NFL Analysis


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NFL Week 13 Quarterback Power Rankings: Lawrence, Stroud Keep Top-10 Spots

Quarterback Rankings Josh Allen Patrick Mahomes Lamar Jackson

Nothing in the quarterback world was as important as Trevor Lawrence vs. C.J. Stroud this week. 

Lawrence and Stroud absolutely battled until the final whistle on Sunday. Lawrence, the prince who was promised, and Stroud, one of the best rookie quarterbacks of all time, put on a show that made it clear this matchup will be appointment viewing for the next 10 years. 

>>READ: Lawrence-Stroud is Next Great QB Rivalry

Both quarterbacks are tough, creative, accurate and supremely physically talented. They're top-10 quarterbacks and will only improve with time. The fact that we get these two ascending quarterbacks in the same division is a blessing. 


1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranking: 1

Patrick Mahomes can always count on the Raiders for a get-right game (or two). 

After a slow start in the first quarter, Mahomes became surgical. He didn't deliver as many strikes down the field as he does in his best moments, but he was ruthlessly efficient in the short to intermediate area. Mahomes peppered Travis Kelce and, in mildly surprising fashion, rookie Rashee Rice. 

Rice's 10 targets, eight receptions and 107 yards were career-highs for the young receiver. If Mahomes can continue to foster that relationship with Rice, who should be the team's best receiver, then the Kansas City Chiefs might be OK come January. 

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranking: 2

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens clearly had some growing pains in their first game without TE Mark Andrews. 

Jackson was more up and down than his usual self on Sunday night. Though he still largely avoided mistakes, Jackson struggled to find some of the answers in the passing game that he has for most of this season. Again, a big part is no longer having Andrews, who served as Jackson's safety valve for the past few years, in the lineup. 

That said, Jackson was useful on the ground, even just as a decoy at times. Jackson also had a delicious deep throw to Zay Flowers, which got dropped in part because of Flowers' short arms. If it connected, that completion alone would have "saved" Jackson's box score. 

Weird game for Jackson and the Ravens, but he's staying put. 

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Previous Ranking: 3

Sunday afternoon's game against the Eagles was a vintage "Josh Allen do everything" game. 

Allen dropped back 57 times against the Eagles, according to TruMedia. That's the ninth-most of any quarterback and the most for Allen in a game this year. Heavy as the burden was, Allen carried it with grace. 

Allen was unbelievable. Quick game passing, hole shots down the sideline, tight-window throws over the middle, scrambles to turn sacks into first downs — everything a quarterback could do with the game on his back, Allen did it. Heck, Allen even took just one sack despite how many times he dropped back against a fierce Eagles pass rush. 

Allen's effort wasn't enough to get over the finish line, but he played a hell of a game. 

4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Previous Ranking: 4

We have to save Justin Herbert from the Los Angeles Chargers

By the numbers, Herbert didn't have a good game vs. the Ravens. Not only did the Chargers put up just 10 points, but Herbert averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt, threw just one touchdown to one interception and took three sacks for a whopping 24 yards. 

Herbert played his heart out, though. Herbert was under constant pressure, a situation made infinitely worse by a wide receiver group that can not separate besides Keenan Allen. There was also no support from the run game. Herbert's 47 yards on four carries made up for more than half of the Chargers' 86 rushing yards. 

Literally, the entire Chargers offense is Herbert and Allen. That's it. Austin Ekeler no longer has juice, and none of the healthy receivers on the roster can separate. It's a depressing offense to watch, considering how well Herbert is playing individually. 

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Previous Ranking: 5

It's just too easy for Dak Prescott right now. 

More than anything, Prescott was attacking the middle of the Commanders' defense. As he always does, Prescott ripped a handful of seam throws and beat the Commanders over the top with a sweet touchdown throw to Kavonte Turpin. It was the kind of aggressive, accurate passing you want to see from a quarterback quietly surging into the MVP conversation. 

>> READ: Prescott in MVP Conversation

As a cherry on top, Prescott didn't take a sack on more than 30 dropbacks in this game. The Commanders traded their two best outside pass-rushers at the trade deadline, but Prescott gave the rest of the group zero chance of bringing him down.

6. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Ranking: 6

Trevor Lawrence came out victorious in this round of the AFC South's heated young QB rivalry. 

Lawrence was exceptional on Sunday. He got some help with schemed-up plays and YAC on a few occasions, but Lawrence mostly played out of his mind. 

Not only was Lawrence a wizard in the underneath area as usual, but he got to open things up down the field. That started to happen with this offense, specifically involving Calvin Ridley, last week and bled into this matchup. It was the version of Lawrence we have been asking this Jacksonville Jaguars team to show off. 

After a weird season to this point for Lawrence and the Jaguars offense, it's nice to see them start to figure things out. 

7. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Previous Ranking: 7

Matthew Stafford picked the Cardinals apart on Sunday, but not in the way he typically does. 

Whereas the Stafford we all know and love is a gunslinger down the field, Stafford was patient in this game. Stafford attacked and attacked and attacked in the short area of the field.

He was daring the Cardinals to come up and make a tackle. When paired with some of the devious screens Sean McVay was calling, it turned out to be a delightful approach. 

Stafford still made a few outrageous throws, just not as many as we assume he would on a normal day. That Stafford can also dominate in a more reserved fashion is a pretty feather in his cap, though. 

8. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Previous Ranking: 8

Same story, different day: I don't know what to do with Jalen Hurts

Hurts was straight-up bad for the first two quarters and change on Sunday afternoon. He didn't want to throw anything. There were so many instances on film of Hurts looking over open receivers and choosing to bail the pocket, which more often ended in throwaways and sacks than anything positive. 

But when the chips were down later in the game, Hurts made a few key plays. The touchdown throw down the seam to DeVonta Smith was placed with feathery touch, and the off-script bomb to Olamide Zaccheus in the back of the end zone was a well-thrown gamble that worked out in Philly's favor. Hurts, of course, also won the game with a QB draw. 

That's kind of been the story of Hurts all season. Uneven for stretches until suddenly, the right play comes along at the right time. 

9. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Previous Ranking: 9

The Houston Texans lost a nail-biter on Sunday, but C.J. Stroud gave them every chance possible to win the game. 

Stroud was lights out against the Jaguars. Despite unrelenting pressure from every area of the pocket, Stroud never wavered. Stroud continued to chuck the ball down the field and create plays from outside the pocket.

No matter how much the Jaguars got after him or what they threw his way, Stroud found ways to push the ball beyond 10 yards and get chunk after chunk against this defense. 

Stroud continues to play like one of the league's best quarterbacks. 

10. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranking: 10

Kyler Murray wasn't good on Sunday. He barely completed half his passes, wasn't efficient and took four sacks. With Murray still knocking off the rust and going up against a divisional opponent that knows how to play him, a game like this was bound to happen at some point this season. 

At the same time, this was a game where it felt like the offense lost the plot. Murray dropped back 49 times compared to just 14 non-QB runs for the Arizona Cardinals all game long. The Cardinals abandoned the run game too early and put the game on the back of a quarterback who is still trying to get acclimated again. 

The Cardinals generally run the ball well, too. They rank third in yards per carry, 11th in EPA per designed rush and 15th in success rate, per TruMedia. That's not a dominant unit by any stretch, but it should be enough to keep the offense moving and remain balanced against a Rams rush defense that's been below average. 

11. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Previous Ranking: 11

Thursday's 49ers-Seattle Seahawks game went about as expected. 

For one, it seems the 49ers just have the Seahawks' number. The 49ers' defense goes into superhuman mode the minute they see that bird on the side of the helmets. 

Beyond that, this just wasn't a good matchup for Geno Smith. Smith was playing at less than 100 percent after suffering a triceps injury on his throwing arm the week before. That, combined with the 49ers' pass rush overwhelming the Seahawks' offensive line at every position, led to another inconsistent and incomplete showing for the Seahawks' passing offense. 

I still believe in Smith, but the season is starting to slip away. 

12. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Previous Ranking: 13

The Miami Dolphins scored 34 points on Black Friday. You might think that meant the offense exploded again, but that wasn't quite the case.

Tua Tagovailoa was fine. Tagovailoa made a handful of well-timed throws over the middle and did a good job getting the ball out of his hands vs. a fierce pass rush. For the most part, his accuracy was a positive. Tagovailoa didn't make very many flashy throws, in part because he didn't need to in order to win this game. 

If anything, Tagovailoa's biggest play was the pick-six he threw to Brandin Echols. Tagovailoa tried throwing a speed out from the far hash but just didn't have the arm for it. The ball was thrown well behind the intended receiver, letting Echols cut it off and take it to the house with relative ease. 

Tagovailoa is a nice quarterback, but physical limitations like that one keep me from placing him any higher than this. 

13. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Previous Ranking: 12

When Jared Goff threw the ball on Thursday, he was quite good. The Detroit Lions asked Goff to dropback about 50 times and really command the underneath area to keep the chains moving. While he wasn't perfect, Goff did generally well to get the ball to the right guy and create chances for yards after the catch. 

However, Goff's propensity to fumble in the pocket showed up big time in this game. Goff lost three fumbles, two as strip sacks and another just after Goff crossed the line of scrimmage as a scrambler. At a certain point, it felt like the air conditioning inside Ford Field might be enough to knock the ball out of his hands. 

The good news is Goff won't cough it up three times every week. The bad news is he can have games like this and will be more prone to them in big games and on the road once we get into January football. 

14. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Previous Ranking: 14

Brock Purdy was mostly fine against the Seahawks. 

Purdy was doing all the stuff he typically does for all but one dropback. Purdy got the ball out on time and made a few brilliant throws over the middle of the field. With the offense as healthy as it is right now, Purdy's blind faith in the offense and solid ball placement can shine. 

Purdy did throw an ugly pick-six inside his 10-yard line, though. Purdy tried to hit Christian McCaffrey on an underneath option route, as he often does but left the throw too high and out in front. McCaffrey only managed to get one hand on it, knocking the ball up into the air for Jordyn Brooks. It's a little unlucky the ball bounced the way it did, but Purdy has to place that ball better. 

That said, Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers offense will be fine. They're too talented not to be. 

15. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Previous Ranking: 15

Jordan Love continues to play good, promising ball. It's taken three months, but we are finally starting to see all the reps with the Green Bay Packers' young offense paying off. 

>>READ: Love On Path to Be Packers' Franchise QB

16. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Previous Ranking: 16

Sunday's win over the Browns was the perfect example of what the Russell Wilson formula should look like. 

First of all, Wilson did not make mistakes. Wilson took just one sack against a Browns pass rush that has the potential to get seven sacks on anybody. Additionally, Wilson didn't throw any picks and generally didn't put the ball in harm's way. He lost a fumble, but at least he wasn't making boneheaded plays as a passer. 

Wilson then needed to make a small handful of throws in key moments, and he did. The third-and-8 bomb to Courtland Sutton on the opening drive is a great example. Wilson extended the play and found Marvin Mims on a third-and-7 in the next quarter, too. Little clutch moments like that are all Wilson needs to make this Denver Broncos offense work. 

17. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranking: 17

Derek Carr remains the king of empty calorie yardage. 

Carr threw for more than 300 yards in this game, yet the New Orleans Saints never found the end zone. Aside from a monster throw to Taysom Hill down the right side and a couple of nice throws to Chris Olave, Carr did the whole dink and dunk routine. That was enough to crawl the Saints' offense into field goal range a number of times but never enough to get them into the end zone. 

There's definitely value in reliably moving the ball, but Carr and the Saints have to find ways to finish drives. 

18. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

Previous Ranking: 18

The Chicago Bears did not want to play offense against Brian Flores' Vikings defense on Monday night. 

Flores has been a weird coordinator all year. The Vikings rush three and rush five or more at the highest rates in the league. It's a completely hot/cold defensive approach that keeps offenses guessing and punishes quarterbacks who can't decipher it pre-snap. 

Well, the Bears decided Justin Fields doesn't have the chops to handle that. Fields was relegated to almost exclusively throwing screens and quick passes to keep it simple vs. Flores' funky defense. 

19. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranking: 19

Baker Mayfield has played a lot of good ball this season. That was not the case on Sunday. 

Mayfield just couldn't free himself from the Colts' pass rush. Under duress all game long, Mayfield ultimately took six sacks. It could have been a few more if not for some fearless play in tight pockets.  

As a result, Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense could never get in a rhythm. Either Mayfield was speeding himself up in anticipation of the pass rush, or the Bucs were too far behind the sticks to salvage a drive. Maybe things can stabilize against the Panthers next week. 

20. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Previous Ranking: 20

I am tired of seeing the Washington Commanders make Sam Howell drop back 40-plus times a game. 

It's not a sustainable model for any quarterback. The elite quarterbacks can handle it for stretches, but it's not an effective, sound strategy for producing offense with most quarterbacks. Howell certainly falls in the "most quarterbacks" bucket. 

As you might expect with that kind of game plan, Howell was up and down with a few absolute beauties mixed in there. That's what Howell has been for most of the year, and it's been enough to make his potential very visible.

I'd like to see what Howell looks like with a little bit of the weight off his shoulders. 

21. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranking: 22

Desmond Ridder was so Desmond Ridder in his return that it hurts. 

Ridder wasn't asked to do a lot from a volume standpoint. He threw the ball 21 times while the run game did the heavy lifting. When called upon, Ridder made a few sweet throws. You saw his aggression and tight-window potential on full display.

But of course, Ridder turned the ball over twice. Ridder threw two picks and neither was pretty. The first was a misfire on a short option route to Bijan Robinson, a route those two have struggled to connect on all season. 

Ridder is comfortably better than Taylor Heinicke, but his stint on the bench was supposed to help correct the turnover issue. It's got to get cleaned up down the stretch. 

22. Josh Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranking: 21

The Josh Dobbs implosion finally happened. Dobbs threw four interceptions and looked completely inept in a brutal loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night. 

>>READ: Dobbs' Cinderella Story Ends

23. Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

Previous Ranking: 25

Aidan O'Connell continues to play admirable football for the Las Vegas Raiders

As in previous weeks, O'Connell didn't do a whole lot down the field. He doesn't have the arm strength to attack vertically consistently, and certainly not late in the down. O'Connell also did nothing with his legs, a problem that will likely never improve. 

That being said, O'Connell gets how to be a distributor. He plays on time and doesn't get his offensive line in trouble. O'Connell knows where his best receivers are and how to get them the ball without just throwing up back-shoulder prayers. O'Connell also has pretty solid accuracy, even if you'll never mistake him for Drew Brees. 

O'Connell doesn't have the tools or ceiling of a legit franchise guy, but he can absolutely, positively play in this league. 

24. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranking: 26

It was a tale of two halves for Will Levis vs. the Panthers. 

Levis was rolling in the first half. He didn't unleash any strikes down the field the way he did in his debut, but he was a solid operator within the offense. Levis played on time and made the handful of throws he needed to. 

In the second half, however, Levis went just 5 of 12. The Panthers pass rush started to get to him and the rhythm of the offense disappeared. 

Thankfully for the Tennessee Titans, the 17 points they scored in the first half were enough to beat the Panthers. 

25. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Previous Ranking: 24

Bryce Young threw the ball away seven times against the Titans. Seven!

It sounds ridiculous, but that's such a good snapshot of what's wrong with Young and the Carolina Panthers

On the one hand, the situation is terrible. Young is constantly under pressure, often right away, and has no receivers who can separate. Only Adam Thielen is halfway reliable. That combination is ripe for throwaways if the quarterback isn't a reckless fiend and Young isn't. 

At the same time, Young has no strong answers to these problems. He's not big enough to hang in muddy pockets. His arm isn't good enough to test tight windows and throw receivers open. And perhaps the most damaging of all, Young isn't the scrambler he was in college. 

Young's best option when things break down around him is often throwing the white flag. I know the situation is bad right now, but that's not going to cut it. 

26. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranking: 27

Another week, another milquetoast Gardner Minshew performance. 

Minshew threw 41 passes on Sunday, and a vast majority of them came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. That's typically a good strategy for completing many passes and keeping things moving, but that wasn't the case. Minshew completed just 58.5 percent of his passes, registering an -8.4 percent completion percentage over expected, per NextGenStats. 

Thanks to an extremely efficient day on the ground with Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss, Minshew's efforts were enough to get the Indianapolis Colts the win. I still don't feel very good about it, though. 

27. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous Ranking: 28

The Pittsburgh Steelers did it! They earned 400 yards of offense! And Kenny Pickett actually helped them do that!

Funny enough, Pickett still mostly did the stuff he was doing in his best moments last year. The offense did well to present him with a ton of good quick game looks, and he executed fairly well.

Like always, all Pickett could do to target down the field was chuck up some back shoulder balls to Diontae Johnson and George Pickens, but that's enough when the quick game stuff is working to keep the chains moving. 

One game isn't going to change my opinion of Pickett. He didn't even do anything in this game that we haven't seen from him before. This game was certainly a step in the right direction, though. 

28. Jake Browning, Cincinnati Bengals

Previous Ranking: 29

Jake Browning ain't Joe Burrow. That much is certain. 

The Cincinnati Bengals' offense had nothing but short passes and praying for YAC against the Steelers. Browning did a decent job distributing the ball in the underneath area, but that's all he had.

Browning wasn't ever able to push the ball down the field or into tough windows outside the numbers. The whole game plan was a smattering of stick and slant routes with checkdowns sprinkled in between. 

It's nice that Browning can give the Bengals something, but it's hard to see how this version of the offense salvages the season. 

29. Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots

Previous Ranking: NA

Bailey Zappe isn't going to fix anything for the New England Patriots' offense. 

Zappe is limited in all the same ways Mac Jones is. Zappe has a popgun arm and is not a threatening athlete. He doesn't have the arm to push the ball down the field late in the game, and he isn't going to throw receivers open. 

That said, Zappe also succeeds in many of the same ways Jones did when he has played well in the past. Zappe is a decent decision maker with impressive timing and above-average accuracy. He's got enough to him not to be a total embarrassment. 

More than anything, the difference between Zappe and Jones is that maybe Zappe isn't broken yet. Jones is clearly broken and playing below his level. Zappe, at least in the short term, might be able to play with his head on straight. 

30. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Cleveland Browns

Previous Ranking: 30

Dorian Thompson-Robinson unfortunately left Sunday's game because of a concussion, leaving his status for this coming week in jeopardy. 

While Thompson-Robinson was on the field, the offense looked the same as it did a week ago. A lot of the passing concepts were basic and took the burden of processing off Thompson-Robinson's shoulders. Thompson-Robinson still completed fewer than half of his passes. 

>>READ: Thompson-Robinson's Development Ongoing

To his credit, DTR didn't throw a pick or take a sack, and he made himself useful as a runner. 

Without knowing who will start for the Cleveland Browns next week, we'll keep Thompson-Robinson in for now. 

31. Tommy DeVito, New York Giants

Previous Ranking: 31

Tommy DeVito produced a box score that feels impossible. DeVito completed 17 of 25 passes for one touchdown and no picks as a passer. He averaged a respectable 7.6 yards per attempt. It doesn't sound so bad, right? 

Unfortunately, DeVito's complete inability to manage the pocket tanked his QBR rating. DeVito took six sacks for a crushing 49 yards and fumbled twice, one of which the Patriots recovered. That brought DeVito's QBR down to 7.4, which feels absurd, given how well he produced when the ball got thrown. 

That remains the problem with DeVito, though. He's capable-ish when he gets the throw off, but he remains the most sackable QB in a league chock full of extremely sackable QBs. 

32. Tim Boyle, New York Jets

Previous Ranking: 32

There is nothing to say about Tim Boyle. He threw two interceptions, fumbled twice and took seven sacks against the Dolphins in his first start this season. Nothing about the performance was encouraging, either. Boyle finished the day with a 4.6 QBR. 

The New York Jets did this to themselves.