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 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 quarterbacks' respective rises and falls.

Without further ado, the latest pecking order:

2023 NFL QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Even with Travis Kelce hobbled and no one emerging as the go-to guy out wide, Mahomes has completed 70% of his throws with 2+ TDs in three of his last four games, always oozing control in crunch time to fuel the Chiefs ' 4-1 start.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Six turnovers in five games helps explain why the Bills are 3-2 and not 5-0. But Allen's dynamite arm is the biggest reason Buffalo still profiles as one of the NFL's few unquestioned contenders. His 14 total TDs lead all QBs. (+1)
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
His pinpoint accuracy isn't preventing other teams from occasionally swiping the ball. But his confidence as the point guard of Mike McDaniel's electric attack remains sky high. He's still averaging almost 10 yards per throw. (-1)
Brock Purdy San Francisco 49ers QB
With each week, Purdy further sheds the notion his rookie campaign was a fluke with instinctual pocket movement and pretty touch. Through 10 career starts, he's thrown 22 TDs and just four picks. He's truly been Mr. Reliable. (+2)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
From a pure passing perspective, the numbers (7 TDs, 1 INT, 106.3 rating) suggest he's been the cleanest all-around QB this side of Brock Purdy in San Francisco. Can he stay rolling as Mike Williams ' absence drags on? We'll see. (-1)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
Hurts was imperfect but trustworthy in the Eagles ' 4-0 start. Against the Rams in Week 5, he appeared to fully rediscover his legs, while also feeding A.J. Brown deep. There aren't many starters who've made winning look so natural. (+1)
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Since the start of 2022, the ex-Rams QB has thrown 38 TDs to just 10 INTs in Detroit. Talk about a resilient fella. And he's done it with a rotating crop of pass targets. It may not always be pretty, but with protection, he's consistent. (+2)
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Jackson didn't help himself with a bad pick vs. the Steelers in Week 5, but he also had to overcome one big miscue after another from a battered WR corps. He's a fun one-man show, but how long will Baltimore require him to be that? (-3)
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
If the playoff hopes keep slipping away, Cousins is at least putting together a nice resume-padder for his next foray into free agency. Say what you will about the big-game track record, but he's put the ball on the money for much of 2023. (+1)
C.J. Stroud Houston Texans QB
He's now 186 throws into his career without an interception. That's impressive not only because of the rebuilding team he's a part of, but because he's not shying away from pushing the ball downfield. Houston appears to have a keeper. (-2)
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
He and the Jags sometimes work harder than expected to put points on the board, but you can see the chemistry growing with Calvin Ridley , alongside Christian Kirk . His numbers (5 TDs, 2 INTs) don't yet speak fully of his impact. (+1)
Baker Mayfield Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
His progression throughout 2023 will be key to whether Tampa Bay remains in the playoff picture. So far, his surprising ball security while leaning on the Bucs' defense has been maybe the biggest reason the NFC South looks the way it does. (+1)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
The good: Wilson is clearly more at ease than he was in his dysfunctional Denver debut. The bad: So much of his aerial production has come at the wrong time, with the Broncos out of games. Never has a 106 QB rating been so deflating. (+1)
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
He's clearly retained some of the decisiveness that propelled his 2022 breakout, even as Seattle has ranked in the middle of the pack throwing the ball. His key will be staying consistent coming off an injury and bye week in the tough NFC West. (+1)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
The Cowboys hadn't required much of Prescott going into Week 5, thanks to their elite defense. Then the 49ers showed up, and everything fell apart. A lack of WR separation doesn't help, but he's now up to 29 picks in his last 33 starts.  (-4)
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
Hello, old friend. It's good to see you. After four weeks of uncharacteristically weak stuff on a bad calf, Burrow reverted to form against the Cardinals with all kinds of slinging to Ja'Marr Chase . It bodes well for Cincy's big-picture hopes. (+12)
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
As long as the Rams' iffy line remains, Stafford just won't have the time to sit back and lean on his big arm. But his seamless downfield chemistry with both Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua ensures L.A. should remain competitive all year. (+4)
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
Just when all seemed lost, Fields exploded through the air with a picture-perfect, four-TD outing vs. Washington. And once again we're reminded that, despite all the ill-timed giveaways of the past, this kid has some special tools on the move. (+4)
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers QB
Speaking of giveaways and special tools, Love has an abundance of both, just like his NFC North counterpart. Some of his throws look so effortless. But he's also been scattershot for weeks at a time, now up to six INTs in five starts. (-3)
Sam Howell Washington Commanders QB
It's a week-by-week experience with the second-year gunslinger, who's now flopped in multiple games but always goes down swinging. The physical talent is different, but his uneven moxie is reminiscent of predecessor Taylor Heinicke . (-1)
Derek Carr New Orleans Saints QB
"Do the bare minimum" has kind of been the Saints ' offensive M.O. so far, with Carr going three straight weeks with fewer than 200 passing yards. But he looked crisper than usual vs. a tough Patriots "D" in Week 5, which is a plus. (+2)
Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders QB
Back from concussion protocol, Garoppolo was also back to his old ways in Week 5, doing just enough to shepherd a conservative attack in a win over Green Bay. His next mission is ensuring Davante Adams gets back in the mix.
Gardner Minshew Indianapolis Colts QB
Called upon three different times for the injured rookie Anthony Richardson , the gung-ho reserve is now set to be Indy's guy for the foreseeable future. What he lacks in elite arm power, he often offsets in gusto and efficient decision-making.
Joshua Dobbs Arizona Cardinals QB
A surprise story to open 2023 thanks to his polish in and outside the pocket, Dobbs came back to Earth against the Bengals . But he's still generally done a good job of controlling the ball, which is more than you can ask for in rebuilding Arizona. (-4)
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
In his last 17 starts, the former Pro Bowler is 8-9 with 15 TDs, 11 INTs and an 88.9 rating. In other words, aggressively mediocre. His setup is part of that, with aging weapons headlining an offense that simply does not scare opposing teams.
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
Like his team, Pickett is a frustrating evaluation. Nothing is very smooth about him, and yet it's foolish to write him off until the buzzer. His system has no rhythm, and yet he's gutted through a makeshift supporting cast to stay in games. (+4)
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
We're back to the early stages of his career, when it was impossible to disentangle his own turnover sprees from the sloppy foundation around him. Jones is tough, and he can certainly move. But anything beyond that is totally unpredictable. (-3)
Desmond Ridder Atlanta Falcons QB
A week after Taylor Heinicke seemed primed to take his spot off the bench, Ridder responded with an efficient day against a tough Texans squad. He's got grit, we'll give him that. But can he sustain the momentum for weeks at a time? (+3)
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
There aren't many sadder stories in the NFL than the Patriots' offense, which has now seen Jones benched three times dating back to 2022. He's in a slow, shaky, injury-riddled lineup, but the forced throws aren't helping either. (-3)
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
Wilson hasn't been nearly the catastrophe that his harshest critics promised he'd be, and yet the bar is seemingly always set so low for him, despite his obvious physical gifts, that approaching 200 yards with "just" one pick feels like a win. (-1)
Bryce Young Carolina Panthers QB
The No. 1 pick is hanging in there despite an unenviable lineup (other than, say, veteran WR Adam Thielen ). But hanging in there hasn't translated to much of substance through the air. He's struggling just to average 5 yards per throw. (-4)
P.J. Walker Cleveland Browns QB
With Deshaun Watson still nursing a shoulder injury, the journeyman backup could be in for his first start with the Browns ... against the vaunted 49ers. He can move, yes, but he's been a hit-or-miss passer during all of his NFL stops.