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
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Your MVP favorite. The passing numbers don't tell the story of a guy beating up on teams through the air, but his accuracy and effortless touch on key throws have been apparent all year. It's that natural athleticism translating inside an improved structure, and of course also excelling outside it, where he's up over 750 rushing yards for the fifth straight season. (+1)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
If Lamar Jackson is the best combo of efficient and dynamic QB play in the NFL, Purdy is a close second, and he might even warrant the edge because most of his work comes through the air. His confidence can be shaken, as we've seen in a few turnover spurts, but it always returns. He controls and slings the rock like a guy destined to contend for a title. (+1)
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
He's had some duds, as the 16 picks would indicate. But most of the time, he's a human wrecking ball with a rocket arm for the better. He's up to 4,400+ total yards and 42 total scores, just three TDs fewer than Patrick Mahomes in 2022. (-1)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Only one QB has more than 30 pass TDs and fewer than 10 picks this year. That would be this guy. Now the big stage awaits. The most encouraging development for Dallas fans is probably the way he's used his legs to extend snaps.
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
How fortunate Texans fans must feel to have this rookie under center for an unofficial playoff game with the Colts in Week 18. No matter what happens, his veteran-level confidence and pocket presence should bring high hopes for 2024. (+2)
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
Remember around midseason, when everyone was concerned he might never fill Aaron Rodgers' shoes? Now he's got 30 TDs on a team with young, injury-prone weapons and a porous "D." The unteachable passing zip is a sight to behold. (+4)
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Maybe hitting a deep shot against the Bengals will finally spark his downfield connection with a young pass-catching group. After an uncharacteristically frustrating, mistaken-laden year, he can't be counted out as a playoff superhero. (+4)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
When one thing works with the Eagles, something else breaks. Much like Mahomes in K.C., Hurts has traded rocky outings with clutch ones, often struggling to match 2022's dominance. Can his rugged, resilient spirit revive their season?
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Nothing he's done has been small this year. When things are clicking, he's dropping deep dimes to Tyreek Hill to light up the scoreboard. When he presses, the giveaways add up. Ball security will be even more paramount moving forward. (-4)
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
Turns out he's still got plenty in the tank. Without his fearless gunslinging, in fact, L.A. would probably already be prepping for a fuller 2024 rebuild. Picking his spots, however, will be key to playing spoiler in the playoffs. (-4)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
If not for their trickery late against Dallas, which saw the officials erase a perfectly executed walk-off score, he and the Lions might be trending upward as road contenders. Goff's challenge will be staying calm if/when more pressure comes. (-2)
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
The Bears may or may not buy into Fields' late-season renaissance beyond 2023, but somebody will (and should). The turnover track record is undeniable, but so are his physical gifts and growth mindset. Chicago has a big decision here.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
Talk about a tough season for the 2022 Comeback Player of the Year. He's fought hard, gutted through injuries and delivered several clutch wins, only to be consistently let down by an iffy defense. Will he get another crack at it in 2024?
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
The former No. 1 pick missed the first start of his career against the Panthers, with C.J. Beathard keeping Jacksonville's playoff hopes alive. Odds are he'll return to close the year, hopefully with better communication as a downfield thrower.
Joe Flacco Cleveland Browns QB
The Browns probably deserve even more attention as potential AFC disruptors, the way Flacco's airing it out. With a solid "D" on his side, he's taken an aggressive approach, attacking every level. Imagine if he makes another title push. (+1)
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
The best thing that could've happened to his development -- and his odds of remaining their QB for the long term -- was a matchup with the Eagles defense. Murray was totally at ease, using both arm and legs to take what was given. (+3)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
It took until Week 17 for him to throw multiple picks in a single game as the Bucs' starter, which is simultaneously impressive and foreboding, considering he may be pressing to elevate a predictable Todd Bowles-led team ahead of the playoffs. (-3)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
He showed up with the season on the line early against Tampa Bay, outdueling Baker Mayfield to remain alive in the NFC South race. Does anyone believe Week 18 against Atlanta is a gimme, though? Let's see if he can come through again.
Tyrod Taylor New York Giants QB
He's really just helping the Giants fight for pride right now, but give this man some credit for nearly orchestrating comebacks against the Eagles and Rams in back-to-back weeks. His deep-ball touch and confidence is still there at 34. (+2)
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
The Colts tend to do better when Minshew's name isn't first to come up when referring to Shane Steichen's game plan. He's got a chance to turn all that gusto and run-game dependence into a playoff run if he can beat the Texans in Week 18.
Jake Browning Cincinnati Bengals QB
The luster of his hot streak in relief of Joe Burrow has already worn almost all the way off now that Cincy's out of the postseason. But give the guy props for fighting hard, especially on the ground in a close one against the Chiefs. (+3)
Jarrett Stidham Denver Broncos QB
Sean Payton wanted a "spark" by turning to Stidham in favor of the expensive and embattled Russell Wilson. It's debatable if he got that in Week 17, but Stidham was at least safe and reliable in a win over the Chargers. Stay tuned for 2024. (+3)
Taylor Heinicke Atlanta Falcons QB
He lost control of the ball three times through the air before exiting an ugly defeat to the Bears, but Arthur Smith said he'll do everything to get back for a pivotal season-closing rematch with the Saints. You can count on him to go out swinging. (-1)
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
Forced back into the lineup after another injury to rookie Will Levis, Tannehill is just playing out the string for Mike Vrabel at this point. But maybe he'll use Week 18 as an audition for future jobs, assuming Levis doesn't make an immediate return.
Mason Rudolph Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Do the Steelers finally have a competent QB? And who knew it'd be Rudolph? Mike Tomlin is right to keep the ball in the backup's hands after a decisive two-game stretch, but the Ravens, even resting starters, should be a new challenge. (+5)
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
Ron Rivera meant to sideline him indefinitely before Jacoby Brissett hurt himself in practice. It's anyone's guess which of these QBs, if any, will even be around in 2024, presuming the staff has been overhauled.
Bailey Zappe New England Patriots QB
After a couple nice outings in which he displayed legit confidence pushing the ball downfield, Zappe fell back to Earth against the Bills, throwing three picks as Rasul Douglas took over Week 17's matchup.
Easton Stick Los Angeles Chargers QB
No one's setting the bar particularly high for Stick as he closes out 2023 in place of the injured Justin Herbert, but the Chargers might've hoped he would'd at least lead the team over Jarrett Stidham and the Broncos in Week 17. (-2)
Nick Mullens Minnesota Vikings QB
It doesn't really matter which backup Kevin O'Connell trots onto the field at this point. Between Mullens, Jaren Hall and Josh Dobbs, no one's got the coach's trust, and deservedly so. In a quick-strike offense, the accuracy just isn't there. (-1)
Aidan O'Connell Las Vegas Raiders QB
The rookie does a nice job of getting rid of the ball quickly, offsetting his reliance on operating from within the pocket, but short-area stuff only gets you so far. Las Vegas will almost assuredly be eyeing more QB help in 2024. (+1)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
Another week, another dismal outing. Somehow, through 15 games, he's "only" thrown 11 picks. The issue is, he's also barely completing 59% of his passes, with only 10 TDs through the air. Let's see what he does with a new setup. (-2) 
Trevor Siemian New York Jets QB
At this point, do Jets fans even care which QB is under center? All anyone wants to know is when the 2024 offseason begins, so the Aaron Rodgers recovery tour can begin. But let's hope they have better backup plans.