23 min read

NFL Week 9 Quarterback Power Rankings: Joe Burrow Retakes Top-10 Spot

We are closing in on a quarterback crisis. 

The league is already the youngest it's been at the position in more than a decade, and now an unrelenting run of injuries is forcing more young players and backups into starting lineups. There are nearly a dozen quarterbacks who will start this week who should be holding a clipboard or riding the bench to get practice reps but have been thrust into the starting job for one reason or another. 

So, if offense feels down this season, especially in recent weeks, keep that in mind. 

Week 9 Quarterback Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranking: 1 

The Kansas City Chiefs lost 24-9 to the hapless Broncos on Sunday. Usually, that would be reason for panic, but the Chiefs do this once a year. Everything goes wrong, and they lose a stupid game. This year, it's the Broncos. Last year, it was the Colts. The year before, it was the Titans, and so forth. 

Patrick Mahomes didn't bring his "A" game. He never found the end zone and instead threw a vintage Texas Tech-era interception. Mahomes reportedly had the flu on Sunday, though. He was even said to be taking IVs the morning of, which suggests he wasn't at full capacity for this game. 

Mahomes and the Chiefs will be fine moving forward. 

2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Previous Ranking: 2  

"Surgical" isn't usually the word for Josh Allen, but that's what he was against the Buccaneers on Thursday night. 

Allen was dicing the Buccaneers up in the underneath area. His 2.19 time-to-throw and 5.02 average depth of target were the lowest and third-lowest marks of his career since 2020, respectively. It was the perfect game plan to attack a blitz-heavy Buccaneers, and Allen executed as well as anyone. 

Allen has improved tremendously as a quick passer over the years, but Thursday felt like his final form. Weaving those games in between the superhero games is precisely why Allen is second to only Mahomes.

>> READ: Bills Found Identity in Week 8

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranking: 3  

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens’ passing game kind of laid an egg against the Cardinals after giving it to the Lions a week ago. 

Maybe this is just me coping, but it felt like the Ravens scaled their passing game down a ton vs. the Cardinals. It's almost as if they didn't want to call the good stuff because, well, it's the Cardinals.

So much of the Ravens' passing game was rudimentary spread concepts, RPOs and uninspired vertical shots out of shotgun. 

It's a weird game, but my faith in Jackson's ability isn't wavering. 

4. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

Previous Ranking: 4 

Trevor Lawrence weathered the storm (literally) vs. the Steelers. 

While Lawrence took a few sacks and threw a pick, he was dealing outside of that small handful of mistakes. Lawrence peppered TE Evan Engram in the underneath area. 

That opened up the rest of the field to hit Calvin Ridley, Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk on deeper throws. It was the quintessential jab-jab-haymaker game we know Lawrence can deliver. 

5. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Previous Ranking: 5 

Justin Herbert drew the Bears on Sunday night at the right time. After two tough weeks, Herbert got his "get-right" game. 

Herbert played a mistake-free game against the Bears. He completed something like his first 13 passes, didn't throw any picks and never took a sack. Every throw was out quickly and pinned right on his receiver's chest. 

Herbert was the driving force for the Los Angeles Chargers going up 24-7 by halftime. Herbert and the Chargers took their foot off the gas the rest of the way, but that says more about the Bears than it does about the Chargers. 

>> READ: Can Chargers Rely on Herbert? 

6. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Previous Rank: 7 

The Cowboys-Rams game got out of control in a hurry. Within the first five possessions, the Dallas Cowboys offense scored 10 points, and the defense scored nine thanks to a Daron Bland pick-six and a blocked punt for a safety. 

The next Cowboys possession started at the Rams' 13-yard line after a huge return from KaVontae Turpin. Dak Prescott found CeeDee Lamb on the second play of the drive. Just like that, the game was 26-3 with 13 minutes left in the second quarter. 

All that is to say, Prescott and the Cowboys offense didn't have to play a full game of football, and they were never under any serious pressure. That said, Prescott was certainly dealing. 

The Cowboys experimented with Lamb as an outside receiver, and Prescott found him repeatedly. 

7. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Previous Rank: 6

Matthew Stafford looked exceptional on the Los Angeles Rams' opening drive. For a brief moment, it looked like we would get a fireworks show between him and Prescott. 

Then, Stafford threw a pick-six on the next drive, and the Cowboys blocked a punt shortly after. The game spiraled out of control, and that was before Stafford injured the thumb on his throwing hand. 

It's unclear if Stafford will play this week. Reports are Stafford is day-to-day, but with an injury on his throwing hand, Stafford will likely miss at least a game. For now, though, we'll keep Stafford on the list. 

8. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

Previous Rank: 11 

Joe Burrow is back?

The first six weeks of the Joe Burrow experience were brutal. The calf injury only compounded the typical slow start Burrow has early in the season. After easing into a healthier version of himself in Weeks 5 and 6, Burrow came out of Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 7 bye looking like a new man. 

The most significant difference for Burrow is he was playing fast and confident football. He was throwing it down the field and dancing around like we know he can when he's at his best. That version of Burrow was largely absent through the first six weeks. 

It's just one game, but watching Burrow just felt different this week. Burrow felt like himself again. I want to see Burrow sustain that for a couple more weeks before he moves all the way back up the list, but this was an encouraging bounce back. 

9. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Previous Ranking: 8

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles’ passing offense are starting to look like themselves. 

This week's shootout against the Commanders was almost identical to one of the games between those two teams last season. 

In Week 3 of last season, the Eagles relentlessly attacked the Commanders down the field. DeVonta Smith dunked on everyone, and A.J. Brown made a couple of plays, too. The only difference this time around was Brown was the featured dunk master while Smith played more of a complementary role. 

It was the type of game we've wanted to see from the Eagles. All of the team's quick passes, RPOs and screens set the table for them to comfortably unleash Hurts' arm down the field time and time again. Hopefully, this continues because the Eagles’ offense is a blast to watch when they're rolling. 

10. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Previous Ranking: 9

Geno Smith is on a little bit of a turnover run right now. He's thrown five interceptions in the past three games. Not all of those interceptions are his fault, but when you're as aggressive a passer as Smith, sometimes those stretches happen. 

That's precisely why I'm not all that worried. Despite the interceptions, Smith still posted a 52.3 QBR against one of the league's best defenses on Sunday. That's not superstar material, but it's better than just about every other quarterback has fared against the Browns' defense. 

I'm sticking with the long-term outlook on Smith's season. Yes, the turnovers are frustrating, but Smith's down-to-down play is so good. He's aggressive and pushes the ball down the field, yet he doesn't really kill drives with sacks. When the turnovers normalize a bit, we'll all calm down about the Seahawks’ offense. 

11. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Previous Ranking: 10

Bill Belichick didn't let the Miami Dolphins’ offense get too many freebies. They were slowing down Miami's run game, as well. As such, Tua Tagovailoa had to throw the ball 45 times, tied for a season-high, and methodically move the ball down the field. 

Though far from a perfect day, Tagovailoa met the challenge. He threw one horrid interception, but when a quarterback has to drop back nearly 50 times, one of those is likely to happen even to the best quarterbacks. 

Tagovailoa was sharp for most of the day, though he was mostly just ripping his usual middle-of-the-field throws in between screen passes and checkdowns. 

All in all, Tagovailoa didn't do anything positive or negative to cause any movement. 

12. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

Previous Ranking: 13

The good, the bad and the ugly: Jared Goff was Jared Goff on Monday night. 

For the most part, Goff was slingin' it around the yard. He made some delightful throws to the intermediate area, as he often does. Amon-Ra St. Brown had another huge night, and even Jameson Williams finally got involved. 

Goff was also clunky in the ways he usually is. He wasn't particularly good when the Raiders crashed the pocket. Goff also threw a disgusting interception — a late ball into the flats right into the hands of Marcus Peters, who returned it for six. 

In short, Goff was basically the guy he's been for most of the season. 

13. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

Previous Ranking: 14

C.J. Stroud didn't have his best stuff against the Panthers. 

Downfield passing was the main culprit for Stroud's relative struggles. Stroud completed just one throw beyond 15 yards. Some of that was because the Panthers were teeing off upfront. 

Some of that was the Houston Texans not having a real vertical threat outside of Nico Collins. Regardless, the inability to open up down the field made the Texans offense feel constipated, which isn't a way to win in the NFL. 

That being said, Stroud was still fine. He executed well underneath, and he didn't make any critical mistakes. Stroud will bounce back with stronger performances. I have no doubt about that. 

14. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Previous Ranking: 15

The Brock Purdy pendulum is swinging back the other way, but perhaps too harshly. 

In the past two games, Purdy played some of his best ball through three quarters. He was ripping throws into tight windows and making plays outside the pocket. Purdy was especially active as a scrambler vs. the Bengals. 

Unfortunately, some of the good fortune Purdy enjoyed, concerning risky passes not being intercepted, has come back to bite him at the worst times. Purdy has thrown four interceptions in the last two games combined, three of which came in the fourth quarter. 

The interceptions could be a more regular part of the Purdy experience, but the offense is still moving the ball with him. That's without LT Trent Williams or WR Deebo Samuel in the lineup. 

We're definitely seeing some of the downsides with Purdy become clear, but I still believe this offense will be fine for the rest of the season with him at quarterback. 

15. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranking: 16

Derek Carr played by far his best game in the black and gold on Sunday. 

For most of the year, Carr was a touchdown-to-checkdown merchant. Everything was shot plays to Rashid Shaheed or a weak checkdown. That's just not a reliable way to run an NFL offense. 

That changed against the Colts. Carr still found a couple of awesome throws down the field to Shaheed but did much better picking the Colts apart in the intermediate area than he had in any of his previous outings this season. 

Granted, that's a little easier to do against a Colts defense that is so predictable in its coverages, but credit to Carr for delivering. Now, we'll see if Carr can keep this up or if he'll revert into his shell. 

16. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Previous Ranking: 17

I'm starting to sound like a Russell Wilson apologist at this point, even though I don't think I care for his play much. 

Wilson was fine on Sunday, though. It was a typical game for him. He threw a few seeds down the field, even some while outside the pocket, and gave the offense a little spark to complement a strong running game. 

As is the case with a Wilson-led passing offense, there was still some unevenness. Wilson had multiple miscommunications with Jerry Jeudy, specifically. Additionally, Wilson and the offensive line took turns being the culprit for untimely third-down sacks. 

That's just what this Denver Broncos offense is. You get some explosives down the field, and Wilson makes one or two cool plays. However, the combination of Wilson's play style, middling wide receiver play and a shaky offensive line led to inconsistent results for the other 80 percent of passing plays. 

17. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Rank: 21

Baker Mayfield was brutal for about three quarters on Thursday night. 

Then, something got into him. The consistently inconsistent Mayfield got hot for one drive in the fourth quarter. Mayfield marched 92 yards down the field with a grueling 17-play drive, eventually finding Mike Evans in the end zone on a desperate fourth and 10. 

Unfortunately for Mayfield, that one drive wasn't enough to overcome the other 45 minutes of lifeless play. 

That game didn't change my view of Mayfield. He will take bad sacks, be late on some throws and run around more than he should. But Mayfield can get hot at times, and he can spin it when he does. 

That's just the roller coaster you ride with Mayfield. His highs are at least more interesting than many guys in this range. 

18. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons

Previous Rank: 19

Desmond Ridder remains the weirdest quarterback in the league. 

On Sunday, Ridder had another slow start. He wasn't actively sinking the offense or anything, but the Titans' defensive line wrecked the Falcons up front and stymied any ability to create consistent offense. 

Ridder — while competent within structure — isn't the guy to go outside the pocket and make something out of nothing. 

The Atlanta Falcons should ride out the season with Ridder. The three games before this showed better down-to-down play from him than at any other point in his career. This whole Falcons season was about seeing what they have in Ridder, and they should see it through. 

19. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

Previous Ranking: 20

Mac Jones is what he is. 

At his best, Jones is a quick-game distributor with excellent accuracy. He can layer throws in well over the middle of the field when asked to do so at the right times. You can get good game manager-level play out of him. 

But Jones doesn't do a whole lot to raise the level of the offense. That remains a problem on a New England Patriots team with no explosive talent at the skill positions and an offensive line that hasn't gelled yet. 

Jones could look a lot better in a proper environment. We've seen it before. This version of the Patriots just isn't providing that, and Jones isn't the kind of guy who can make up for it. 

Neither are most of the other guys listed behind Jones, though, and that's why he's not further down the list. 

20. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Previous Ranking: 23

The Green Bay Packers offense is a pain to watch. 

On one hand, Jordan Love is still an inconsistent quarterback. He's not triggering over the middle of the field like he was early in the year, and he still has three or so bizarre misfires a game. That stuff has to stop if Love wants to take the next step. 

There's always something going wrong around him, though. Just last week, penalties killed a ton of the Green Bay Packers' drives. The Packers also missed on a handful of potential connections because of miscommunications between Love and his receivers. 

Offensive line woes remain an issue, too. Love had a throw this week where he tried to throw a hole shot into the Cover 2 sideline void, which is a fine choice. However, he had a guard in his lap, making it tough to get all the velocity needed to make the throw. That stuff keeps happening. 

While Love isn't yet the definitive franchise quarterback the Packers were looking for, he's better than his numbers suggest. The Packers could be a totally functional offense with Love if there weren't a million other issues. 

21. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

Previous Ranking: 27

It's coming together for Bryce Young. The game is slowing down for him. Last week's game against the Texans was a huge step in the right direction. 

Obviously, with Young, the big plays are the draw. What Young can do outside of structure is his calling card. Even if he can't quite do it to the same level as he did in college, given his physical tools. 

But it was Young's play in structure that was most encouraging against the Texans. Young was playing faster and doing a better job of hanging around in tough pockets to progress through concepts. 

He's still a little up and down in the way rookies typically are, but the Texans game was a good look at what Young can do when he's playing confidently. The accuracy to all levels of the field is what you want to see. 

Young still has more to prove, but the arrow is pointing up. Great look for the first-overall pick. 

22. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders

Previous Ranking: 26

Sam Howell weirdly had the Eagles' number. 

Howell was throwing flames on Sunday. He finally struck a balance between getting the ball out on time in the 1-10-yard area while still picking his spots to uncork a few beauties down the field. Howell always had it in him to throw well all over the yard. He just needed to put it together at the same time. 

Better yet, Howell wasn't a sack magnet. That's the most significant point of improvement. Howell took just one sack in this game. It was the first time all year he's been sacked fewer than four times. 

I'd like to see Howell have more than one game like this before moving him up too far, but this was an encouraging performance. 

23. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders

Previous Ranking: 18

Jimmy Garoppolo played his worst game with the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night. 

Garoppolo found two sweet throws over the middle, but the rest of the game was a tire fire. He was uncomfortable in the pocket and completely incapable of finding open receivers down the field. His interception was as ugly as it gets, too. 

Garoppolo tried to chuck a prayer to Davante Adams down the right sideline but threw a hot air balloon right to a Lions safety. 

Maybe Garoppolo looks a little better when he's further removed from the back injury that was bothering him recently. That might be wishful thinking, though. It's not like Garoppolo's level was all that high even when he was healthy. 

24. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers

Previous Ranking: 25

Kenny Pickett did a lot of nothing vs. the Jaguars before leaving the game due to a rib injury. 

The same issues remain with Pickett. He does some fun stuff outside the pocket once in a blue moon, and he knows how to find George Pickens on the sideline, but that's it. The down-to-down processing and pocket management remains baffling. 

We don't know if Pickett will be cleared for Thursday, but for now, he'll stay on the list. 

25. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Previous Ranking: N/A

Daniel Jones is set to make his return to action against the Raiders this week. 

Jones was terrible to start the season. He was a sack magnet and could not find any of the moderate consistency that made him look functional a season ago. 

Part of that was the New York Giants working through growing pains with a new look on offense, but Jones was still bad. Tyrod Taylor comfortably outplayed him when called upon. 

Still, Jones can ease back into the swing of things vs. a bad Raiders defense. Perhaps with the slight improvements elsewhere in the offense, Jones can look functional again. 

26. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranking: 26

Watching the Indianapolis Colts offense on Sunday was a bizarre experience. 

Within structure, Gardner Minshew was terrible. He found a few checkdowns and quick passes, but he was largely inconsistent and inaccurate. The down-to-down operation just wasn't there. 

The only time Minshew looked good was when he was creating. Minshew escaped a handful of sacks and made some absolutely bonkers throws outside the pocket, including a 33-yard bomb to TE Drew Ogletree

Minshew had enough of those plays to make the game interesting but not enough to overcome his lack of consistency. That's just the way it goes with backup quarterbacks. 

27. Josh Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranking: 29

Same story, different week.

Josh Dobbs had his moments vs. the Ravens. He was especially good at picking the Ravens apart underneath and executing all the RPOs in the Cardinals' offense. Dobbs was also part of a Cardinals run game that quietly kept the ball moving against a stout Ravens defense. 

However, Dobbs still made too many mistakes. Both of Dobbs' interceptions were painful to watch. For as good as Dobbs can be when clean, things unravel when he's pressured. The Ravens consistently got to him on non-quick passes, and they got enough mistakes out of him to handle business.

Now Dobbs has to go do it on a different team. The Cardinals sent Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings, who are letting a feisty season go to waste in the hands of a late-round rookie. We'll see if a better supporting cast raises Dobbs' level. 

>> READ: Grading Every Trade Deadline Deal

28. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

Previous Ranking: N/A

We need to pump the brakes a little bit with Will Levis. Debuting with four touchdowns was awesome, even historic, but the game plan didn't say a whole lot about what Levis needs to do moving forward. 

Against the Falcons, Levis threw more than half his passes either behind the line of scrimmage or more than 20 yards down the field. It was screens and shot plays. Levis just happened to hit a lot of those shot plays because of a couple of busted coverages on double moves. Levis executed well, but it wasn't a repeatable game plan. 

With that in mind, there's a good chance the Steelers' defense doesn't allow Levis to get into such a cushy game script. If that's the case, the jittery footwork, scattershot accuracy and head-scratching decision-making that plagued Levis in college could pop up. 

All of that is to say: Let's keep a level head about Levis. He's an unbelievably talented thrower who needs a lot of work. The firework show vs. the Falcons and a potential blowup game, whether that's the Steelers game or another showing down the line, were always on the table.

>> READ: Titans Might've Found Their Franchise QB

29. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Previous Ranking: 30

Zach Wilson is moving up purely because of the amount of completely unproven quarterbacks being thrust into lineups elsewhere. 

There's been a lot of talk Wilson is improving this year, but I just don't see it. His yards per attempt is down nearly a full yard, and his QBR of 36.7 is almost identical to last season's 38.5. 

It's true Wilson has traded out some of his bad plays for some safer throws, but it's not actually produced more effective quarterback play. He's muted his strengths as much as he's muted his weaknesses. 

30. P.J. Walker, Cleveland Browns

Previous Ranking: N/A

P.J. Walker isn't exactly good, but at least he's fun. Walker has some real zip in his arm, and he isn't afraid to use it. While that does make for some real-deal NFL throws, Walker doesn't have the consistency to make it work at a high level. 

He too often throws into traffic and puts the ball in danger, which is a tough thing to deal with in a backup quarterback. 

Also, I was tired of ranking Deshaun Watson after weeks of him not playing.

31. Clayton Tune, Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranking: N/A

Coming out of college, I compared Clayton Tune to Minshew. 

Tune has an average build for the position, but he's kind of a springy athlete. He's got enough wiggle to be a scrambler and extend plays a little. Tune is also an accurate passer, especially against zone coverage. 

His arm lacks NFL-level velocity, but he at least knows how to guide the ball where it needs to go when guys are open. 

The hope is Tune can be a stable distributor in the short to intermediate area while giving the offense some life every now and then with a play on the move. 

32. Tyson Bagent, Chicago Bears

Previous Ranking: 32

The Tyson Bagent hype train has rapidly lost its steam this week. 

That shouldn't be a knock on Bagent, though. For a guy the Chicago Bears signed as a UDFA out of Division II, Bagent has played admirably. He doesn't have an NFL arm, and his processing is all over the place, but he's got some juice to him as an athlete and makes a cool play outside the pocket every once in a while. 

Bagent isn't afraid to try stuff, at least. It's just become clear Bagent isn't a starting QB in this league. 

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.