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Mike Meredith graphic

As goes the quarterback, so goes the team. It's not always true in the NFL, but it usually is. And it makes sense: In a passing league, the passers are like royalty -- the biggest influences on whether a team is destined more for a Super Bowl title or a No. 1 draft pick.

Each year the limits of aerial production are tested, and this season appears to be no exception. It's with that in mind that we come to you with the most important pecking order outside of traditional team power rankings: QB Power Rankings. Consider this your cut-and-dry guide to the best and worst of the NFL's signal-callers -- a weekly 1-to-32 rundown of every starter under center.

How are the QBs ranked? We try to factor in their current standing, their history of success and their future upside, but it's probably simpler to think of the rankings as a general answer to this question: Which QB would we rather have right now, not only for this week but for the rest of 2020?

Now, without further ado, let's get to the Week 15 rankings:

Week 13 QB Power Rankings
1
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Not the best week for the best QB in the NFL, but you're still riding him into the playoffs with no hesitation. Give him one minute or give him 15 seconds, and you're guaranteed a shot at victory. 

Last week: 1

2
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
The last three weeks will decide it, but don't mind us if we crown Rodgers the MVP right here, right now. A Chiefs-Packers Super Bowl would be a delight just for the QB duel. 

Last week: 2

3
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
It only took playing the Jets defense to get him back on a roll. Still, when push comes to shove, like Mahomes, you trust his natural skills and poise to get the job done, regardless of the circumstances. 

Last week: 4

4
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Oh yeah, baby. The biggest misjudgment of the offseason, for this writer, was thinking Buffalo slightly overpaid for Stefon Diggs. Allen's connection with him is superb, and the duo has the Bills looking like a true AFC contender.

Last week: 5

5
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans QB
Beneath the playful hyperbole about Mitch Trubisky outplaying him Sunday is a real conversation about Watson's ability to overcome his surroundings. Still, he's been remarkably efficient considering Houston's downfall. 

Last week: 3

6
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
Still not sure we fully trust him to make all the right throws in a big game, but until he proves he's no longer one of the game's most electrifying dual threats, it's hard to write him or the Cardinals off at any point.

Last week: 6

7
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
If he were just a touch more consistent with the downfield throws, he'd be in the MVP discussion again. We're all taking for granted how much damage he does with his legs, because no one's batting an eye at his bid for another 1,000-yard season. 

Last week: 9

8
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
Gosh, if Tannehill ran more (and he doesn't have to), he'd be a lock for the top five over athletic freaks like Jackson and Murray. He's everything the Titans need him to be, though, and will get a great chance to surprise the world (again) in the playoffs. 

Last week: 8

9
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
Tom's numbers don't really reflect how uneven his Bucs debut has been. But until Tampa is officially out of it, it's impossible to write him off. The arm is still there; can it work within the system down the stretch? 

Last week: 10

10
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
All eyes are on Chargers ownership/management to make sure this ship is righted for Herbert in 2021. 

Last week: 11

11
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Big Ben is certainly not the sole person to blame for Pittsburgh's rough couple of weeks, but he hasn't been particularly inspiring, either. Come playoff time, he's going to have to step up and throw the ball downfield. 

Last week: 7

12
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
It's mostly the same story with Kirk: If you want a chance, he'll give you that much. If you want someone to take over a game, you might want to look elsewhere. His finish could go a long way in determining the team's offseason plans.  

Last week: 13

13
Derek Carr Las Vegas Raiders QB
Uh oh, did we speak too soon in declaring Carr a top-10 QB a few weeks ago? Seems like it. Once again, Las Vegas is slipping down the stretch, and Carr isn't exactly helping them stay afloat. 

Last week: 12

14
Teddy Bridgewater Carolina Panthers QB
The knock on Teddy right now is that he isn't capitalizing on any game-winning opportunities late in contests. Like Cousins, he's probably more a good, if unspectacular, QB than a franchise-defining one.  

Last week: 14

15
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns QB
How about some applause for Big Baker? Considering the depleted WR corps he's working with, Mayfield has been throwing with authority in some important games. Yes, he's got ground support, but you have to like what you're seeing lately.

Last week: 19

16
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
He's fine when operating in the confines of Sean McVay's system, but we're guessing the Rams hoped for a little more than 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions when they coughed up $130 million. 

Last week: 15

17
Philip Rivers Indianapolis Colts QB
Rivers probably deserves a bump up here considering he's been generally steady for a playoff contender, but we're still not sure we'd rather have him than guys like Goff and Bridgewater come postseason time. 

Last week: 17

18
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
The clock almost has to be ticking on his departure, right? The Lions' best path forward, beyond 2020, is probably to reboot the offense, complete with an auction of Stafford and a hunt for a new QB for the long haul. 

Last week: 18

19
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
Falcons fans are now openly discussing the hurdles of getting out of Ryan's contract. He's very capable of a rebound, but the talk is warranted. During a bad few years, he's been more average than great.

Last week: 16

20
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Miami would be wise to increase the option packages and let Tua have freedom moving around the pocket. He's probably still a year away from making a serious run, though we shouldn't count this club out.

Last week: 21

21
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
It remains to be seen what happens when teams force Hurts to throw the ball more traditionally, but he's got a lot of life in those legs, injecting some looseness into a once-stiff Eagles offense.

Last week: 23

22
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
Here comes Mitch! Nobody get carried away, but Trubisky has been pretty solid since that bad Green Bay game. 

Last week: 28

23
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
You wonder if it's even worth it for the Giants to trot him out at half-speed. Part of what makes Jones intriguing, when he's healthy, is the ability to utilize his legs at will.  

Last week: 22

24
Drew Lock Denver Broncos QB
These are the weeks when you wonder if you might have something in Lock. The guy can sling it. But can he go two straight weeks without a back-breaking miscue? 

Last week: 26

25
Taysom Hill New Orleans Saints QB
Look, all things considered, he's been just fine operating the Saints' offense on the fly. But we all know, come playoff time, New Orleans needs a more conventional point guard to keep up with the big dogs. 

Last week: 24

26
Cam Newton New England Patriots QB
This year has not been all on him, but goodness, if you're the Patriots, how can you even be excited at the prospect of running it back in 2021? Newton is dealing with a lot of issues, but he's just not inspiring on his own, either. 

Last week: 20

27
Andy Dalton Dallas Cowboys QB
Hey, at least he'll always have that Week 13 revenge game against the Bengals to look back on.

Last week: 29

28
Gardner Minshew Jacksonville Jaguars QB
Minshew Mania is back in action. Just don't count on it resurrecting the Jaguars' already-lost season. 

Last week: Unranked

29
Nick Mullens San Francisco 49ers QB
A QB switch might be on tap here, because Mullens, while competent, has been far too loose with the football.

Last week: 27

30
Alex Smith Washington Football Team QB
His story is great, but come on: He's not been a good QB this year. You might get flashes here and there, but for both the short and long term, the ceiling is incredibly low.  

Last week: 25

31
Brandon Allen Cincinnati Bengals QB
Sounds as if he'll be OK despite getting hurt against Dallas. Not that it matters much, with the Steelers on deck. 

Last week: 31

32
Sam Darnold New York Jets QB
Gross. Imagine, in 2018, knowing he'd be a country mile behind not only Baker Mayfield but Josh Allen. 

Last week: 32