Quarterbacks. We love them. We debate them. And we do it because they're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe. Not that it's impossible to win without an elite signal-caller, but history tells us that 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? Which ones are decidedly not? 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 each QB's respective rise and fall.
Without further ado, the latest pecking order:
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
|Yes, Kyle Shanahan's designs and weapons make his job easier. But there's something to be said for the way Purdy doesn't back down from a challenge, shrugging off early heat from the Eagles in Week 13 to carve up Philly on the road. He's the most efficient passer in football, and his confidence at age 23, barely through Year 2, gets taken for granted. (+1)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
|He needs to start seeing the field better if the Eagles intend to return to the Super Bowl, but even after a tough loss to San Francisco, it's safe to say he's been the NFL's most clutch QB for much of 2023. Besides his undeniable crunch-time rushing, he leads the league with seven comeback victories, including a trio of fourth-quarter deliveries. (-1)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|After weeks of spreading the ball all over inferior teams, Prescott is finally getting the MVP talk he deserves. Again, competition is a factor, but he's capitalizing, feeding CeeDee Lamb and rediscovering the subtle mobility that marked his early-career rise to make Dallas a dangerous wild card contender, if not NFC East and No. 1-seed challenger. (+2)
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
|He isn't getting much MVP love because the Bills are snake-bitten at 6-6, and of course the risky throws are part of that; only Sam Howell has more picks. But he's a walking highlight reel, doing all he can to offset Buffalo's porous defense.
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
|Is this the first year where it's safe to say Mahomes just isn't capable of taking his current supporting cast to the promised land? That may be premature. He's still fighting until the buzzer with a makeshift receiving corps. But the rhythm is off. (-2)
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
|Give him a shoddy defense, and he'll air that baby out until Tyreek Hill approaches 200 yards. Playoff tests await, but in the meantime, Tagovailoa's been a fun watch when he has time to chuck it. Only Purdy averages more yards per throw. (+2)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
|He's the first rookie to lead the NFL in passing yards (3,540) after any single week since 1950. It's a testament to the swagger he's brought to the pocket in Houston, and he remains reason No. 1 his club is in the playoff mix.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
|Since a hot start under new coordinator Todd Monken, things have cooled down for Jackson in November, which perhaps uncoincidentally is also when Mark Andrews went down. His legs could be a huge factor in the colder weeks ahead. (-2)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
|A key trend has emerged for Goff in Detroit: Almost immediately following his biggest miscues, he doesn't fold but bounces back. Pinpoint accuracy helped his Lions survive a Saints comeback in Week 13. Can he get defensive support now? (+3)
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
|After an injury- and turnover-riddled start to the year, the gunslinger is back to Pro Bowl form, with eight TDs and two picks in a 3-0 stretch. Can it last? Sean McVay's got himself an underrated playoff spoiler, if not contender, if so. (+3)
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
|There hasn't been a more improved QB over the last month than this kid. Basic throws were a challenge early in 2023, but he's settled in while enjoying creative help from Matt LaFleur and the speedy young wideouts. Is a playoff push next? (+3)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
|The numbers are there, as usual: With 20 TDs and six picks, he's been just fine, even solid, on paper. The win-loss column consistently tells a different story, however, and we're still waiting on his tools to deliver a defining late-game triumph. (-1)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
|Speaking of late-game triumphs, Wilson threatened another last-minute comeback against the Texans, only to throw into traffic to end a three-INT day. He's been passable, but it's worth noting he's also averaging under 200 yards per game. (-1)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
|We're approaching now-or-never time for Smith and the Seahawks, and unfortunately, Seattle's own defense may be the QB's greatest enemy. He's had to fight through pain to keep up there. He at least kept firing vs. Dallas in Week 13. (+2)
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
|As reports swirl about Chicago eyeing potential new coaches for beyond 2023, Fields has reached a critical juncture. Can he cut down on the untimely giveaways to showcase his raw talent for the next regime? Or is he destined to relocate?
Will Levis Tennessee Titans QB
|Nothing looks particularly easy in Tennessee, but this kid deserves a ton of credit for the fight he's instilled under center. Whether bulldozing for a first down or zipping tight-window targets, he's got the machismo of a potential leader. (+6)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
|The Bucs are getting what they paid for here, and perhaps a touch more: The offense remains unpredictable and relatively low-scoring, but Mayfield is controlling the ball enough -- and hitting Mike Evans -- to keep them in the wild card picture. (+1)
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
|The Cardinals upset the Steelers in part because they leaned less on Murray and more on James Conner. That's a smart recipe, considering how erratic the QB's been through the air. His strengths are as a pocket-mover and runner. (+3)
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
|Giveaways have been an issue throughout the year; he's up to 12 in 12 games. But by golly does this man go down swinging, using gritty effort both through the air and on the ground to lead Indy over the Titans in Week 13. (+4)
Joshua Dobbs Minnesota Vikings QB
|His grip on the temporary QB1 gig surely loosened with a turnover-riddled prime-time flop before the bye, but his natural mobility still gives him a chance to keep Minnesota in the playoff race, especially with Justin Jefferson returning. (-3)
Jameis Winston New Orleans Saints QB
|Derek Carr is down once again, this time with back, shoulder and head injuries, making Winston a safe bet to suit up against the Panthers. The big-armed backup is scattershot, but he might open things up downfield through the air.
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
|If only he could line up against the Eagles every week. Howell's gusto hasn't translated to results as of late, and the heavy volume continues to make turnovers a regular part of his game. But as a young trial-run starter, he's got resilience. (-3)
Jake Browning Cincinnati Bengals QB
|Zac Taylor wasn't really lying when he said Browning "lit the world on fire" after carving up the Jaguars in a prime-time upset. Jacksonville's "D" may be an issue, but his touch on crunch-time targets to Ja'Marr Chase was encouraging. (+6)
Joe Flacco Cleveland Browns QB
|He technically reverted to the Browns' practice squad after his weekend promotion to face the Rams, but he's set to remain the fill-in after a reasonably effective debut on short notice. He's still capable of pushing the ball to every level.
C.J. Beathard Jacksonville Jaguars QB
|Trevor Lawrence has bounced back quickly from injuries before, but after suffering a high ankle sprain against the Bengals, it looks like Beathard, the ex-49ers backup, could get the call. He's been a feisty spot starter in the past.
Tommy DeVito New York Giants QB
|The Giants are sticking with the charismatic rookie even with Tyrod Taylor back at practice following an extended absence due to injury, and good for them. Taylor has more experience, but DeVito has brought life back to their offense. (-2)
Mitch Trubisky Pittsburgh Steelers QB
|With Kenny Pickett sidelined following ankle surgery, it's Trubisky's time once more. A year after going 2-3 in relief of the Steelers' young starter, he'll be tasked with keeping Pittsburgh afloat in the AFC wild card race for several weeks.
Aidan O'Connell Las Vegas Raiders QB
|The rookie stood tall to at least keep Las Vegas competitive with the Chiefs before the bye. Now he'll be up against Brian Flores' aggressive Vikings defense, which could prove troublesome. Davante Adams should be his best friend. (-2)
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
|The Falcons keep hanging around, but it's not necessarily because of what's going on under center. Ridder has just eight TDs and eight picks in 11 games this year, meaning Atlanta remains competitive largely in spite of its passing offense. (-2)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
|In his first action without Frank Reich at the helm of the staff, Young still struggled to hit even 50% of his throws against the Buccaneers. Give him credit for lacing it up amid such an unenviable setup, however, week in and week out. (-2)
Bailey Zappe New England Patriots QB
|Will he remain the starter after guiding a scoreless effort against the Chargers? Who knows? And does it matter? Neither he nor Mac Jones looks destined to stick around beyond 2023, and the same could be said for the staff overseeing him.
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
|Much like the Patriots, the Jets don't have a single respected option under center as the 2023 season winds down. With Tim Boyle released after two listless starts, it's back to square one. Trevor Siemian is the alternative here with Aaron Rodgers still out.