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. 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:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
In a year where no single QB has stood head and shoulders above the rest, Allen leads them all in total TDs (40). He's all gas, no break, for better and worse, but he is most certainly the catalyst of the Bills' hot push toward the playoffs. (+1)
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
He's not lighting up the stat sheet through the air, but he's coming through when it counts, whether as a scrambler (5.5 yards per carry) or a late-game, tight-window passer. Basically, all his tools are on display -- and effortlessly so. (+1)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
When he breaks routine to force throws, they seem to come in spurts; eight of his 11 INTs have come in just three games. But all in all, this is still a polished and poised point guard for arguably the NFL's most reliable offense. (-2)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
All the numbers in the world won't mean anything if he can't guide Dallas' talented lineup deep into the playoffs. But most days in 2023, Prescott's been a top-level field-reader, leading the NFL in TD passes (30) while remaining efficient.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Funny he should be just below Dak Prescott, because there are similarities: Both are surgical in their pocket-passing operation, and yet there's more to be proven in big spots against elite defenses. Hard not to praise his precision, though.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
CBS Sports' Will Brinson isn't loony to suggest him as an MVP sleeper. We know he can lean into his big arm a bit too much, but his old-school gunslinging is a huge reason the Rams are quietly owning the scoreboard down the stretch. (+1)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
Back at practice after a two-game absence with a concussion, Stroud's been one of the most impressive rookie QBs in recent memory. Only Brock Purdy and Tua Tagovailoa have been more efficient downfield throwers, in terms of YPA.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
He and the Eagles have been one and the same this year: rugged, erratic and, somehow, mostly victorious. He's still got underrated crunch-time vision and willpower, hence the 35 total TDs. Ball security remains something to monitor. (-1)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
He's essentially taken Kirk Cousins' place as the embodiment of sturdy, you-know-what-you're-getting NFC North QB play. Off-script and away from home, he's more of a wild card. But his toughness and natural accuracy are helping carry Detroit.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
Say what you will about the Packers' youth, injury woes or shoddy defense, but Love has demonstrated he's got the unteachable talent to be a next-gen playmaker. His 27 passing TDs, with this setup, are a real credit to his growth. (+1)
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
This is the first time we've really had to reckon with Mahomes producing a pedestrian year. He's joined his supporting cast with lackadaisical, frustration-borne errors. Still, his off-script fluidity gives him a high floor, and he can't be counted out. (-5)
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
He's not faultless in a scattershot offense, up to 41 turnovers in 38 career games. But the kid never stops fighting, despite spare-parts scenery. Since the start of 2022, he's cruised to 1,700+ yards on the ground, refusing to let plays die. (-2)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
Nothing has come particularly easy for he and the Seahawks in their bid to return to the playoffs. But he's had a real knack for leaving it all on the line, guiding three fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives in 2023 alone.
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
He's revived his career mostly by refusing to play hero and instead taking what's given, and the Bucs are on track for the playoffs as a result. Can you believe he's still just 28? This run may not last forever, but his commitment's been apparent.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
History says he's more likely to play through his latest injury -- a shoulder sprain -- than not. But should he? The Jags are fighting to save their season, but his aggressive tendencies have exacerbated Jacksonville's boom-or-bust production.
Joe Flacco Cleveland Browns QB
It's ironic that Flacco ended his long Ravens career dependent on checkdowns, because in Cleveland, he's reverted all the way back to chuck-it-till-you-make-it. The downfield shots are getting mixed results, but when they hit, they hit in a big way.
Will Levis Tennessee Titans QB
It'll be darn near impossible to grade Levis until he's had a fuller, better-protected job audition, but all the physical assets are apparent, from the bruising legs to the cannon of an arm. He might be the most entertaining rookie QB of his class. (-2)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
Not so dissimilar to Russell Wilson, who was just benched in Denver, Carr's numbers are respectable, but they've too often come in defeat, or failed to spearhead a consistent offense. Fortunately he's still got a chance to reach the playoffs.
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
Only three active starters have posted a worse QB rating this year, which speaks to the rickety nature of his style and setup. But he's still got to be accounted for as a scrambler, averaging two first-down carries per game since his return. (+1)
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
Typically you want your emergency QB to take care of the ball, so his 14 giveaways in 15 games are a concern. You'll never question his competitive drive, which should come in handy as Indy makes a final push toward a surprise playoff bid. (-1)
Tyrod Taylor New York Giants QB
Back in the saddle after the phenom Tommy DeVito was benched, Taylor still throws a pretty downfield ball and brings veteran swagger to a scrappy team in transition. His primary struggle of late has been staying on the field.
Taylor Heinicke Atlanta Falcons QB
When his surroundings are helpful, and his team is winning, his energy stands out, because who doesn't love a backup QB willing to put his own body on the line for a block? Harnessing that energy is the challenge for him moving forward. (+2)
Jacoby Brissett Washington Commanders QB
After 15 games, Sam Howell's heavy workload finally seemed to get to the young QB, who was up to eight INTs in his last five outings. Brissett now takes over, bringing in a more controlled, albeit lower-ceiling, approach under center.
Jake Browning Cincinnati Bengals QB
For a few weeks, Browning looked like a lock to get a pay raise as Joe Burrow's fill-in, carving up opponents with composed pocket-passing. Then panic set in against the Steelers. Can he rebound to save Cincy's outside shot at the playoffs? (-7)
Jarrett Stidham Denver Broncos QB
Welcome to the new era in Denver. Stidham may or may not be the future, but he is the present, with Russell Wilson benched in anticipation of a likely 2024 breakup. Wilson wasn't bad, but he wasn't elevating Denver enough, either.
Easton Stick Los Angeles Chargers QB
For a guy pressed into action on a team that just lost Justin Herbert to injury and fired Brandon Staley before season's end, he's fared just fine. He's essentially auditioning to keep the No. 2 job in 2024, when a new regime takes over. (+2)
Bailey Zappe New England Patriots QB
Considering the Patriots didn't even open 2023 with him on the active roster, he's rebounded quite well, bringing some recent and much-needed pop to their downfield passing game. It's anyone's guess who'll be deciding his true fate. (+2)
Nick Mullens Minnesota Vikings QB
Kevin O'Connell is weighing yet another shuffle here, with playoff hopes quickly fading. It may not matter much. Rookie Jaren Hall has unknown upside, while Mullens has the experience edge, albeit with recent turnover woes.
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
Take solace, Panthers fans: Presented with the Packers defense in Week 16, Young showed off some of the trademark touch that made him a logical No. 1 pick. He's got plenty of work to do, but there is promise for 2024 and beyond. (+1)
Mason Rudolph Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Kenny Pickett is apparently ready to return from injury, but Rudolph may have given the most impressive, decisive QB performance of any Steelers player in Week 16's win over the Bengals. To be determined if he gets another go. (+1)
Aidan O'Connell Las Vegas Raiders QB
He deserves credit for gutting through rookie growing pains to serve as the signal-caller for Antonio Pierce's scrappy squad. But right now, it's the Raiders defense that's really driving Pierce's audition to stick around as the full-time coach. (-4)
Trevor Siemian New York Jets QB
Zach Wilson is out once again due to a concussion, so it'll be Siemian in a second straight start against the Browns. Talk about a face-to-face reckoning with whether or not Joe Flacco should've been added as Aaron Rodgers' fill-in.