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.

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, now condensed to focus solely on the playoff QBs.

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 the 2020 season?

Now, without further ado, let's get to the wild-card rankings:

Wild-Card QB Power Rankings
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
He's maybe thrown one too many potential picks lately, but only according to his ridiculous standards. The guy is robotic in his ability to find the open man, deliver the ball with perfect touch and come up big in the clutch. Patrick Mahomes is the superior talent, but there's no one who deserves more trust right now than Rodgers. The road to the Super Bowl runs through him.   

Last week: 1

Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
The dangerous thing about Mahomes is that he really only needs one drive -- regardless of how much time is left -- to steal a game. One throw, maybe. Where Rodgers has the edge in experience, Mahomes just straight-up has the NFL's deadliest arm. The fascinating X-factor here is whether Kansas City just cruising on autopilot for so long will actually affect his playoff debut. 

Last week: 2

Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Don't his signature boom-or-bust miscues of last year's playoffs seem so distant now? The way he plays the game, you still can't rule out a turnover or two, but by golly, he's got more than enough talent to overcome even a few big hiccups. He can make any throw, especially downfield. He can run hard. The Bills deserve all the hype they're getting because of his breakout.

Last week: 3

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
It's crazy how Wilson went from being no-brainer MVP favorite to virtual afterthought heading into the playoffs. That seems to be where he operates best anyway, as the understated but incomparably gifted pocket wizard of Seattle's run-first attack. There's a good chance he'll be pushing into the top two or three, so long as the 'Hawks defense gives him a chance. 

Last week: 4

Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
All year, Brady floated around or just outside of the top 10 thanks to an erratic chemistry with his unmatched Tampa Bay weaponry. But we're probably not talking enough about the fact he still threw 40 touchdowns in his Bucs debut. Somehow, some way, he's flown a little under the radar amid a hot close to the season. And we all know the postseason is his time. 

Last week: 9

Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Say what you want about his mediocre completion percentage, but as long as Jackson is on the field, the Ravens have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs. If you don't fear his ability to consistently attack through the air, you most certainly fear that his legs will tear you apart. This is a huge postseason for the third-year starter; let's see how he takes the challenge.

Last week: 6

Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
You can easily make the case that he belongs above Jackson here, and maybe even Brady. He pairs every mistake with five times as many steady-handed decisions, serving as the perfect counterpart to Derrick Henry's rough-and-tumble ground game. The question is, when you absolutely need a big play to win a big game, can he be the guy to give it to you?

Last week: 8

Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
All signs point to Brees nearing the end of the road in the NFL, but the talk of his physical demise has been pretty exaggerated this year. He's got an underrated challenge against the Bears defense to open things up, but the calmness, the pocket presence, the short- and mid-range touch is all there. He's got more than enough command to make another run here. 

Last week: 11

Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Which Big Ben is going to show up in the playoffs? That's the Steelers' million-dollar question. The guy looked darn near defeated during Pittsburgh's slump before finally airing it out in his last start. If he's somewhere in the middle, the Steelers should be able to win at least one playoff game. His play-making isn't what it used to be, but he's too gritty to count out. 

Last week: 12

Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns QB
He's been a fighter all season, shepherding Kevin Stefanski's ground attack and methodically taking shots when he needs to. Much like the remainder of the QBs on this list, the big unknown with him is whether he's got what it takes to lift his team consistently, if needed. The Browns will already be down one of his chief supporters in Stefanski (COVID) against Pittsburgh. 

Last week: 15

Philip Rivers Indianapolis Colts QB
Rivers may very well be playing for his job starting now. The veteran has been solid, if unspectacular, this season, but with retirement either a few weeks or a year away, Indy will be trying to figure out whether it can count on him to lead another run in 2021. He's going to need to step up right away against a powerful offense in Buffalo. 

Last week: 16

Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
Since reclaiming his job from Nick Foles, Trubisky has been good enough to keep Chicago competitive and, obviously, make the playoffs. But he hasn't been great enough, especially in key spots, to convince you the Bears are going anywhere. His athleticism and downfield touch are still apparent, but he's got to make better decisions on crucial downs and in the red zone. 

Last week: 20

Alex Smith Washington Football Team QB
Washington can celebrate winning the NFC East, and Smith's journey remains admirable, but the fact is, he's just not a great QB right now. Almost totally dependent on horizontal and short-area passes, he's not even close to threatening opponents down the field. He's also lost a ton of mobility, understandably. WFT might win with him, but not primarily because of him.

Last week: 30

John Wolford Los Angeles Rams QB
His legs were promising in the Rams' Week 17 win over Arizona, and he rebounded from a rough start. But there's just not a whole lot else to be inspired by as Los Angeles looks to upset Seattle in spite of his presence as Jared Goff's fill-in. But hey, it's the playoffs, so never say never. 

Last week: 32