The PFN QB Power Rankings continue shifting as the war of attrition takes another great quarterback from us for the rest of the season. While the status quo was popular this past week, there were a few impressive outings along the way.
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) Jake Browning, Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals’ new quarterback was a high school football legend and a massive producer at Washington, but he ended up going undrafted in 2019. After spending time in Minnesota with the Vikings, Jake Browning landed with Cincinnati this season.
With only 15 professional attempts in live NFL action, it’s hard to know for sure how productive he might be with time to prepare as a starter.
However, Browning’s completely limited physical skill set, from his unexciting arm to his non-existent creation ability, will likely leave him caught out to dry behind Cincinnati’s offensive line.
31) Tim Boyle, New York Jets
Tim Boyle spent some time starting for the Detroit Lions in 2021, and it didn’t go well. In 120 passing attempts, he’s averaged 5.1 yards per attempt and has thrown three times as many interceptions (9) as he has touchdowns (3).
30) Tommy DeVito, New York Giants
Tommy DeVito and the Giants’ offense finally found a semblance of competency against the Washington Commanders. But don’t let that fool you into believing that they can reproduce that performance against a league-average defense.
Washington’s defense was bad before they traded away their two best pass rushers. They didn’t have a single adequate depth piece behind them, and they haven’t threatened opposing passers since.
29) Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Cleveland Browns
Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s day wasn’t as bad as the numbers suggest. The Browns dropped a lot of passes, and DTR made some big-time throws when it mattered most.
However, until the offense opens up a bit and allows him to try and be a playmaker with his arm, Cleveland’s offense will be limited. But with a defense as talented as the Browns, their young quarterback simply needs to take care of the football.
28) Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young struggled against the Cowboys’ onslaught of defensive line games. Carolina’s offensive line didn’t help, and Young could have played much worse. We’ve seen him do it in the past. Even his pick-six wasn’t an awful decision or a particularly bad throw.
27) Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders
Aidan O’Connell didn’t play as poorly as his three-interception day would suggest, but it’s been hilarious to see teams do everything they can to avoid Jalen Ramsey. O’Connell threw a touchdown to the left side, but Ramsey made two incredible plays to intercept the rookie QB.
O’Connell’s other interception was a rookie mistake. Instead of taking a sack, which is a fine option from time to time, he tried throwing the ball away as Christian Wilkins was tossing him to the turf.
26) Mac Jones, New England Patriots
How bad are things in the NFL right now? Well, the 26th-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.
25) Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Desmond Ridder returns to the Falcons’ starting lineup after letting initially losing his job to Taylor Heinicke. The last time we saw Ridder play a full game, he went 19 of 25 for 250 yards against Tampa Bay.
On the surface, that looks like a great game, but three fumbles suggest all was not well.
24) Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kenny Pickett and the Steelers’ passing attack is very obviously bad. Although six teams have posted worse dropback EPA numbers in 2023, five of the six are starting a rookie or a backup quarterback for the majority of their season. The other team is the Mac Jones-led Patriots.
It’s hard to give them too much slack for their performance last week. The Browns’ defense is outstanding, and Myles Garrett got to tee off against Dan Moore Jr. There wasn’t much room for Pickett to maneuver.
23) Will Levis, Tennessee Titans
Will Levis didn’t play particularly poorly in the Titans’ 20-point loss to the Jaguars. He lost a fumble, but Tennessee’s more pressing issues surrounded their league-low 38 offensive plays. In fact, 38 would be the lowest number of plays since 2017.
22) 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. This season, however, he’s struggled to take care of the ball, and Indianapolis’ offense remains unexplosive through the air.
21) Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love had a fantastic day against the Los Angeles Chargers. He went 27 of 40 for 322 yards and two TDs on the day. His day could have been even better had he made a few throws he somewhat inexplicably missed.
That’s the rub with Love. He’s still not consistently accurate, and the Chargers’ defensive backfield is an abject disaster.
20) Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
The Commanders’ QB has been an exciting player since taking the starting role, but he and the team at large have struggled against the Giants. The young quarterback threw three interceptions and was sacked four times against New York.
19) Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Justin Fields didn’t have a huge day through the air. He completed only one pass of over 20 yards, and the late strip-sack awarded the Lions with a win at the very end of the game. His 104 rushing yards also played a part, but the Bears ultimately fell short against the Lions.
It will be interesting to see how Fields produces over the rest of the season. It was a good way to work his way back into the swing of things after his injury.
18) 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.
17) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray is still getting his feet underneath him, but he made an astounding throw on his deep touchdown pass. There remains a sense of “touchdown-to-checkdown” to the Cardinals’ offense with Murray compared to Dobbs.
16) Joshua Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings tried handing the ball off to Joshua Dobbs the other day with horrible consequences. Denver’s defense continued playing well, but Minnesota continued to move the ball at a decent rate, picking up multiple first downs on six of their 10 offensive drives.
Dobbs’ playmaking nature came at a cost against Denver. The veteran QB fumbled three times, but that playmaking ability also led to his touchdown pass.
15) Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield and Sam Howell are cut from the same cloth. They’re gunslingers down to their very core. Mayfield frequents the intermediate levels of the field with more frequency than almost any quarterback in the NFL, unless the Buccaneers’ game plan specifically dictates otherwise, like in Week 7.
It’s made him a third-down wizard at times, but Mayfield’s aggressiveness leads to quite a few “almost” turnovers as well.
14) Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Losing Cooper Kupp early in the Seattle game was a difficult blow, but we’ve seen Matthew Stafford find success without him before. Yet, behind a struggling offensive line coming off of an injury while being blown up multiple times, Stafford struggled against the talented Seattle secondary.
13) Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
The Broncos’ QB hasn’t been the same player we grew accustomed to in Seattle, and that’s probably a good thing in Sean Payton’s offense.
Payton is getting the ball out of Wilson’s hand quickly, but he’s also using his athleticism to its fullest extent. Wilson has turned back the clock a bit, making more of the “wow” creation throws that he became famous for during Denver’s four-game winning streak.
12) Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence and Jacksonville’s offense have been underwhelming all season. But they found a way to exploit the Tennessee defense, specifically along the left sideline.
Lawrence has been limited by the lackluster offensive line, and it’s infected his play this season. The young quarterback gets to his first read and off it quickly. He’s using his athleticism more than in recent seasons, but his quick trigger has been limiting their offensive firepower.
11) Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith has gone through ups and downs as the Seahawks’ QB, but he’s quietly become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. Seattle’s offensive line isn’t outstanding, yet Smith remains cool in the pocket.
However, there’s been a distinct lack of Tyler Lockett bombs this season, which is an unfortunate development.
10) Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Jared Goff has been outstanding ever since coming to Detroit in the trade for Stafford. However, there were times in Los Angeles when he devolved into a pumpkin.
That’s exactly what happened to Goff against the Bears, a defense that hasn’t offered much defensive resistance all season.
9) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
We (the media at large) tend to apologize for Justin Herbert’s lack of team success and even, at times, the lackluster offensive performances Los Angeles produces. But games like Sunday against Green Bay are exactly why.
Herbert was outstanding for Los Angeles for 60 minutes, but his teammates didn’t do him any favors. There were too many drops throughout the day, even with Keenan Allen. But the Quentin Johnston drop late in the game sealed the Chargers’ fate. L.A.’s season likely ended with the loss as well.
8) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen has been interesting to follow this season. He’s always been a bit of a wild card because he’s the ultimate gunslinger and turns the ball over more than any quarterback in the NFL.
But Allen’s like the quarterback version of a cornerback who gambles a lot but turns the ball over so often that his production overwhelms the negatives. The Jets’ defense always seems to make things difficult for Allen, as it does for most of the high-level quarterbacks they face. His day looked good on paper, but the offense was clearly limited.
7) Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy had a perfect day on the card, according to his 158.3 QB rating. But his day was still ranked fourth best on the week behind Herbert, Dak Prescott, and Lawrence.
Since coming back from the bye week and getting Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams back, Purdy and the 49ers’ passing attack has been outrageous once again. Purdy must continue to build off of these performances if he wants to keep climbing in the rankings.
6) C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
C.J. Stroud made a few mistakes against the Cardinals’ defense, but he still had an outrageous day through the air. He’s becoming one of the league’s best intermediate passers.
Stroud’s anticipatory ability is rivaled only by Tua Tagovailoa, a feat that’s unheard of from a player so young, and he’s shown the creation ability many inaccurately believed he lacked in college.
5) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense had themselves an efficient day on Thursday Night Football against their rivals. Jackson had the sixth-highest QBR among quarterbacks for the week, adding positive EPA markers in the run and pass game.
4) Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Tua threw an interception on a ball he seemingly misplaced downfield on a post. It looked like he expected the receiver to keep gaining depth, but the receiver intelligently flattened the route. Had he thrown it flatter, it could have been completed.
3) Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts had a lackluster day against the Kansas City Chiefs defense, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Chiefs defense has been incredible this season.
Hurts threw an interception and took five sacks while throwing for only 150 yards. Neverthless, he made the big throw to DeVonta Smith when it mattered most, leading to their victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
2) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has been the best version of himself since the bye. He’s posted four consecutive games with over a 72.8 QBR while posting the highest grade of the season (97) against the Giants.
Prescott had an underwhelming statistical day against the Panthers, but Carolina did a solid job against Dallas’ passing concepts, and the Cowboys weren’t pushing hard.
1) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes is still the best in the world, but it’s clear that even an unfair producer such as himself isn’t enough on his own.
The Chiefs’ WR corps is horrific. Although Travis Kelce’s fumble and Mahomes’ interception were big factors in Kansas City’s loss, so were the drops from the receivers.