Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Quarterbacks. We love them. We debate them. And we do it because they're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe. Can you win without an elite signal-caller? Sure, but it's much easier otherwise. So we've been keeping tabs on all the starters across the NFL. Which ones are the best of the best going into the 2024 playoffs?

This is how we'd sort them right now, entering the postseason. These power rankings, unlike offseason QB rankings, 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:

2024 NFL QB Power Rankings
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
Wait, really? The 24-year-old with only two completed playoff starts? Yes, really. The 49ers have won 19 of the 23 starts he's finished since the start of 2022, and while they may say a lot about his setup, it also speaks volumes about his ability to capitalize on it. The kid does everything well from inside the pocket, but he's also got the slippery legs and high-level confidence to escape traffic and sling it downfield. It's no wonder his team is favored to go the distance.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
There isn't a QB who better embodies the term "roller coaster." And yes, sometimes that works against him. Ball security is an inherent issue, the way he rumbles and hurls both himself and the ball. But you just can't bet against that kind of superhero talent when it matters most, which is why he might be the most dangerous gunslinger to enter the dance.
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
This is the Playoff Effect right here; while his 2023 campaign was uncharacteristically stop-and-start, there's no denying his penchant for crunch-time magic as both an acrobatic passer and timely scrambler. Much like Tom Brady during his heyday with both the Patriots and Buccaneers, Mahomes' mere presence elicits fear from the other side on the big stage.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Jackson warrants all the MVP buzz for the way he's finally balanced his effortless arm talent with electric rushing abilities. Few QBs can change a game so quickly. But like some other big names on this list, he's got January hurdles to clear, entering as the AFC's top-seeded signal-caller despite owning just a 1-3 mark as a playoff starter.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
Like his fellow Super Bowl LVII QB in Mahomes, Hurts is getting a slight boost from his playoff track record, as he proved in 2022 he's got the fortitude to go toe-to-toe with the best, either on the ground or through the air. But he'll need to better control the ball and quickly reestablish downfield chemistry with his weapons if he wants to revive the deflated Eagles.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Like Lamar Jackson, he's had an MVP-caliber season for a nicely balanced contender, but the story of his 2023 campaign will come down to whether those prolific numbers translate to big-stage results. Prescott's always been solid at doing the little things right, distributing the ball as a savvy point guard. Can he stay disciplined when up against elite defense?
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
When's the last time a rookie signal-caller looked this poised this quickly? Justin Herbert, perhaps? And yet Stroud's already delivered more crunch-time heroics. Asking him to make a deep playoff run might be a bit much at this stage, but discounting his ability to climb the pocket and zip tight-window throws would be foolish.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
For half of his first season replacing Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay's full-time QB, Love looked gifted but undisciplined. Now he looks like the total package. He throws some of the prettiest passes in the NFL, either bullets right off the snap or lofts down the sidelines, and now he'll get a chance to prove he's also got what it takes to win when it matters most.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
In 2021, Stafford finally put his big arm to big-time use, feeding the Rams' all-star lineup en route to a title. A year later, everything broke down. And now he's back again, with rediscovered confidence as a gunslinger. He'll surely be motivated to pull out the "W" in his old stomping grounds of Detroit, and the Lions' iffy pass defense could help him celebrate.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Once a detrimentally conservative passer, Tua has completely shed that label to give Miami top-10 production in back-to-back seasons. His downfield chemistry with Tyreek Hill and Co. is nasty. But the Dolphins are severely banged up, and he hasn't always fared well when forced into off-script play-making. If he can upset the Chiefs, he'll see a major stock boost.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Largely written off as a throwaway piece of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams, Goff has actually been the steadier of the two QBs since their swap, excelling as a pinpoint passer when well protected. But can he stay upright, confident and on target in the postseason? That's the key question as Detroit tries to make good on its playoff potential.
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
No matter how this season ends for the Bucs, Mayfield could be due for a nice pay raise after exceeding expectations as a trial-run starter. He's best-suited taking what's given rather than overextending himself through the air, but don't write him off as a scrambler, either. Some of his best work has come grinding out tough first downs in short-yardage spots.
Joe Flacco Cleveland Browns QB
The magical mystery of this playoff race, Flacco was once condemned for his conservative checkdowns, but, at 38, has embraced endless downfield attacking coming off the bench for Cleveland. Is it sustainable? That's debatable. But at least he's bringing some unexpected moxie to a contender that also boasts a stingy defense to support him.
Mason Rudolph Pittsburgh Steelers QB
After weeks of sluggish play from both Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky, the Steelers finally have something of a decisive QB in Rudolph, the longtime third-stringer. But is he destined to fall back to Earth if/when he's backed into a corner?