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 it all 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 at least 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 QBs' respective rises and falls.

Without further ado, the latest pecking order:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
The reigning MVP did more with less in the Chiefs' sluggish 1-1 start, but he was back to his effortless production against the Bears. No one makes it look easier to go up and down the field. Andy Reid's magician reigns supreme.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
This is your MVP front-runner for 2023. While Mahomes is simply working back to his standard, Tagovailoa is a video-game dart-thrower at this moment, up to eight TDs while still completing 71% of his throws with pristine downfield touch.
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
Injuries to top weapons like Aaron Jones and Christian Watson haven't slowed him in crunch time. He's still only hitting about half of his targets, but when he's on, it looks so pretty. His legs were also clutch to help beat the tough Saints "D."
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
The Chargers routinely find ways to make things more stressful than they need to be, but Herbert was his typical robotically accurate self against Minnesota in a must-win scenario, just feeding Keenan Allen to offset Los Angeles' spotty defense.
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
His comfort in Kyle Shanahan's system enables him to take a few more chances than he might otherwise, which sometimes results in near-picks. But his confidence and delivery on the move are a big reason the 49ers remain undefeated.
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
The bittersweet reality of playing catch-up: Cousins leads the NFL in yards (1,075) and TD passes (nine) to start a contract year, but his team is 0-3. He's been sharp for a team with turnover issues, but too much production comes too late.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Unfortunately, it's more of the same again in Baltimore, where Jackson too often has to do everything himself as a result of a battered supporting cast. He's not been perfect, but he's been more accurate and remains a home-run hitter on the run.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Another week, another blue-collar effort from the Lions' signal-caller, who's overcome some ugly early-year picks to finish strong. With each game, he seems to settle in even more among Detroit faithful as a legitimate playoff-caliber starter.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
It's the same story in Buffalo: Allen likes to take chances, and he has the unteachable tools to get away with them, as evidenced by the Bills' rout of Washington in Week 3. The challenge is reining himself in from time to time.
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
Our biggest mover of the week, Stroud has been unbelievably poised and polished despite working with a young, makeshift Texans team. He doesn't just look the part. He protects the ball and slings it downfield to make Houston a real spoiler.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
He's yet to fire on all cylinders after such a smooth 2022 MVP bid, tossing two sloppy picks against the Buccaneers. But the Eagles are 3-0 in part because he never flinches, and his six total TDs are tied for fourth-most among starting QBs.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
The Cowboys looked unstoppable for their first two weeks. And then Arizona happened. Prescott was part of the issue, missing several key throws, including a game-sealing red-zone pick. Still, he's been more sturdy than not for a contender.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
He and Seattle have faced scares from the Lions and Panthers in back-to-back weeks, but he's remained a decisive arm, ranking among the top 10 starters in accuracy (68.9%) for an offense that's scored 37 points two games in a row.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
The MVP hype has all but vanished after two sluggish defeats, but a closer look reveals that Lawrence has been hurt by steady gaffes -- be it drops, footwork miscues, etc. -- from his wideouts. Either way, he needs to find a spark for the Jags.
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
Go figure: Sean Payton's debut as Denver's coach has included a noticeable step forward from Wilson, who's tossing it downfield with confidence, and yet the Broncos have completely flopped when it matters to start 0-3. Something's off.
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
The redemption tour came to quite a halt on Monday night against the Eagles front, where steady interior pressure forced a critical pick and some forced shots. All in all, however, with little help on the ground, he's been an admirable fighter.
Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns QB
After a scattershot prime-time loss to the Steelers, the polarizing Watson rebounded against Tennessee, showing more comfort on the move to rout the Titans in Cleveland's first 2023 matchup without injured centerpiece Nick Chubb.
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
As many expected, the Patriots aren't exactly lighting up scoreboards. Jones also struggled to hit 50% of his throws against a tough Jets "D." But he's battled in tight situations, showing improved mettle from a much uglier 2022 campaign.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
The Bengals terrorized him up front, but Stafford's gotten a bit too loosey-goosey with the side-arm slinging behind the Rams' unpredictable line; he's up to four picks in three games. At least he's kept L.A. more competitive than expected.
Andy Dalton Carolina Panthers QB
Bryce Young is battling an ankle injury that could keep him sidelined again. In the meantime, Dalton might actually be a short-term upgrade. While he's always prone to ill-timed giveaways, his grit off the bench helped give Carolina some life.
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
All that goodwill earned with a feisty two-week debut went out the window as Howell chucked it around against Buffalo, throwing a ghastly four picks and absorbing nine sacks. Fairly or not, the Jacoby Brissett possibilities have been raised.
Joshua Dobbs Arizona Cardinals QB
For a guy who arrived just before the 2023 opener, Dobbs looks an awful lot more like a smooth spot starter than a placeholder for a "tanking" team. There's no tank here. He's shown some silky pocket movement guiding a spoiler.
Jameis Winston New Orleans Saints QB
Derek Carr is considered week to week with a shoulder sprain, which leaves Winston in line to fill in as QB1. We know the story: he's mercurial, with a penchant for turnover sprees, but with a tough "D" on his side, his big arm is intriguing.
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
Rookie Anthony Richardson remains in the concussion protocol, which keeps Minshew on track to stay under center. He did just enough in relief against the Ravens, leaning on Zack Moss' strong ground game to upset Baltimore.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Jones deserves credit for the resilience that propelled a massive Week 2 comeback over Arizona, but things were back to ugly against the 49ers' front. He's got legs, but with this setup, he needs a lot more to avoid turnover-strewn outings.
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
Ridder has experienced a roller coaster of a trajectory in his first full year as a starter, going from afterthought to crunch-time fighter to erratic liability in a matter of three games. He'll have a key rebound opportunity against the Jaguars in Week 4.
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
He got the job done against the Raiders in prime time, which is about all Mike Tomlin could've asked. You just hope, for the Steelers' sake, that things don't always look so difficult. Fifteen starts in, he's still struggling to complete half his passes.
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
What a shame, what's happening in Chicago. Fields isn't perfect; he's clearly uncomfortable standing in to let his mercurial WRs get open. But the Bears aren't exactly designing an offense around his best trait: mobility. It's a dysfunctional setup.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
This isn't anything close to the Joe Burrow we've come to know and respect. If the aggravated calf injury isn't throwing off his "it" factor, something else is. Even with a prime-time win to avoid an 0-3 start, he doesn't look fully settled in the pocket.
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
If the Titans are getting push up front, Tannehill is serviceable. If anything else is happening, well, he's become something of a sitting duck. He's now completely flopped in two of three games to start 2023, provoking more intrigue in the backups.
Brian Hoyer Las Vegas Raiders QB
With Jimmy Garoppolo in concussion protocol, Hoyer is the most experienced alternative for coach Josh McDaniels, though rookie Aidan O'Connell is also a candidate to fill in. Getting the porous Chargers defense in Week 4 should help.
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
He's not in a perfect lineup, and he does boast the athleticism worthy of development. But the Jets are in win-now mode, and they've never enjoyed a truly reliable performance from Wilson. How long do they keep professing their belief?