NFL Analysis


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NFL Week 11 Quarterback Power Rankings: Trevor Lawrence Exits Top 5

Week 10 was a good rebound week for a handful of quarterbacks who needed it. 

Justin Herbert turned on the flamethrower in a shootout with the Lions. Brock Purdy lit up the box score after being a turnover machine in the team's previous three games. Even Geno Smith pieced himself back together in the second half vs. the Commanders after an absolute meltdown against the Ravens last week. 

You can't forget Kyler Murray, either. Murray was an absolute stud in his return to action. He didn't exactly dazzle in the stat sheet, but for the first time in a long time, Murray felt like a force to be reckoned with. Murray's showing was a pretty definitive "I'm back" statement to the rest of the league. 

Week 11 Quarterback Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranking: 1  

There is no update on QB1 because the Kansas City Chiefs were on their bye this week. We all know Andy Reid cooks up some insane game plans coming out of the bye, so look forward to a banger when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. 

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranking:

Lamar Jackson had a boom-or-bust day against a stingy Browns defense. 

Jackson was constantly under fire in the pocket thanks to Myles Garrett and co. Still, Jackson made some tough throws and kept finding chunk gains, mostly to Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews. Jackson even got a little help from vintage Odell Beckham Jr., who took a slant route to the house from 40 yards out. 

Jackson got picked off twice, and that was enough to decide this game. The first was partly Jackson's fault. He underthrew a deep ball where it maybe looked like he was trying to throw a back-shoulder ball, and the receiver wasn't quite on the same page. It happens. 

The second interception — a pick-six — was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell gracefully into CB Greg Newsome's hands. 

With that in mind, I'm not all that worried about Jackson. He played well in a lot of ways, and the two turnovers were both bizarre for their own reasons, particularly the second. That won’t happen every week. 

Ravens-Browns games are always stupid, anyway. 

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Previous Ranking: 3

The Buffalo Bills have a Josh Allen conundrum. They need Allen to be a superhero to make an incomplete offense function at an elite level, but that comes at the price of unleashing Allen to be a madman. 

Sometimes, that gets you blowouts vs. the Dolphins; other times, you lose a stupid game to the Broncos. 

For more on Allen and the Bills offense, read my article from Monday night: Buffalo Bills Offense, Josh Allen Unlikely to Fix Turnover Problem Midseason.

4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Previous Ranking: 5

Finally, Justin Herbert looked like himself again. 

Herbert was going blow for blow with the Lions' offense Sunday. The Los Angeles Chargers' offense scored a touchdown on its final five drives of the game, an effort somehow only outdone by a Lions offense that couldn't stop scoring, either. 

Herbert was everything we know he can be. He was decisive, aggressive and accurate. He looked like the Terminator playing quarterback. Herbert only did it with one real weapon, too. 

Keenan Allen was responsible for 11 catches and 175 yards in this game. Herbert targeted seven other players, but none of them earned more than 48 yards, and that was Austin Ekeler with a flurry of checkdowns. 

It was Herbert and Allen against the world, and they almost won. 

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Previous Ranking: 6

Dak Prescott is on a tear right now. 

In the past four weeks, Prescott has produced 0.35 EPA per dropback, per TruMedia. That's the best in the league among 21 quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts during that span. 

Even with Joe Burrow bouncing back, C.J. Stroud going nuclear, Jalen Hurts playing like an MVP candidate and so on, Prescott is in a class of his own. The dude is an unstoppable machine right now. 

We saw that on full display vs. the Giants this week. Prescott did throw a silly interception, but he was near-perfect on his other 34 attempts. He was chucking it deep, threading keyholes in the intermediate area and operating like prime Drew Brees in the underneath area. 

Prescott made every throw you can imagine a quarterback making. 

6. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Ranking: 4

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense isn't working right now. 

Calvin Ridley is being used exclusively as a true X wide receiver when he can't beat press or separate as consistently as he did with the Falcons. The Jaguars’ offensive line is a sieve. The run game is neither explosive nor efficient. 

And above all else, OC Press Taylor is not the same caliber of play-caller Doug Pederson was when he had the reins last season. 

As a result, Trevor Lawrence has been reduced to a West Coast quick-game passer and nothing else. He's good at it, but it's all the offense has right now because of the play-calling and offensive line issues. 

The NFL's best defenses are too good and smart to let that beat them. The 49ers this week, for example, squatted on all of the Jaguars' routes and gave them absolutely no room to complete anything. 

Pair that with a pass rush led by Nick Bosa and Chase Young vs. this offensive line and these are the results you get. 

7. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals 

Previous Ranking: 7

Sunday's game was a 2021 Joe Burrow game, for better and for worse. 

The first drive encapsulated it all. For most of the drive, the Cincinnati Bengals crawled down the field at a sloth's pace. TE Tanner Hudson earned FIVE receptions on checkdowns and quick-hitting routes. It was painful to watch. 

Then, on third-and-7 from just outside the red zone, Burrow dropped a go ball to Trenton Irwin for a touchdown. The Bengals scored just like that, after looking barely functional for most of the drive. 

That's about how the rest of the game played out. The Bengals threw weak jab after weak jab at the Texans' defense, all while getting bludgeoned up front by Will Anderson and others. 

But when he needed to, Burrow made plays outside the pocket and threw down. It was the kind of random magic that propelled an unlikely 2021 Bengals team all the way to the Super Bowl. 

I'd rather see 2022 Burrow, though. That version of Burrow found a better balance among efficiency, aggression and creativity. 

8. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Previous Ranking: 8

The Los Angeles Rams had a much-needed bye in Week 10. Matthew Stafford has been battling a thumb injury that kept him out of the team's Week 9 loss to the Packers. 

Coach Sean McVay said Stafford is expected to play against the Seahawks this week, so we'll see how he looks. 

I know Stafford feels high on this list given the missed time and underwhelming statistics, but there just aren't a lot of quarterbacks who elevate their offenses like Stafford. His creativity in the pocket is exceptional, and he makes all of the aggressive throws necessary to lift this offense way above its level. Stafford's arm is still as dangerous as anyone's, too, and he makes certain throws almost every other guy just can't make — assuming Stafford is healthy upon return, that is. 

9. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Previous Ranking: 9

The Philadelphia Eagles were off for their bye in Week 10. Funny enough, so were their next opponents, the Chiefs. Getting Mahomes vs. Jalen Hurts with both of them having an extra week to prepare should be a light show. 

10. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Previous Ranking: 10

C.J. Stroud, man. He just keeps doing it. 

Stroud cooked a Bengals defense known to give other top quarterbacks issues; DC Lou Anaroumo loves to disguise coverages and throw funky blitzes at quarterbacks at the worst times. He's the kind of coordinator that comes to mind when you call football a chess match. 

That's light work for Stroud, evidently. 

None of the confusing looks phased him. If anything, it only stoked Stroud into being even more aggressive than usual. He finished the day with an average depth of target of 11.95. 

It's not like he was just chucking up prayers, either. Stroud was throwing calculated strikes down the field all day long, right down to the final winning drive. 

Stroud is so close to moving up the list again. The only real barrier is the other guys ahead of him have pedigrees, and a number of them are playing at a level worthy of All-Pro votes. 

With that in mind, I just want to see Stroud keep doing what he's doing for the remainder of the season. He is playing as well as any of those guys and if he sustains it for the full season, with a few really tough defenses coming up, then I'll be more willing to push him above guys who have been playing at about this level for longer. Stroud will be higher on the list by the end of the year at this pace, I'm just comfortable letting that all play out first. 

11. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranking: 11

Kyler Murray's return was a resounding success. 

By the box score, it doesn't look like Murray had a great day. He went 19-of-32 for 249 yards and an interception. His only touchdown was a six-yard run on an option play. 

The eye test was a lot more favorable. Though still a little rusty at times — as one might imagine — Murray was a fireworks show. Murray made a handful of insane throws down the field, including a corner route to TE Trey McBride and a sweet deep crosser to Marquise Brown

WR Elijah Higgins dropped a nice throw on a corner route from Murray, too. 

Best of all, Murray looked like himself as a runner. Down one point late in the fourth quarter, Murray bailed out of a sack on third-and-10 to pick up 13 yards, giving the Arizona Cardinals' drive new life before they ultimately got into field goal range to take the win. 

12. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Previous Ranking: 12 

It was a tale of two halves for Geno Smith against the Commanders. 

For the first half, nothing the Seattle Seahawks did was working. Smith was uneven and spaced out on a number of open receivers who could have kept the chains moving. 

The receivers also failed Smith in his best moments early in the game, such as when DK Metcalf failed to work back to the ball on a deep crosser and let it get knocked down. 

The second half, though? That was the Seahawks offense we know and love. Smith came alive and started throwing fireballs down the field, as he does when he's really rolling. Others started making plays, too. 

Smith found Kenneth Walker on a checkdown from outside the pocket that he took about 60 yards to the house. 

Overall, it still feels like the Seahawks’ offense is missing a little something. The down-to-down consistency and flow aren't there like you want them to be. Smith can still sling it with the best of them, though, and the Seattle has enough explosive potential to go off for stretches. 

13. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Previous Ranking: 13

Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins had their bye in Week 11. Expect coach Mike McDaniel to come out with a tasty game plan for the Raiders on Sunday. 

14. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Previous Ranking: 14

Jared Goff played one of his best games of the year in a shootout with the Chargers. 

The Detroit Lions’ offense didn't attack much vertically, but that's a product of how Los Angeles tries to play defense. Goff instead gashed the Chargers in the intermediate range.

That's been the trademark of his game forever, and Sunday was no different. When paired with the Lions' overwhelming run game, that's more than enough to march up and down the field.

We've seen Goff play like before — it was the exact kind of game plan and flow he has always thrived in. He's playing well, but not in a way that should move the needle. 

15. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Previous Ranking: 15

Brock Purdy is back! 

That doesn't actually mean anything, though. Purdy was playing the same way he always does on Sunday. He was tough in the pocket and slinging throws down the field. He was getting creative and making plays outside the pocket when he needed to. 

The biggest difference between this game and the last three is that he didn't have to press in a close game in the fourth quarter, and his insane plays weren't getting punished. 

Purdy was still trying all the ridiculous stuff that got him burned previously. The scramble touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk, for example, was a terribly ill-advised throwback across his body to the middle of the field into traffic. 

Even Kyle Shanahan said it was one of the worst decisions Purdy has ever made. But he just gave the ball enough loft, and Aiyuk dunked on a Jaguars defensive back who went Mr. Magoo trying to play the ball in the air. 

So yeah, Purdy is back, but he never really left. Things just started working again. 

16. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Previous Ranking: 17

I've been saying it for most of the year, and I will say it again: Russell Wilson ain't bad!

Yes, you still get frustrating moments. Courtland Sutton's fumble in this game was an indirect result of Wilson throwing a ball too low, and Wilson nearly threw the win away at the end by taking a second-and-4 sack to take the team out of field goal range. 

Even at his peak in Seattle, Wilson had those moments. 

The good stuff is there, though. Wilson was calm and calculated in his decisions as a passer. He had the patience to take the easy throws and move the ball down the field slowly, something he's struggled with in the past. 

Then, when the Denver Broncos needed it most, Wilson flashed the old magic with an absolute beauty from outside the pocket to give Sutton a toe-tap touchdown. 

It's still not prime Wilson, but it's passable Wilson. That's a huge step up from this time last year. 

17. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranking: 18

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to get a confident, aggressive Baker Mayfield every week. 

Mayfield did throw a pick against the Titans, but all the other throws he made far outweigh the mistake. Mayfield took advantage of the size and strength advantage WR Mike Evans has over the Titans. 

On 10 targets, Mayfield connected with Evans six times for a whopping 143 yards and a score. Evans did a ton of work on the touchdown by dragging a Titans defender into the end zone, but hey, Mayfield did his part by getting the ball there on time. 

I'm still a little dubious about the ceiling of this offense and team about Mayfield long term, but he's playing quality ball right now. 

18. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Previous Ranking: 20

You wouldn't know it from the box score, but Jordan Love played one of his best games as a pro against the Steelers. 

Love showed all of the stuff that sold the Green Bay Packers on him in the first place. He was unwavering in the pocket and flashed bits of creativity to get the ball out from unique angles. He was aggressive down the field and made a lot of the right decisions for the majority of the game. Love's ball placement was better than usual, too. 

It's just that, again, the consistency of the offense suffers because everyone is so young — Love included. 

That popped up at different points but especially toward the end when the Packers were trying to claw the game back. Love threw his first interception, in part, because Christian Watson had no idea how to play the ball in the air, and then Love threw a second pick in the final minute of the game trying to force a ball over the middle that was never there. 

Disappointing as the finish was, you saw in this game why Love might be the guy moving forward. 

19. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Previous Ranking: 21

Sam Howell is starting to put it together. 

Parts of Howell's game are still uneven — he is an inconsistent, quick-game operator, and the sacks are still an issue, even if he is improving in that respect. Interceptions are always on the table with how aggressively he plays. 

But, man, he can sling it, and he isn't afraid to do so. Howell made some bonkers throws down the field against the Seahawks, including a laser over the middle to score a game-tying touchdown toward the end of the game. 

Howell was also playing faster than he had earlier in the season in terms of getting the ball out and bailing the pocket at the right times. The whole performance, and his growth at large, is made more impressive by how often the Washington Commanders ask him to drop back without the support of a strong running game. 

Howell still has a way to go to be a guaranteed plus starter in this league, but you can see the outline. Hopefully, he continues to fill in between the lines the more he plays. 

20. Josh Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranking: 24

Turns out Josh Dobbs is even better as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback when he gets a week to prepare. 

Dobbs had a game that was typical of his time in Arizona. He was smooth in the underneath operation. He was pulling the trigger on time and putting the ball where it needed to be without trying to do too much. 

There weren't many downfield shots, but without Justin Jefferson, that's understandable. 

The difference is that the Vikings’ offense is better designed and better stocked with real NFL weapons than the Cardinals’ offense is. In turn, Dobbs turned out a more productive day as a passer while doing largely the same high-floor, low-ceiling stuff he did in Arizona. 

Now, I'm just excited to see what happens when Jefferson gets back into the lineup, whenever that is. 

21. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranking: N/A

Jameis Winston played about one half of a football game and gave us every single thing you can imagine a Winston performance would give. 

The moment Winston came in, he started chucking the ball to Chris Olave. Winston immediately found his best guy and let it loose. For a guy coming straight off the bench, there are worse ways to play. 

Later, Winston unleashed a ridiculous cross-field throw to A.T. Perry for a touchdown. It was the kind of throw only a player of Winston's reckless abandon would even attempt, but it worked because Perry is 6-foot-5 and can dunk on people. 

Of course, Winston had just as many lowlights. The reckless abandon that earned him the unlikely touchdown to Perry also got him intercepted twice. 

If Winston has to play again, I'd imagine the negative plays get cut down slightly. They won't go away — I know that; I'm not crazy. 

Inserting Winston into a game cold is the perfect way to get all the worst plays out of him, though. With a game plan that properly fits his skill set, the ratio should be a little more even. 

22. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Previous Ranking: 22

It felt like Deshaun Watson played two different games Sunday. 

Through the first half, Watson was terrible. He was frantic and missing throws left and right. The Cleveland Browns couldn't get the ball moving through the air whatsoever. 

In the second half, Watson found his stride. Watson turned up the Air Yards dial a little bit and started hitting a few throws down the field. The run game and defense still largely carried the team, but Watson gathered himself enough to get the win. 

Editor's note: This story was written before Watson's season-ending shoulder surgery was announced.

23. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Previous Ranking: 19

The Mac Jones story remains the same. 

For a good portion of Sunday’s game, Jones was doing all the offense enables him to do. He was picking the Colts apart underneath and doing his best to stay on schedule. There just weren't many throws down the field, and we know he won’t create those opportunities. 

But my god, Jones has a penchant for the worst turnovers at the worst times. The interception Jones threw in this game — a T. rex–armed lob 10 yards short of his target open in the end zone — was as disgusting an interception as you will ever see. 

Jones was fading away from nonexistent pressure and put nothing on the ball. That's not a mistake any quarterback can make, much less one who doesn't generate many explosives. 

I still think Jones has the skills to execute well in a timing-based offense, but the New England Patriots don't have the offensive line or wide receiver talent to support that skill set, and he keeps turning the ball over. 

24. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Previous Ranking: 23

It's painful watching Bryce Young. Depressing, even. The offense around him is a nightmare, and he just doesn't have the tools to cover any of it up. 

For a more in-depth look at what's gone wrong for the Carolina Panthers, read my piece from Thursday night: Bryce Young Not Living Up to Hype, But Who’s to Blame?

25. Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

Previous Ranking: 26

Aidan O'Connell was sacrificed to the Jets’ defense Sunday night. 

While the Las Vegas Raiders won, O'Connell was up and down. He did a great job of knowing where his bread was buttered by feeding Davante Adams relentlessly, but O’Connell didn't have a whole lot else going for him. 

He looked completely incapable of moving around and evading pressure when New York caved the pocket in. 

I'm not interested in doing a referendum on a rookie in one of his first starts vs. this Jets defense, though. Of course he didn't look good. We'll see what O'Connell can do the rest of the way. 

26. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranking: 27

Will Levis' game against the Buccaneers was a good reminder of how young quarterbacks need to adjust to the NFL. 

For Levis, that adjustment comes down to his internal clock. He is willing to stand tall in the pocket, exhaust all his options and make throws down the field. That's admirable. 

You want that mentality in a young quarterback. Levis is willing to a fault, though, and too often just lets pass rushers tee off on a sitting duck in the pocket.

Levis has got to speed himself up. That will be the most critical part of his growth process.

27. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous Ranking: 28

Normally, I wouldn't include passing charts in this article. There are too many quarterbacks to cover, and things could get out of hand if I threw in too many graphics. But this one. This one you've got to see. 

Against the Packers, Kenny Pickett avoided the middle of the field like the plague — not one throw between the numbers beyond five yards. He threw a flurry of screens and checkdowns with the occasional back-shoulder throw to spice things up a little. 

If this were against the 49ers or the Ravens, maybe Pickett would get a pass for this. Not against the Packers, though. Green Bay’s defense is not good and hardly pressured Pickett all day. The fact that he only attempted the lowest-risk throws on the field against a defense like this is a huge red flag.

28. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranking: 29

Gardner Minshew played a nothingburger of a game against the Patriots. 

Yes, he threw an interception, but that's not even the real problem. It was a tipped ball that New England came down with. Maybe Minshew forced the ball into a risky window, but the bounce is just bad luck. 

The rest of the game was a perfectly muted performance. Minshew made a couple of throws down the field but was mostly reserved. He spent most of his day peppering the underneath area with quick throws and checkdowns the way he typically does when he's playing in structure.  

To his credit, Minshew didn't take any sacks, but that's not enough to move the needle. Minshew is what he is.

29. Taylor Heinicke, Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranking: 25

I don't know who the Atlanta Falcons will start after their Week 11 bye. I'm not sure Arthur Smith knows, either. For now, we'll stick with the most recent guy. 

Taylor Heinicke was a disaster against the Cardinals. Smith gave him the Week 1 Desmond Ridder game plan —all Heinicke was allowed to throw were screens and cheap, quick throws, and even those were a struggle for him. Heinicke threw just one pass beyond 10 yards. It was incomplete. 

If that's all Smith trusts Heinicke to do 10 weeks into the season, I don't see the point of him starting again. 

30. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Previous Ranking: 31

Zach Wilson has started 40 games in the NFL. Per TruMedia, Sunday night's game against the Raiders ranked 13th in EPA per dropback among his 40 starts — an above-average game for him. 

And yet, his performance still felt so disjointed and ultimately fell apart in the end. Wilson made a few plays, such as a no-look throw while scooting out of the pocket to his right, but the down-to-down consistency was still lacking. 

The pocket presence, timing and accuracy you want to see from a pro still escapes him. 

Wilson also threw a back-breaking interception at the end of the game straight to Raiders LB Robert Spillane. Despite Robert Saleh's insistence that Wilson isn't the issue, it's hard to watch the New York Jets and think otherwise. 

31. Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears

Previous Ranking: 30

Thursday night against the Panthers, Tyson Bagent was demoted to the "don't set anything on fire" game plan.

In fairness to Bagent, the Panthers' front seven can get after it. That's a bad matchup for the Chicago Bears’ offensive line, especially with a rookie UDFA such as Bagent behind center. 

It was painful to watch, though, and we didn't get to see much of what Bagent offers as a result. 

32. Tommy DeVito, New York Giants

Previous Ranking: 32

There's just not a lot to say about Tommy Devito. The New York Giants’ offense is on a third-string UDFA rookie who started the year on the practice squad, and it looks that way. 

Devito has been sacked 11 times and picked off three times in two starts. Devito can run a little bit — credit where credit is due — but the Giants can not function right now.