The PFN QB Power Rankings saw a considerable shake-up heading into Week 11 of the NFL season. Just when we think we have it all figured out, the league throws us a massive curveball. How much did the top of the rankings look this week?
2023 QB Power Rankings
While we don’t want to be rash in our decisions about how we view these quarterbacks in the macro, a “power ranking” is about the micro. They’re more about the here and now. While perceived talent remains important, performance so far in 2023 will be weighed heavier.
32) Tommy DeVito, New York Giants
Tommy DeVito never stood a chance against the Dallas Cowboys defense. Even in a perfect situation, he would have struggled to compete. But the Giants’ offensive line is far from perfect, and it left DeVito and New York’s offense stranded.
The rookie QB went 4 of 9 in the first half for 24 yards. It wasn’t until the second half, when the Cowboys’ defense backed off a bit, that he found mildly more success through the air. But 61 net passing yards and 3.2 yards per attempt is an awful day at the office.
31) Zach Wilson, New York Jets
The toughest part about Zach Wilson’s evaluation is that he hasn’t been grotesquely bad in 2023, but he’s so limited that the offense can’t function. His nine fumbles certainly don’t help that cause, nor does his propensity to take unnecessary sacks.
The worst part about Wilson’s inconsistent play is that his biggest mistakes seem to come late in games. Albeit anecdotal, when it matters most and he has to make a play, Wilson has consistently come up short.
30) Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
Blame the offensive structure. Blame the lack of speed and talent on the outside. You can even blame the offensive line. But we must also acknowledge that, at the moment, the NFL game appears too big for Bryce Young…
That doesn’t mean we don’t get some of the magic we saw at Alabama. He even made some nice throws in his last outing, but Young doesn’t have the confidence to attack the way the other highly drafted rookies have.
29) Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons
The Taylor Heinicke magic may have officially run out. We haven’t gotten the moments of brilliance we got from him when he almost beat Tampa Bay with the Commanders.
Heinicke completed just over half of his attempts against the Cardinals, and in those 15 attempts, he could only manage 55 yards through the air. Struggling like that against the 29th-ranked dropback EPA defense with the second-worst success rate is not ideal.
28) Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears
Tyson Bagent might end up being a fine long-term option as a backup, but he doesn’t have the juice to be a competent starter at the NFL level. He provides a level of versatility with his rushing ability that can make him dangerous, but he’s simply not shown talented enough as a passer.
But to be a good backup, Bagent must first learn to take care of the ball, which he’s struggled with in his first four NFL starts.
27) Mac Jones, New England Patriots
How bad are things in the NFL right now? Well, the 27th-best quarterback in the power rankings was benched. That should be a right reserved for only the worst of the worst. But other teams don’t have that option.
The Patriots don’t either. Bailey Zappe was even worse in relief of Jones in their battle to beat the Colts late. Jones completed 75% of his passes on a day where his offensive line looked invisible, but a horrific red zone interception ended his day.
26) Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts
Gardner Minshew is who we thought he was. He’s a quick-game, one-read QB who can’t consistently threaten defenses with his arm or legs.
But for a long time, Minshew did a good job taking care of the football, making him an excellent backup option, especially on teams with good defenses. However, Minshew has struggled to take care of the ball this season, and the Colts’ offense remains unexplosive through the air.
25) Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders
Parabéns, Las Vegas Raiders. It must feel good to be .500 despite firing your head coach, and winning both games since moving on surely tastes exquisite.
But Aidan O’Connell isn’t the next Brock Purdy. He survived against a devastating Jets defense yet was far from good. He threw an unfortunate interception, fumbled once, and was sacked three times. Only Jameis Winston, DeVito, and Young had worse success rates in Week 10.
24) Will Levis, Tennessee Titans
Will Levis hasn’t replicated his maiden voyage. Over his past two games, he’s been underwhelming, much like a raw rookie QB should be in a less-than-stellar offensive situation. After having only one turnover-worthy play in his first game, Levis has had three in each of his last two.
23) Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
There is simply no consistency in the Packers’ passing attack at the moment. However, Green Bay does have some explosive potential in the passing attack.
Jordan Love’s day against the Steelers certainly wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t devastatingly bad, either. In fact, he had a good day.
The first interception was slightly underthrown and unluckily was tipped right to a safety, and his second interception was a last-second heave toward the end zone. Love also made multiple high-level throws throughout the game that not many others could make with any consistency.
22) Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett played pretty well early on against the Green Bay Packers, but Pittsburgh’s offense went into hiding after scoring on their first three drives.
Pickett and the Steelers’ biggest problem is their passing structure. They rarely attack the middle of the field, but Pickett’s arm isn’t explosive enough to consistently attack outside of the numbers. He completed only four passes more than five yards downfield against Green Bay.
21) Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford is only this low on the list because he missed his previous game, and the thumb injury he suffered could linger.
20) Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
Nobody is more entertaining to watch than Sam Howell. The Commanders’ QB can absolutely sling the pill, and as the season wears on, he’s making fewer mistakes and taking fewer sacks.
The Seahawks’ secondary is one of the most talented in the NFL, but Howell had one of his best games of the season against them. Washington wanted to attack the second level of Seattle’s defense, particularly over the middle.
Sam Howell holds Witherspoon for a beat, then absolutely *rips* it into a shrinking window…
Has put highlight-worthy throws like this on tape all year, but is doing a better job each week of reducing errors and speeding up his process. Thought he played well yesterday. pic.twitter.com/Q0sehWu1z0
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) November 13, 2023
But when allowed to attack, Howell took advantage.
19) Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr playing from behind is akin to trying to get an elderly dog to hop onto the bed. They probably could do it, but it would take many, many treats to get the job done.
18) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Whether or not one believes Kyler Murray is among the short list of legitimate franchise quarterbacks is up to interpretation. However, nobody can deny that he is endlessly entertaining.
If you watch Murray play with the Benny Hill theme song playing in your head, it’s the most entertaining football can get.
Murray has the opportunity to skyrocket up this list depending on how he plays in a less-than-ideal situation. From a talent standpoint, he’s one of the most dangerous passers in the league.
17) Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos look like a completely different team now than they did just a few weeks ago. On Monday Night Football against the Bills, Russell Wilson turned back the clock. His creative antics were back on full display.
The Broncos’ passing attack remains a bit underwhelming overall, even with an improved Wilson. There’s a real “touchdown-to-checkdown” theme with their offense. On Monday, he completed just three passes over 10 yards and only attempted one pass farther than 20. The intermediate areas are still vacant, but this passing attack is getting away with it.
16) Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
On the surface, Deshaun Watson’s day against the Baltimore Ravens was unimpressive. In fact, it was downright horrific for a while. He went 6 for 20 in the first half, and one of those attempts was a pick-six. In the second half, however, he went 14 of 14, including a touchdown pass.
Watson’s inconsistencies might be troubling, but he was a massive catalyst in the Browns’ win against Baltimore, who boasts the second-best defense in the NFL.
15) Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence hasn’t trusted anything all season. Lawrence is pressed more than anybody in the league when he holds the ball for more than 2.5 seconds, which is something that he does his very best not to do.
Like the 49ers defense tends to do, they made Lawrence look awful. He had arguably the worst game of his NFL career, and that’s including his horrific rookie season. But when you are facing pressure with only four rushers, it’s impossible to function at a high level.
14) Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not unlike Howell, who rightfully received some Baker Mayfield comps while playing at UNC, the Buccaneers’ QB is playing fun football, and Tampa Bay’s passing attack has been multiple. Some weeks are more aggressive than others, but the entire field is a target for Tampa.
Seeing him slinging intermediate darts into Mike Evans’ hands has been a treat, and that continued against Tennessee.
13) Joshua Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings
Joshua Dobbs is playing some incredible football for the Minnesota Vikings through two games with the organization. In Week 9, he posted the best QBR in the NFL for the week, and in Week 10, he posted the second best.
Dobbs’ athleticism has been a massive benefit to the Vikings’ offense. He’s brought creativity and elusiveness in the pocket that, for all the great Kirk Cousins does, doesn’t exist with him. Dobbs is playing confident football in an offense he just got eyes on one week ago.
12) Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (12)
Geno Smith and the Seahawks’ passing attack is a bit frustrating. Smith has the third-highest success rate in the NFL on first and second down, and he’s sixth in EPA.
However, he and the Seahawks have been downright uninspiring on third down, where many of the best in the league make their money. Only Zach Wilson has a worse success rate on money-downs, and nobody’s EPA is worse than Smith’s.
11) Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
How much is the offense Brock Purdy plays in, and how much is it his talent remains to be seen and will remain to be seen until he’s away from Kyle Shanahan — if that ever happens.
For now, we can only look at Purdy’s production and the impressiveness of his individual performances. Jimmy Garoppolo was a bus driver — a good one — but a bus driver nonetheless. Purdy has more juice. He tests intermediate windows more and has a creation capacity that Garoppolo could only dream of. And he continues to break EPA charts for the 49ers.
10) Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow wasn’t terrible against the Texans, but his two fourth-quarter interceptions were a blow to the Bengals’ chances. Both came in opposing territory. Still, he was able to later bring Cincinnati back into the game, forcing Houston to kick a game-winning field goal with the game ending.
9) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
We finally got the old Justin Herbert back against the Detroit Lions. Although nobody aside from Keenan Allen can separate from a plastic bag in that offense, Herbert went off. He completed 27 of 40 passes and threw three touchdown passes more than 15 yards downfield.
8) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen is an incredible quarterback who routinely produces top-tier offensive production. However, his gunslinger mentality also makes him dangerous for the offense. In fact, he was first in EPA before the game on Monday night.
But he’s produced consecutive underwhelming performances when his team needs him to be at his absolute best, given their current defensive shortcomings.
7) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson has had an impressive season so far, but he struggled against the Browns, and his fumbling issues continue to be a problem, even if he’s not throwing interceptions.
There are times when Jackson simply tried to do too much within the pocket.
6) Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Jared Goff has been outstanding this season. His offensive line is incredible, and he has multiple impressive weapons at his disposal to attack the intermediate areas of the field, particularly over the middle.
Goff went toe-to-toe with Herbert, but unlike his West Coast foe, the Lions also ran the ball with efficiency against an admittedly poor Chargers run defense.
5) C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
It’s not easy to carve up a Lou Anarumo defense, but C.J. Stroud has made the improbable look simple in 2023, even as a rookie. Although he completed just over half of his passes, Stroud threw only one behind the line and completed 13 of 22 passes that he attempted past 10 yards downfield.
Stroud has been an absolute assassin in the intermediate area of the field this year. In fact, it looks like his spray charts from Ohio State, where he was throwing to NFL talent to those areas with outrageous efficiency.
4) Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
The anticipation Tua Tagovailoa throws with, particularly over the middle, is unmatched. He throws into windows that don’t exist in the real world.
But Tua plays for the Dolphins, who have Tyreek Hill, who appears from out of nowhere to snatch those passes between four defenders.
3) Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts was magnificent against the Cowboys in Week 9. On a day when he was already less than 100% physically, his leg was bent the wrong way on a dropback, and it looked like he may be done for the game.
Instead, Hurts was back out on the field on the next play, and a few of the throws he made after getting banged up were gorgeous. His ball placement was terrific all night, and the trust he shows in his receivers to make plays helps maximize the Eagles’ offense.
2) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott arguably played the best game of the NFL season against the Giants. And while carving up the Giants may not seem special, before Sunday, New York’s defense was 16th in dropback success rate and 19th in dropback EPA.
Prescott was simply perfect against the Giants. Multiple passes to CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Jake Ferguson, and even Michael Gallup were placed where only the receiver could make a play on the ball. Nobody has played consistently better than Prescott since the Cowboys returned from their bye week.
He’s on a heater.
1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Until Patrick Mahomes has completely fallen off a cliff, he will remain in the top spot.
Despite participating in a relatively “down” season, the Chiefs’ QB remains second in QBR for the year. He doesn’t have the same kind of help we’re used to seeing, and it simply proves that even an alien-like Mahomes cannot do it by himself.