Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Quarterbacks. We love them. We debate them. And we do it all because, at the end of the day, they're the most important ingredient in a championship recipe. It's possible to win without an elite signal-caller, but history shows 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? And which ones could be nearing a demotion? 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 quarterbacks' respective rises and falls.

Without further ado, the latest pecking order:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Slow start to 2023 and all, the reigning MVP is well on pace to eclipse 30 TDs for a fifth time in six years. Effortlessly outdueling Justin Herbert in a 31-17 win against the Chargers was somehow totally unsurprising for the standard-setter. (+2)
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
The Bills are a sloppy contender right now, and that's partly to do with Allen's trademark gung-ho style. At the same time, he's kind of keeping the team afloat, countering a sinking defense with improbable throws. His 19 total TDs lead all QBs.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Up against the Eagles' ferocious front four, he couldn't air it out nearly as often as usual in a prime-time clash with ex-Alabama teammate Jalen Hurts. But he was also the least of Miami's issues. His pinpoint placement is top-notch. (-2)
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Let's start throwing him into the MVP mix, shall we? What he may lack in gaudy passing marks, he's making up for with wildly increased efficiency under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, plus that familiar lightning-quick mobility. (+3)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
Giveaways have been a problem -- only Desmond Ridder has lost the ball more this year -- but he's making big-time throws when it matters, and his unstoppable short-yardage rushing has helped boost his TD total to 15 for a 6-1 contender. (+3)
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
So much for that poor prime-time reputation. Cousins was straight-up dealing in an unusually clean pocket against a stingy 49ers defense to revive the Vikings' hopes in Week 7. Give him time, and he'll throw as pretty a ball as anyone. (+3)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
This kid went something like 55 minutes without a single poor throw against Minnesota, only to gift-wrap a pair of picks in crunch time. At 23, the poise and natural pocket fluidity is there. But he's now had two straight games with sour endings. (-3)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
For a long time, he's gotten a pass from even the harshest of Chargers critics, and it's true he remains the total package physically and, often, statistically. But his late- and big-game slipups have also become something of a theme. (-2)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Like his NFC North counterpart Kirk Cousins, he's coasted to top-10 numbers as a pure pocket passer when afforded adequate time. But the Ravens' D-line sent him into a total tizzy as Detroit fell to 5-2. He's due for a bounce-back. (-4)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
The Texans are averaging 3.2 yards per carry on the ground, so the rookie QB has received subpar run support. Even still, his composure, ball control and downfield vision have enabled Houston to stay more competitive than expected.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
He and Derek Carr took turns trading conservative possessions to start an ugly Thursday night game to open Week 7, but his elusiveness as a scrambler was huge. He quietly ranks sixth among all QBs in rushing yards for a spirited group.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
It's been a passable start for Prescott -- nothing more, nothing less. Dallas is 4-2 thanks in large part to an opportunistic defense. His yards per attempt (7.0) and TD% are both down from a year ago. But he's still sturdier than most. (+1)
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
In a way, we're still waiting for the familiar Burrow to come all the way back. He's looked healthier lately, but four of his six starts have failed to register even 225 yards through the air. Can he finally reignite the Tee Higgins connection? (-1)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
The longtime Seahawks star is taking care of the ball, but in the process, he's actually moving it slightly less efficiently (7.0 YPA) than in his infamously erratic 2022 debut. Denver's "D" remains the bigger issue, ranking last in the NFL. (+2)
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
One week, he's winning it for L.A. The next, he's losing it. Seems about right for the very middle of the pack. Stafford's got beautiful chemistry with his high-volume targets, but he's good for a forced-throw pick at least once every other week. (-1)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
He's capable of helping Seattle sneak by rivals like the Cardinals, but there's a bigger-picture concern with the talented but unpredictable arm here: Smith is now up to 12 INTs in his last 14 games, including playoffs, dating back to last year. (+1)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
Tough couple of weeks in Tampa, where Mayfield actively begged the Falcons to steal a Week 7 matchup with late throws into traffic. After a surprisingly strong start to the year, he and the Bucs are back to sluggish unpredictability. (-2)
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
Considering how often he's getting hit behind Washington's O-line, it's a wonder he hasn't turned the ball over more. He's got gusto, yes, but he's not necessarily built to be throwing more passes than all but two other QBs at this juncture.
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
It's a hot-or-cold thing with Minshew, it seems. One week he's throwing three picks against his old team, the Jaguars. The next he's throwing one pretty loft after another in a shootout with the feisty Browns defense. His fight never dies. (+3)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
A visibly frustrated Carr actually sharpened up in crunch time to threaten a comeback vs. Jacksonville in Week 7, but only after dinking and dunking to no avail for three quarters. Only five regular starters are averaging fewer yards per throw. (+1)
Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders QB
Brian Hoyer was not the answer (even against the Bears) while Garoppolo sat out due to injury. If the ex-49ers starter is back, he should provide a boost, though the Lions could be a tall task. His connection with Jakobi Meyers is legit.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
It feels premature to write him off as the Packers' future so early into his first run as QB1. The challenge is, he's in Year 4 of his actual career, and his accuracy (league-worst 57.5%) even on basic throws has been a concern all year. (-2)
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
It's almost the same story every week with the former first-rounder: Nothing ever looks super smooth, but he always manages to show up with a critical throw or two in crunch time. He does seem to be growing as a field-reader.
Tyrod Taylor New York Giants QB
Daniel Jones said the goal is to return from a neck injury to play the Jets, but that doesn't mean it'll happen; such a medical concern warrants caution. Taylor has been calmer and more willing to push the ball downfield anyway. (+1)
Joshua Dobbs Arizona Cardinals QB
It's getting uglier by the week in Arizona, where the prospect of Kyler Murray's return now brings actual hope. In his last three starts -- all losses -- Dobbs is struggling to hit 50% of his throws, with three INTs and no QB ratings above 69. (-1)
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
Just when you think you're all the way out, he pulls you back in, at least a little. Jones showed impeccable composure outdueling Josh Allen in an upset of the Bills, standing tall and delivering nice precision darts down the stretch. (+5)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
A week off is precisely what the No. 1 pick needed after an uneven, mostly overwhelming start to his rookie campaign. Let's see if he can build off the confidence-building strides he took in a relatively hot start against Miami in Week 6.
Tyson Bagent Chicago Bears QB
The undrafted rookie didn't just control the ball and extend plays with his legs while filling in for an injured Justin Fields against Las Vegas; he also totally looked the part while doing it. Division II rep or not, this kid's got an "it" factor . (+4)
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
He and the Falcons edged the Buccaneers to stay above .500, but it somehow felt wholly empty. Ridder has grit, but he also coughed up the ball three different times while in enemy territory; he's up to 11 giveaways in seven games. (-3)
P.J. Walker Cleveland Browns QB
Deshaun Watson may or may not be back after another polarizing exit from action. His shoulder still seems to be an issue. Walker, meanwhile, has gone 2-0 in relief, but that's a credit to his teammates; he's struggled to complete half his throws.
Will Levis Tennessee Titans QB
The Titans apparently expect to use both Levis and Malik Willis with Ryan Tannehill injured, with Levis reportedly set to start. He's at least got unteachable size and arm talent to play with.
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
We're now two and a half years into his career, and the Jets seem to be as cautious as ever, always fearful that if they let him play too loosely, everything will fall apart. But as long as the defense keeps winning, maybe it doesn't matter. (-4)