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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 16 rankings:

Week 13 QB Power Rankings
1
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Aaron Rodgers has better numbers, and we'd still take No. 12 for any must-win game, but Mahomes' unmatched arm talent is still enough to keep him up top. There's no counting him out, at any point in any matchup.

Last week: 1

2
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
The only reason he might not win MVP is because Patrick Mahomes has a lighter schedule to close the year. Matt LaFleur should be extremely confident going into the playoffs. 

Last week: 2

3
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
If the Bills roll to the AFC title game, no one should be totally shocked. Mostly because of this guy, who legitimately belongs in the MVP conversation.

Last week: 4

4
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
Remember when he was a lock to win MVP? Those days are long gone. It's still hard to bet against him as we approach postseason time.

Last week: 3

5
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans QB
It still feels wrong hyping up a QB of a team that's been bad all year, but Watson has rarely been the reason for Houston's hiccups. Again, imagine him on the Ravens or Titans.

Last week: 5

6
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Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
Welcome back, good sir. Brees was underrated before going down and now he's good to go for what the Saints hope will be a race to the NFC title game.

Last week: Unranked

7
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
One of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs of the year. Tannehill is somehow still not getting the national attention he deserves. The guy has thrown 31 TDs this year!

Last week: 8

8
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
He's really got to cut down on the forced throws, but by golly do his physical gifts make him a home-run threat until the end. A little better decision-making and he'd be an MVP candidate.

Last week: 6

9
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
This speed demon is going to ruin someone's playoff dreams. Yes, he's still got to prove himself throwing deep in a big game, but his talent will always keep the Ravens in it.

Last week: 7

10
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
The Bucs still do not seem entirely in sync, which could cause issues in January. But Brady has turned it on enough when he's needed to.

Last week: 5

11
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
The kid has been slinging it all year. Just wait until the offseason, when you're reading 20 deep dives about why he's a low-key 2021 MVP candidate.

Last week: 10

12
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
The Vikings have themselves a conundrum here: Cousins is clearly the best QB they've had for a while, and yet it's apparent he's not lifting this current core to serious heights.

Last week: 12

13
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns QB
This guy is playing some really good football for a really good team. The way he's been able to evolve as a steady hand for their ground-based attack has been impressive.

Last week: 15

14
Philip Rivers Indianapolis Colts QB
It's going to be interesting to see how he responds in a playoff situation with a new team, but he's done a nice job cutting down on the potentially back-breaking throws lately.

Last week: 16

15
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Boy oh boy have things changed in the last month. This guy was the Steelers' MVP during their 11-0 run, and now? He genuinely looks closer to retirement than ever.

Last week: 11

16
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
He deserves some credit for airing it out with ease against Tampa Bay, but it's too little, too late. A wasted season for both Ryan and the Falcons.

Last week: 19

17
Teddy Bridgewater Carolina Panthers QB
Teddy looked an awful lot like a top-half-of-the-league starter for so much of 2020, but he's wilted in too many crucial situations lately. Matt Rhule can't be thrilled with the way the season's progressed.

Last week: 14

18
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
The Lions aren't any good, and Stafford isn't saving them, but their GM and head coaching decisions will go a long way in deciding whether he gets a chance at fresh scenery.

Last week: 18

19
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
He certainly makes Doug Pederson's offense look better. He's not perfect, but he's awfully promising for a rookie. Lots of mobility and, even better, lots of poise.

Last week: 21

20
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Can the Dolphins actually rely on him to take over a big game? Probably not yet, but he's at least flashed in his time atop the depth chart. Lots to look forward to in Miami.

Last week: 20

21
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
How on Earth can the Rams be satisfied at the QB position going into 2021? No, they can't easily get out of his deal, but everything says they should explore competition.

Last week: 16

22
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
Now just watch Mitch play his way into a new deal with Chicago. In fairness, he has looked at least competent as of late, mostly because the Bears finally decided to let him play on the move.

Last week: 22

23
Marcus Mariota Las Vegas Raiders QB
He played pretty darn well filling in for Derek Carr on short notice, but let's temper our expectations. The Raiders as a whole are declining at the wrong time, so he'll need a Superman performance to save their season.

Last week: Unranked

24
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
He may or may not be back this week and, honestly, it might not matter considering the way the Giants are trending. Can anything salvage his best qualities for the 2021 season?

Last week: 23

25
Andy Dalton Dallas Cowboys QB
If only he strung a couple of these decent performances together! Dalton benefited from a good defensive showing in Week 15, and it's still unclear if he's even a solid backup option for the team beyond 2020.

Last week: 27

26
Drew Lock Denver Broncos QB
Another week, another costly turnover that put Denver in an early hole. They can't solely bank on him totally reversing course in 2021.

Last week: 24

27
Gardner Minshew Jacksonville Jaguars QB
The numbers in Week 15 were pretty good, but they almost exclusively came once the game was already wrapped up. Trevor Lawrence, here we come?

Last week: 28

28
Cam Newton New England Patriots QB
Cam may say he wants to fix things in New England, but the Patriots should be looking elsewhere. As should he.

Last week: 26

29
Sam Darnold New York Jets QB
Hey, hey, hey, a little life from the former first-rounder! And how convenient for him, securing a win that might also ruin the Jets' chances at drafting a surefire replacement! (Unless Justin Fields is now their guy.)

Last week: 32

30
Alex Smith Washington Football Team QB
Even if he's back, Washington's offense is nothing to write home about. Are they capable of winning the East? Sure. Who isn't? But the reality is he's a subpar QB at this point in his career.

Last week: 30

31
Ryan Finley Cincinnati Bengals QB
He may have only completed seven passes, but he just beat the Steelers defense! Give this man some props.

Last week: Unranked

32
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Nick Mullens San Francisco 49ers QB
This spot may very well be occupied by C.J. Beathard moving forward. Doesn't matter. The Niners need help, badly.

Last week: 29