2023 NFL Week 2 QB Power Rankings: Josh Allen Still Elite Despite Shaky Start

Week 1 in the NFL is “Overreaction Week.” Months of pent-up football energy come pouring out over a single day, giving way to nuclear takes across the spectrum. We all know better than that, but an urge persists no matter how often we go through the process. It’s not our fault; it just means football is back. 

With that in mind, I will try to avoid any drastic changes in these rankings for now. Crazy things can happen in Week 1 that feel like a fever dream come December. Players will end up in wildly different spots by the end of the season compared with where they started, but it will be a slow burn, in most cases. Week 1 isn’t going to break the rankings. 

Let’s get to it.

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. 

>>Previous Rankings: Week 1 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

1.  Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Nobody panic. Patrick Mahomes is still the best quarterback in football. A home loss to an upstart Detroit Lions team in the season opener is a rough look, but it’s not like Mahomes himself was responsible for that.

Mahomes was dealing within the structure of the offense and dazzled with his usual dose of “what the hell was that” from outside the pocket. The only difference was he didn’t have his only good pass-catcher, Travis Kelce, and none of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ other receivers did very much pass-catching.

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

There’s no excuse for how Josh Allen played Monday night. It’s like he turned his brain off completely the moment Aaron Rodgers went down. Allen’s brain saw Zach Wilson warming up and registered the game as a free win but didn’t take any of the steps necessary to get there. 

Allen was not only bad, he was careless. All three interceptions he threw were hopeless prayers he could have avoided with a hint of inhibition. Granted, Allen struggles with that to begin with, but the Monday night game was an all-time dog-brain performance, even for him. 

All of that said, Allen is still a cyborg. Going full scatterbrain is always within the range of outcomes for him. That’s especially true in Week 1, which always feels like a lightning rod for wacky and inconceivable performances for teams across the league. 

Allen is on notice now, but it will take more than one game to move him off this spot.

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson‘s debut in the Todd Monken offense was fine, nothing more. Jackson used his legs in key situations as a scrambler but mostly disciplined himself to win from the pocket as a passer.

While only a few throws stood out, Jackson ran the new offense well despite missing his top target, TE Mark Andrews. Jackson’s lone interception was a classic case of forcing a ball to an isolated target into a tight window, the kind of throw that requires some chemistry that isn’t there just yet.

4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers lost a shootout against the Miami Dolphins through no fault of Justin Herbert. Now equipped with a real passing game and healthy receivers, Herbert showed the command, decision-making and accuracy he’s shown throughout his time in the league.

It would be nice if the offense found a couple more shot plays down the field, but that will always be a process in a new offense, especially against a Vic Fangio defense built to shut out those plays.

5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

 Joe Burrow didn’t look fully recovered from the calf injury that plagued him in the offseason. Burrow typically thrives at navigating the pocket, evading rushers and sorting out plays on the move, but he was locked into the pocket against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns knew it, too, and teed off on the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line with no restraint.

Add onto that a torrential downpour for a quarterback who already doesn’t have a strong arm and what you get is a top-five quarterback looking nothing like himself. For now, we’ll give Burrow the benefit of the doubt.

6. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Save for a wonky strip sack returned for a touchdown because Tank Bigsby didn’t know it was a live ball, Trevor Lawrence looked like the best quarterback in football on Sunday.

WR Calvin Ridley deserves some credit for that. Whereas Lawrence had to distribute the ball around the field to a star-less skill group last season, he wasted no time singling out Ridley when Lawrence needed a bucket. Now he can live in both worlds, chipping away at defenses while knowing he’s got a true play maker when the chips are down. 

7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

There’s no reason to move Dak Prescott up or down based on Week 1. Prescott got to play on cruise control while his defense sent Daniel Jones through every ring of hell. That’s not a strike against him by any means.

It’s just that we didn’t have to see Prescott show out. He still made several vintage tight-window throws over the middle, including a dropped touchdown from Peyton Hendershot, but nothing out of Prescott’s ordinary.

8. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Heading into the season, I was worried about putting my neck out for Matthew Stafford in the top 10. He’s a 35-year-old gunslinger who struggled to stay healthy a year ago. That feels like a bad bet even though, in my heart of hearts, I believed Stafford played well individually last season.

Well, I’m not worried anymore. Stafford went full John Wick on the gunslinger scale, throwing bull’s-eyes to every section of the field from every conceivable arm angle. It was a vintage Stafford showing. And he did it without Cooper Kupp, no less.

9. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts wasn’t bad in the opener against the New England Patriots. He wasn’t very good, either.

Pressure was the most significant factor in Hurts’ struggles. Whereas last season, Hurts enjoyed the best pass protection in the league, the Patriots’ front got after Hurts a little bit. Jordan Mailata didn’t play his best game, and the Eagles line as a whole wasn’t up to par. The constant pressure forced Hurts into some ugly sacks, leading to play caller Brian Johnson turning to more quick-game concepts to get the ball out of Hurts’ hands.

Some growing pains were expected with the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offense, though. The team has a new coordinator on the headset, and that can be a tricky transition for even the best teams.

10. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Everything about the Seattle Seahawks‘ operation was out of sorts on Sunday. The offense and defense looked like they weren’t ready for the season to start. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes a team needs to be punched in the mouth in Week 1 before it wakes up.

Geno Smith‘s passing chart exemplifies that. Smith’s career renaissance last season came off the back of aggressive passing over the middle and down the field, yet almost all of his throws were short of ten yards against the Rams. All but five of his 26 pass attempts were short of the 10-yard mark. That feels less like an indictment of Smith and more like the Seahawks not taking a nameless Los Angeles Rams defense seriously, but time will tell.

11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Turnovers were the difference between Good Kirk Cousins and Bad Kirk Cousins in Week 1. Two strip-sacks and a brutal red zone interception washed away what was otherwise a respectable passing performance.

When Cousins let the ball go as a passer, he was the same as ever. He peppered the underneath area with accurate throws, sprinkling in a few intermediate darts and a 42-yard shot to Justin Jefferson deep down the middle. Cousins did well to get rookie receiver Jordan Addison involved with six targets, including a touchdown.

There will be better days ahead for the Minnesota Vikings offense. Cousins has been a steady quarterback for almost a decade, and we all know better than to overreact to bizarre early-season Vikings wins or losses.

12. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa is the biggest mover on this list. The 11-17 range here will always be the one with the most room for shuffling, and Tagovailoa has already proven he deserves to shoot up this tier.

The catalyst for Tagovailoa’s rise is that he answered some of my concerns coming into the season. He looked as calm and confident as he’s ever been under pressure and had no fear scrambling to fix broken plays. The throw Tagovailoa made after scooching up in the pocket to find Tyreek Hill 45 yards down the right sideline was a throw I did not think he had in his bag.

It’s a long season, but if Tagovailoa can sustain that kind of swagger and play making to complement what he does within Mike McDaniel’s system, he’ll be cooking for real.

13. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Alright. I had a little too much dip on my chip ranking Ryan Tannehill as high as I did coming into the season. Tannehill’s toughness and arm talent are both traits I value highly, maybe too much.

Tannehill struggled against the Saints in the opener. There’s no way around it. He didn’t look comfortable operating an offense retrofitted to DeAndre Hopkins, he wasn’t accurate and he threw a few painful interceptions that were ultimately the difference in a one-point game. I’m confident Tannehill will have better days, but he’s gotten off on the wrong foot to start the season.

14. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

If we want to play the results game, nothing much changed for Russell Wilson. He averaged 5.2 yards per pass while the Denver Broncos scored 16 points and lost. From afar, it looked like the same old story despite Sean Payton’s best efforts.

The process, however, was better. The offense was cleaner and more put together. Receivers were schemed open in a way they weren’t last season, and Wilson played far more decisively than before, both in and out of the pocket. Wilson struggled a little with ball placement in the one- to 10-yard range but also had an explosive throw to Phillip Dorsett wiped off the board because the journeyman receiver couldn’t keep his feet in bounds.

There was good and bad to take from Wilson’s debut under Payton. There’s no doubt Wilson can still play better himself, but the offense as a whole didn’t feel fundamentally unserious like it did last season. That’s a step in the right direction and hopefully a sign for production down the road.

15. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Mac Jones passed the season’s first test with flying colors. After a shaky first few drives, he settled in nicely against the Eagles. He held his own against a pass rush out for blood and made several tough throws. There was an air of fearlessness and confidence in the Patriots’ system and skill players alike that was completely absent last season.

The Jones and Bill O’Brien marriage has much more to prove, but this was an encouraging start. O’Brien’s offense gave Jones answers, and he delivered on them in the same ways we saw from him as a rookie. We’ll see if the arrow continues to point up for Jones as the year unfolds.

16. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Jared Goff‘s performance in the season opener could not have been more on the nose. Every single game-changing throw he made was between the numbers at 16 yards. Crossers, dig routes, whatever—if it’s an intermediate route breaking towards the middle of the field, Goff is the man for the job.

And that’s precisely why there’s no reason to move Goff. Beating the Chiefs is impressive, but Goff only did all the things he’s proven capable of before. Nothing more, nothing less. That will be enough to keep the Lions competitive but not enough to shoot Goff up the board.

17. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Sunday night was a nightmare for Daniel Jones. Micah Parsons and the endless swarm of pass rushing banshees accompanying him showed Jones no mercy. It felt like every single New York Giants pass attempt ended with Jones scrambling for his life or on his back.

That alone would have been enough to make Jones’ night impossible, even without the inclement weather and Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse being the perfect weapon to take away Jones’ shiny new toy, TE Darren Waller.

Jones didn’t play well, but his team gave him a Herculean task. Hopefully, the next few weeks provide a clearer picture of what Jones can do this season.

18. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Derek Carr was everything both his supporters and detractors could have imagined.

Carr spent the entire first half getting relentlessly pressured by the Tennessee Titans‘ monstrous pass rush and cowering under said pressure. He tied a bow on the first half with an interception straight to Amani Hooker while the New Orleans Saints were in field goal range. It was a limp start to a new era of Saints football.

Then, like he sometimes does, Carr turned it on in the second half. He started pushing the ball more and testing an inconsistent Titans secondary. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was enough to outgun a floundering Titans offense.

Time will tell which half of Carr we will see more of throughout the rest of the season.

19. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

It’s too early to move Jordan Love up the ranks, but his debut was encouraging. Love executed Matt LaFleur’s offense well and had no issues keeping the offense on track. The run game made for a sluggish first half from the Green Bay Packers offense more than anything Love did.

Some of Love’s flashes bode well for the future. He showed the ability to use his eyes to move defenders and make quick decisions on second- and third-read throws to get the ball out quickly. He was willing to push the ball into tight windows, too. Love showed a good baseline and has the talent to find even better results in the coming weeks.

20. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Kenny Pickett was bad against the San Francisco 49ers. There’s no two ways about it. Pickett had no answer for the 49ers’ relentless pass rush and was generally inaccurate to every level of the field. It was not the start the Pittsburgh Steelers were looking for out of their second-year quarterback, especially after a strong preseason.

That said, I’m going to give Pickett some more time. The 49ers are not a tough draw for Week 1 in a vacuum, but their defense was perfectly calibrated to shut down Pickett’s strengths in quick-game and as a willy-nilly scrambler. Pickett has to be better moving forward, though.

21. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders

Jimmy Garoppolo‘s Las Vegas Raiders debut showcased exactly what he’s always been. Garoppolo got the ball out quickly and accurately. The timing and command of the offense when he was able to play on schedule were more than competent. He’s comfortable in the Josh McDaniels system, and it showed.

The downside of Garoppolo was still on display, too. Garoppolo couldn’t give the Raiders anything off-script. His one interception on the day came late in the down in the red zone. Garoppolo fired into traffic after rolling left, and Broncos safety Kareem Jackson came down with the tipped ball.

For better or worse, Garoppolo is who we thought he was.

22. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

It’s getting tougher to be optimistic about Justin Fields. The Bears’ offense was supposed to look different this year with DJ Moore in the fold, but that wasn’t the case at all. The offensive play calling was reserved, as if coordinator Luke Getsy still didn’t quite trust Fields to handle a full dropback passing game.

It’s hard to blame Getsy considering some of Fields’ mistakes, such as failing to anticipate with quick-game concepts or his interception that went straight to linebacker Quay Walker.

Fields is a stunning athlete and runner, but the light has to come on as a passer. That didn’t happen in Week 1. It was more of the same we have seen from him for years.

23. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Statistically, Brock Purdy was excellent. He maintained 7.6 yards per pass, scrambled effectively and didn’t throw any picks. Purdy gave the 49ers’ offense everything it needed to let their “Monster” skill player group go to work.

But that’s just it with Purdy. Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and the team’s elite skill talent make Purdy’s life the easiest in the league. There’s something to be said about the bit of juice Purdy gives the offense as a play maker outside the pocket, but within the scheme, it’s almost autopilot mode. This was no different in the Steelers game than it was last season.

24. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud is the best rookie quarterback. That was true entering the season, and it was true in Week 1.

Up against a well-coordinated Baltimore Ravens defense, Stroud kept his cool. He played fast both in and out of structure. Some of his work in the short area was excellent, and he never stopped trying to make plays despite the Ravens’ pass rush getting after him relentlessly. The production doesn’t show it, but Stroud looked like a quarterback with the command and poise to last in this league.

25. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Like Burrow, Deshaun Watson gets a light pass for failing to produce in a rainstorm. Neither team had much of a chance of throwing the ball well.

That said, some of Watson’s deterioration as a decision-maker cropped up. Watson was all over the place in terms of vision and timing, both in and out of the pocket. The lone reprieve from that was on Cleveland’s two-minute drive before the half, where the offense had to spread things out and go fast. That’s how Watson wants to play, so maybe the Browns will look to do more of that.

26. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young had a case of rookie blindness in his debut. Young threw an interception to a poaching safety coming from the opposite field — twice. Seeing and throwing over the middle of the field would always be a pain point with a short quarterback like Young, and that reared its ugly head right off the bat.

I’m not going to be too hard on the rookies, though. Not for the first month or so of the season, at least. It’s hard to get your sea legs under you in the NFL. A performance like this from Young will be a much bigger deal come December, but I’ll wait and see how he responds to the adversity now.

27. Anthony Richardson, Colts

The arrow is pointing up on Anthony Richardson. I don’t want to move the rookies around too much early on, but Richardson showed in Week 1 that, to a degree, he has what it takes to carry this Indianapolis Colts offense.

Richardson’s passing performance was limited but also respectable. The Colts cut the field in half for Richardson on many of his attempts, which shows how much he can handle right now. However, Richardson played with functional timing and accuracy, and that’s an encouraging baseline. It’s also worth noting Richardson was the entire Colts run game. Forty of the team’s 65 rushing yards were from Richardson, as well as the Colts’ only rushing touchdown.

28. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

Either Arthur Smith thinks Desmond Ridder can’t play or Smith is too committed to running the football.

Ridder threw just 18 passes in the opener. Half of them were behind the line of scrimmage. He only threw one pass beyond 15 yards, which ended in Kyle Pitts squeezing through two defenders to make a tough catch. Ridder didn’t do anything egregious, but it speaks volumes that Smith effectively did not let him participate.

29. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A winner he may be, but a good quarterback he is not. Baker Mayfield‘s head was spinning with all the pressures and funky rotations Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores was throwing at him Sunday.

The massive talent disparity between Tampa Bay’s receivers and Minnesota’s defensive backs still gave Mayfield a couple of openings, which Mayfield capitalized on, but it was hardly an inspiring performance.

30. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Dread it, run from it —  New York Jets quarterback play arrives all the same.

Wilson was arguably the worst quarterback in the league the last time he held a starting job. There’s not much reason to believe that’s going to change this time around. Wilson made a few nice throws in emergency action against the Buffalo Bills, but he also made all the same horrifying mistakes that got him replaced in the first place. He regularly ran around like a headless chicken and threw an interception straight at Bills LB Matt Milano as if he were the intended receiver.

Maybe some reps with the starters will get things cleaned up, but I doubt it.

31. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

The game has to speed up for Sam Howell. He’s a fairly talented thrower and nifty scrambler, but everything looked too fast for Howell on Sunday. The Arizona Cardinals sent a smorgasbord of pressures and blitzes his way, and he had no answer for them. Howell took six sacks for a whopping 48 yards. Those are the kinds of mistakes that can kill drives instantly.

32. Josh Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals

It’s not even worth criticizing Josh Dobbs. Playing for the 2023 Cardinals is an impossible position as it is, setting aside Dobbs being a career backup to this point.

Dobbs was overwhelmed against a fierce Commanders pass rush, coughing up three fumbles (two lost), but of course he was. There’s a world where Dobbs is a solid backup, but in this one, he’s being thrown to the wolves as a means for the Cardinals to secure draft capital.

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.

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