road, good opponent vs. bad opponent, etc). Jared Goff and Drew Brees have had bad stretches over the last month, give or take. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson haven't been as consistent as Rivers. Rivers just beat Mahomes. 

Repeat after me: right now Philip Rivers is the best quarterback in the NFL. 

It's possible that I'm cursing Rivers heading into a tough matchup against the Ravens on Saturday night. He could struggle, particularly if Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are limited at all (did I mention he stormed back on the Chiefs without his top wide receiver and without his top running back?), but I kind of anticipate the Chargers being able to slow down Baltimore's vaunted rushing/read option attack and then being able to open up their offense a bit on play action to put the game away. 

Rivers hasn't been perfect all season, but no one has. He had two bone-headed picks against Kansas City to put his team in bad position. But he dragged the Bolts off the mat and put them in a spot where they can grab the No. 1 seed in the AFC if things break right this weekend. He deserves the recognition. 

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To the rankings:

QB Rankings Week 16
1
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
Has a shot to lead his Chargers to the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
2
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
STILL A MONSTER. Don't @ me. Mahomes is great.
3
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
Brees is fading from the MVP race a bit thanks to three bad games, but let's not forget they've all been on the road and the Saints won two of them thanks to the defense coming on strong.
4
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
He had an ugly game (72 passing yards!) in an ugly win over the Vikings two weeks ago and alright numbers against the 49ers, but Wilson is still playing some really good football.
5
Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts QB
Marlon Mack was the star against Dallas and the TDs have trailed off a bit the last few games, but Luck is going to come close to replicating his 2014 season.
6
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans QB
Watson's last four games are pretty remarkable: 74.4 completion %, 248.8 yards per game, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Texans have won three of four, with their only loss a close game to the Colts.
7
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Except for having to throw 56 times against the Broncos, Roethlisberger's had a nice little run over the last five games. The Steelers are back in good shape, but they should be even better off.
8
Tom Brady New England Patriots QB
Tom Brady is making mistakes we've never really seen him make. The guess is he gets back to being a little more efficient and smart with the ball at home against Buffalo (but they've got a good defense ...)
9
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
Rough go of it for Jared Goff the last two weeks. Does he miss Cooper Kupp that much? Is he that susceptible to pressure? Have teams caught onto the Rams approach? They need to get him right against the Cardinals.
10
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
Rodgers looked great against the Falcons at home and then against the Bears on the road ... not so much. He missed a LOT of throws. It might benefit the Packers to shut him down for the season.
11
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns QB
This is probably aggressive, but Baker is winning some big-time games and I anticipate a Vengeance Outing 2.0 against Hue Jackson this coming week.
12
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
Kirk Cousins also has a ton of garbage time yards and he's been up and down for Minnesota for the last five games. Leaning on Dalvin Cook should make him more efficient, but the overall numbers will come down.
13
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
Matt Ryan would be much much higher if the Falcons weren't terrible. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell pointed out, Ryan leads the NFL in garbage time production with a hefty 628 yards.
14
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
Mitchell Trubisky bounced back big against the Packers after struggling versus the Vikings and Rams. On the whole he's developing nicely right now. We'll see how the playoffs shake out.
15
Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles QB
This is me just refusing to bet against Nick Foles who continues to get white hot in December and January and, gulp, February.
16
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Horrible performance against the Colts by the entire Cowboys offense. Prescott had been much better since the Amari Cooper trade though.
17
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Did you know that over the last three weeks Josh Allen is the highest scoring quarterback in fantasy football? Wild stuff, man.
18
Jameis Winston Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
A nice little stretch by Jameis Winston was derailed last week against the Ravens. Let's see how he does against the Cowboys in a second straight road game.
19
Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans QB
I'm fully convinced Marcus Mariota is going to have a post-hype breakout in 2019. It wasn't the 88 yards on Sunday, just a gut feeling.
20
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
Derek Carr hasn't thrown an interception since October 7. Huh.
21
Sam Darnold New York Jets QB
Sam Darnold is answering the bell down the stretch for the Jets and has looked pretty sharp his last few games.
22
Nick Mullens San Francisco 49ers QB
Why did C.J. Beathard start for this team?? Why did Nick Mullens get exposed to the practice squad?
23
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
This is probably the week the Lamar Jackson bandwagon comes skidding to a halt. I think he's been good though -- he is SO dangerous on the ground and has been underrated passing the ball. Rough matchup on the road, finally against a good defense.
24
Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins QB
Bad game against a good Minnesota defense that wasn't his fault -- Ryan Tannehill was sacked NINE TIMES.
25
Case Keenum Denver Broncos QB
What do the Broncos do next year at quarterback? Case Keenum hasn't been perfect, but he's done enough to win them games. He's also due a lot of money.
26
Eli Manning New York Giants QB
Eli Manning was on a bit of a roll until the Titans shut the Giants out. New York is 100 percent convincing itself to keep him next year. IT's almost too perfect.
27
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
The numbers in Stafford's last five games -- 1,010 yards, 3 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 6.3 yards per attempt -- are pretty staggering.
28
Josh Rosen Arizona Cardinals QB
Every week Josh Rosen has no protection and, thus, no real hope.
29
Taylor Heinicke Carolina Panthers QB
We have no earthly idea what Taylor Heinicke will do for the Panthers, but I have a suspicion it can't be THAT much worse than what a broken-down Cam Newton was doing.
30
Josh Johnson Washington Redskins QB
Fun fact: Blake Bortles has never lost to Josh Johnson.
31
Jeff Driskel Cincinnati Bengals QB
Jeff Driskel is at a serious disadvantage, because there are no receivers on the Bengals who are healthy right now.
32
Cody Kessler Jacksonville Jaguars QB
Jacksonville is heading to South Beach for a week where they probably are checking out. Best of luck to Cody Kessler.
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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