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2023 NFL Week 6 QB Power Rankings: C.J. Stroud Climbs Yet Again

Quarterback Rankings Josh Allen Patrick Mahomes Lamar Jackson

The Baltimore Ravens scored 10 points in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I'm more confident than ever that Lamar Jackson is a top-three quarterback. Yes, you read that right. 

Jackson put on a light show against the Steelers. So many of his throws were right on the money, but an impossibly bad collection of seven drops made it all for naught. As a result, Jackson finished the day with 6.2 yards per attempt, no touchdowns, and a pick. 

It's the kind of box score that will have people questioning Jackson's status as a top quarterback (they always do anyway), but it shouldn't. Throw on the tape, and it'll become clear why Jackson isn't leaving the upper echelon soon. 

Note: Each week, only the 32 starting quarterbacks will be ranked. For example, Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray won’t be on the list until he returns to action. The same will be true of any quarterback who misses time as the season progresses. 

Week 6 QB Power Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranking: 1 

Put Patrick Mahomes down as the latest quarterback to shred the Minnesota Vikings apart in the underneath area. 

According to NextGenStats, Mahomes went 17 of 19 when throwing the ball from 1 to 10 yards on Sunday. Mahomes had no problem picking apart all of the Vikings' blitz schemes, throwing with excellent timing and accuracy to keep the Kansas City Chiefs offense chugging along. 

It wasn't the flashy Mahomes we all wanted to see, but it was a strong day at the office. 

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Previous Ranking: 2 

Josh Allen was bound to come down to earth a little bit after going flamethrower mode against the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. 

What makes Allen special is that a "back to earth" game for him is still 359 yards and two touchdowns on 40 attempts. Allen also threw a pick, but it was a contested shot down the field when the Buffalo Bills needed a spark. Allen's target and the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back had their hands on the ball; Jacksonville's DB just happened to win the scuffle in the air. You can live with those. 

The most impressive stat of the day for Allen is the Jaguars didn’t sack him once. Jacksonville was cooking up some devious blitzes and getting free rushers, but they never phased Allen. He did well to beat the blitz with the ball and scurry away from pressure when necessary.

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranking: 3 

Calling out the Baltimore Ravens receivers for dropping seven passes on Sunday doesn't do justice to how frustrating the whole thing was to watch. 

Lamar Jackson was dealing against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was navigating around a fierce pass rush, finding open targets at every level of the field and dropping in some absolute beauties over the middle. It was par for the course for Jackson this season, at least for about three and a half quarters. A lot of his efforts just didn't matter because the pass-catchers couldn't finish. 

That said, the end zone interception Jackson threw at the end was ugly. There's no way around it. He threw an end zone fade that was neither back shoulder nor up the field enough for the receiver to run to it. The ball was in no man's land for the receiver. 

The game just never should have been in that spot. Jackson mostly played an excellent game, and I will weigh that more moving forward as it relates to projecting his future play.

4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Ch,argers

Previous Ranking: 4 

The Los Angeles Chargers had a bye in Week 5. Nobody above Justin Herbert deserves to fall and nobody below him played well enough to make the jump. 

Herbert gets a fun matchup Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys

5. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Ranking: 5 

Things are heating up for Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lawrence's 78.1 and 78.6 QBR ratings over the past two weeks are the two highest marks he’s registered this season. 

While Week 4's win versus the Atlanta Falcons was more of a quick game showcase, Lawrence let it loose against the Buffalo Bills this week. Lawrence was firing some wonderful timing routes to Calvin Ridley on the outside and picking his spots to rip it down the field. Lawrence also did well to find some plays with his legs. He finished with a strong 56 percent success rate on dropbacks throughout the day. 

The Jaguars offense isn't at full capacity yet, but they're getting there. The rust is coming off, and they're finding a groove. Hopefully, that continues when they return to the United States after spending two weeks in London.

6. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Previous Ranking: 6 

Despite what the numbers indicate, Matthew Stafford continues to play at an exceptionally high level continues to play at an exceptionally high level despite what the numbers indicate. 

Save for a miss to Tutu Atwell down the middle that could have been a touchdown, Stafford played to the standard he's been at all season. He was tough, poised and decisive. The Philadelphia Eagles' pass rush overwhelmed the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line to the point that they still sacked Stafford a handful of times, but he held it together better than most quarterbacks would have. 

It was also nice to see Stafford with Cooper Kupp back in the fold. The two couldn't connect for many explosives in this game, but those will come. The more Kupp plays and gets his groove back, the more this Rams passing game will open up.

7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Previous Ranking: 7 

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys got bludgeoned on Sunday night. There's no two ways about it. However, I'm not worried about what that means for the Cowboys beyond their ability to beat the San Francisco 49ers if they meet them again in the postseason. 

The 49ers are the perfect team to dismantle this Cowboys offense. Through this point in the season, Dallas' entire offense has been the quick passing game. Prescott is an elite quick-game thrower, and coach Mike McCarthy has struggled to scheme up anything down the field. The run game hasn't been all that efficient, either. 

Against most teams, the nickel and dime passing approach is fine. It's not fine against a 49ers defense that plays faster than every other defense in the league and has legitimate stars at all three levels. The 49ers' unique speed and tackling prowess make them the perfect counter to Dallas' quick, YAC-centric passing game.

8. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Previous Ranking: 8 

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles offense is starting to find its rhythm. After an up and down start, new OC Brian Johnson is starting to find the right buttons that work for this offense. 

Most notably, the Eagles finally got TE Dallas Goedert involved this week. Hurts relied heavily on Goedert as a safety option and outside-the-numbers weapon a season ago. The inability to get him the ball early this season was clearly hurting the offense, but things looked normal against the Rams on Sunday. 

Hopefully Hurts and the Eagles offense can continue to improve. There was always going to be growing pains with a new offensive coordinator, but the longer the season goes on, they should be able to find more answers and comfort plays. 

9. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Previous Ranking: 9 

The Seattle Seahawks had a bye in Week 5, so there's nothing new to report with Geno Smith. Though coming off arguably his weakest performance of the season, which included a minor knee injury, Smith still ranks top-10 in QBR and has been one of the most aggressive quarterbacks in the league. 

Thank goodness Smith got to time up his minor injury with the team's early bye week. Smith should be closer to 100 percent when the Seahawks take on the Bengals on Sunday. 

10. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Previous Ranking: 10 

Tua Tagovailoa threw two interceptions, including a goal line pick-six, and still finished the day with a 73.3 percent completion rate and 10.3 yards per pass. The Miami Dolphins scored 31 points in three quarters before they let their foot off the gas. Even with the mistakes, Miami's offense has the juice to score every single time it touches the ball. 

Beyond the interceptions, it was a pretty standard day for Tagovailoa. He ripped a few well-timed balls over the middle and did well to distribute in the underneath area. Tagovailoa didn't attack down the field very much, but did find Tyreek Hill on a wide-open go ball versus single-high coverage for a touchdown. 

11. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Previous Ranking: 11 

Joe Burrow was almost normal against the Arizona Cardinals. After a month of hobbled play thanks to a training camp calf injury, Burrow finally looked more like himself this week. 

Two things stood out that made it feel like Burrow was finding himself again. 

First, Burrow was actually willing to throw over the middle a little bit. With the calf injury bothering him, Burrow had largely been unwilling and unable to fire the ball in over the middle this season. 

Second, Burrow was moving around. He wasn't just a statue throwing beach balls back there. Burrow was evading pressure and scrambling around a little bit. It was by far the most spry he's looked all season, which is huge news for a player whose game relies on making magic outside the pocket and the Cincinnati Bengals

I still want to see Burrow do it for a few more weeks, and against better defenses, before we can say he's back to normal, but this was an encouraging step in the right direction. 

12. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranking: 12 

Kirk Cousins wasn't at his best versus the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Minnesota Vikings' game plan was brutal. It was completely imbalanced despite the game being within reach the entire time. 

The Vikings ran the ball just 15 times, not including scrambles. Conversely, Cousins was asked to drop back 50 times. Coach Kevin O'Connell asked Cousins to go blow-for-blow with Mahomes and string together long, methodical drives with quick game passing. Cousins can do that, but it's asking a lot versus a coordinator like Steve Spagnuolo, who can and did prey on offenses stuck in pass-only mode. 

13. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Previous Ranking: 13 

No Jahmyr Gibbs, no Amon-Ra St. Brown, no problem. Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson put together a masterful game plan against the Carolina Panthers and Jared Goff executed in typical fashion. 

Goff didn't have to make too many difficult throws in this game, but that's not really a knock. Johnson schemed things up beautifully with the screen game and play-action passes. Goff got one touchdown to Sam LaPorta on a wide-open pass in the flats on the goal line, as well as a reverse flea-flicker touchdown to LaPorta (again) on a wheel route.

The Lions have a great thing going on offense. Johnson is a special play-caller and Goff is a talented thrower who does well to adhere to the structure of the offense. Couple that with a stellar offensive line, and you've got an offense that is liable to throw up 30 points at any time. 

14. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranking: 14 

Ryan Tannehill played a good game against the Indianapolis Colts. He was peppering the underneath area relentlessly and picking his spots well to throw it down the field. The deep strike he had down the left side to DeAndre Hopkins down the left side was an absolute beauty; a vintage Tannehill throw. 

The Tennessee Titans just don't have the firepower to string together scoring drives, nor are they a team built to throw themselves back into a game when trailing late. They're a run-first, bully-ball YAC team in theory, but without an efficient running game or actual YAC stars. Tannehill just gets stuck holding the bag for what ails the offense even though he's playing the same way he did when he was shredding back in 2019 and 2020. 

15. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Previous Ranking: 17

In terms of ball placement, C.J. Stroud didn't have his best day against the Falcons. Stroud is typically laser accurate, but sprayed on a few throws and ultimately finished with a -7.9% CPOE. 

Even still, it's so clear that Stroud is an NFL-ready processor and pocket manager. The Falcons defense is quietly chippy and well-coordinated, but Stroud did well to keep his eyes up, get through his progressions, and get the ball out of his hands. 

That Stroud could have an "off" day in terms of accuracy and still keep the Houston Texans in the game because of the rest of his skill set says a lot for such a young player. 

16. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Previous Ranking: 16

Brock Purdy is piloting the Kyle Shanahan offense exceptionally well. He's getting the ball to the right guys and he's making enough accurate throws to keep the thing hummin', even if he's not quite as accurate as the numbers might suggest. The San Francisco 49ers are the most complete offense in football and Purdy plays a role in that.

Still, I have a hard time putting him with the actual high-level quarterbacks. Purdy has the easiest job in the league when you consider the play-calling, supporting cast, and game scripts. Purdy is throwing to four All-Pro-caliber skill players in an offense coordinated by arguably the best offensive mind of this era, nevermind that the defense always keeps the offense in a cushy position. 

Purdy is playing well — there's no denying it — but my point is that a lot of other quarterbacks could produce MVP numbers in a similar environment.

17.  Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Previous Ranking: 15

Russell Wilson continues to play fine for the Denver Broncos this season. He's not anywhere close to the guy they paid for, but he's also miles better and more consistent than the version of him we saw a year ago. 

The biggest issue is that the Broncos defense is an all-time catastrophe. As a result, the Broncos offense is often in poor game scripts. Additionally, any mistake Wilson and the Broncos offense make only becomes magnified because the defense gives them zero margin for error. 

If the Broncos defense was even average, the Broncos would have a better record and we'd probably all be talking about how Wilson has been semi-revived. 

18. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranking: 20

Not that Derek Carr had to do a whole lot against the Patriots with Mac Jones melting down on the other side, but he played a decent game. Carr mostly just needed to deliver quick throws to the flat and hit on a couple of intermediate throws. The New Orleans Saints game script never really put Carr into any threatening positions and, as a result, he got to play a clean, easy game. 

19. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders

Previous Ranking: 22

Jimmy Garoppolo just is what he is. The ball leaves his hand in a hurry, he's accurate over the middle, and he doesn't give you anything down the field or outside the pocket. Week 5's game versus the Packers was a shining example of all of that. It doesn't make for a perfect offense, but it can be enough to move the ball and stay afloat. 

The Las Vegas Raiders' biggest issue is they have nothing in the run game. That only puts more stress on the quarterback. Garoppolo, like most every quarterback at this point and beyond on the list, just isn't equipped to handle that burden consistently. 

20. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Previous Ranking: 23

Deshaun Watson had a bye week in Week 5. He's still recovering from a shoulder injury that kept him out of Week 4's match against the Ravens. Regardless, without having seen Watson in action for two weeks, the only reason he's moving around a little bit is because of the players around him on this list. 

21. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

Previous Ranking: 24

Maybe Justin Fields was onto something when he said that he set out to play less robotic. The Chiefs game that immediately followed those comments was a disaster, but Fields has since shredded the Broncos and the Commanders. Granted, those are two of the worst defenses in the league, but even sticking it to those kinds of defenses is a step for Fields and the Chicago Bears

More than the numbers, it's how Fields is playing. The ball is coming out faster and he's trusting his guys to make plays more. Outside of DJ Moore, those guys don't really make many plays, but it's a positive sign that Fields is at least willing to let it rip and see what happens rather than overthinking and running himself into an ungodly amount of sacks. 

Fields still has a long way to go, but you can see the inklings of capable quarterback play. Hopefully this is just the beginning for Fields. 

22. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranking: 25

Though he had a bye week in Week 5, Baker Mayfield gets to continue moving up the board a little bit. He's played good football this season and deserves some level of credit for it. I'm a little dubious Mayfield can sustain it, since that's always been a problem for him, but he really is throwing with confidence and playing well under pressure right now. We'll see how long that lasts. 

23. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Previous Ranking: 21

Mac Jones fell apart for the second week in a row. 

The issue right is that Jones doesn't trust the New England Patriots offense. You can see in his footwork and complete aversion to pressure that all he wants to do is get the ball out of his hands. In turn, Jones isn't progressing through concepts with the same consistency and timing we've seen from him at his best.

It's easy to understand why Jones doesn't trust the offense, to be fair. Not a single skill player on the team can separate and the protection is average at best. The margin for error is so, so slim and Jones' uneven play is only making it worse. 

And to that point, Jones is better than he's showing right now. We've seen him be an average-or-better starter in more favorable situations. The reality is that he isn't playing to his level right now, though.

24. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranking: 27

Desmond Ridder finally put together the game I've been waiting on. 

Ridder was lethally efficient from the pocket versus a chippy Texans defense. For the first time all season, Ridder played with excellent timing and confidence. He threw darts to the intermediate area of the field, often into tight windows. He trusted that Kyle Pitts and Drake London would come through in contested situations, and they often did. 

On 39 dropbacks, Ridder finished with a 59 percent success rate and 0.41 EPA per play. That's about as clean a day as you're going to have in the NFL, especially as a young quarterback. 

Of course, Ridder has to do it more than once. This is a wonderful start, though. Now we've seen what the Atlanta Falcons offense looks like when Ridder is playing to his highest standard. It's time to prove they can do that week in, week out. 

25. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Previous Ranking: 19

Jordan Love just played his worst game as a pro. 

The first interception he threw had no shot of being caught by anyone but the linebacker he threw it at. You could argue that wasn't even his worst pick of the day. With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, Love threw a bad ball to Christian Watson on a double-move. Love was late on the throw and left it about five yards short of where it needed to be, giving Watson a slim chance of working back to it. 

Love started out the season showing promise, but the wheels are coming off. I'm willing to give him and the Green Bay Packers offense some time because Love is talented and the entire offense is a uniquely inexperienced group, but things need to turn around soon. 

26. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Previous Ranking: 26

Daniel Jones isn't actually as bad as he looks right now. Granted, he is not and never has been good either, but Jones can at least be halfway serviceable with a decent group around him. The New York Giants just haven't offered him anything close to that. 

The offensive line in particular is killing Jones. All throughout his career, Jones has been a sack-prone quarterback because he's numb in the pocket and doesn't play with good timing. The Giants circumvented that last season with a lot of RPOs, boot-action, and quick game, but that's gone away entirely. Now Jones is asked to play like normal again behind what is arguably the league's worst offensive line. Unsurprisingly, Jones carries the highest sack rate in the league at 15.6 percent. 

27. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Previous Ranking: 30

Sam Howell is a horribly sack-prone quarterback and the Week 5 Thursday night game against the Bears proved it. 

Howell took five sacks on 56 dropbacks against a Bears pass-rush that hadn't done anything before this game. That's good for a 8.9 percent sack rate. High as that is, that actually lowered Howell's sack rate on the season from 14.6 percent to 13.2 percent. 

On the flip side, when Howell gets the ball out, he can do some awesome stuff. Howell's got a real cannon and he isn't afraid to push the ball down the field or into tight windows. Some of the throws Howell made against the Bears, as well as against the Eagles the week before, are real deal franchise quarterback stuff. 

It's just about consistency for Howell. The flashes are awesome, but everything is still too disconnected. He's got to speed things up and put together good ball for a full game. Howell has it in him, I just want to see it come together. 

28. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous Ranking: 28

The Pittsburgh Steelers escaped with a win on Sunday, but Kenny Pickett and the offense had very little to do with that. 

Pickett did almost nothing for most of the Ravens game. He was constantly bailing from clean pockets, throwing late and missing on passes he should be able to hit. All par for the course from Pickett this season. 

Pickett's only saving grace was a handful of sweet sideline throws to George Pickens. As incomplete of a WR as he may be, Pickens dominates when you let him run straight down the sideline and either outrace someone or dominate the catch point. Pickett found Pickens doing exactly that to win the game, dropping in a go ball over the top of Marlon Humphrey to take the lead late in the game. 

Still, Pickett has to do more than throw up a few prayers to Pickens for me to believe. I want to see more from him in terms of pocket management and playing within the timing of the offense. 

29. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Gardner Minshew is a perfectly capable spot starter to hold things down while Anthony Richardson recovers from a shoulder injury. 

Minshew has played well in two of his three appearances this season. In the Texans game in Week 3 as well as last week's game against the Titans, Minshew gave the Indianapolis Colts reliable play off the bench. He's quick on the trigger in the short-to-intermediate area and he's generally good at avoiding killer mistakes. Some throws are off the table for Minshew because of his subpar arm strength, but he does enough in the ball placement department to get by for a backup. 

30. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Previous Ranking: 29

Bryce Young threw three touchdowns last week, but that oversells the kind of day he had. Young was mostly a flat-route merchant until garbage time. He struggled to see and find targets beyond the 10-yard mark, in part because the Lions pass-rush was heating him up all game and Young just doesn't have the size to combat that. 

Young also threw a rookie-mistake type of interception into Cover 2. Young tried to force a throw into the "honey hole" between the low corner and the high safety, but didn't see the cornerback floating up to undercut the route. 

There are still redeemable qualities to Young's game, to be clear. He's accurate when he finds his mark and he's done a fine job executing in the underneath area. It's just clear that's not enough to make this offense work right now. 

31. Josh Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranking: 31

Josh Dobbs finally had the "oh yeah, you're a career backup" game. Dobbs threw the first two interceptions of his season and failed to complete half his passes against Lou Anarumo's devious Bengals defense.

That's no knock on Dobbs. Anarumo does that to good quarterbacks, too. Dobbs also has played admirably for a backup, and he's got clear strengths when it comes to throwing velocity and rushing ability. Still, Dobbs is just a pleasant surprise as a placeholder and nothing more. 

32.  Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Previous Ranking: 32

Zach Wilson not being a total nightmare is a nice little surprise. 

Against the Broncos, Wilson made enough plays to keep the New York Jets in the game. Wilson found a handful of nice throws over the middle, as he does, and generally did well to not throw the ball into traffic for his standards. He threw one interception, but that play was as much a fantastic effort from Patrick Surtain to rip the ball from the receiver as it was a questionable throw from Wilson. 

Still, Wilson plays too slow mentally right now. He continues to hold the ball forever and trigger late on some throws for no reason. It's also not like a halfway decent performance against an all-time bad Broncos defense really proves anything.

Derrik Klassen is an NFL and NFL Draft film analyst with a particular interest in quarterbacks. Klassen’s work is also featured on Bleacher Report and Reception Perception. You can follow him on Twitter (X) at @QBKlass.