NFL QB power rankings: Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield rise; Jared Goff drops off for Week 11
Ranking NFL quarterbacks has never been more difficult. The league has never seen so many good passers (and runners) at the position as it has in 2019, from rising young stars to accomplished veterans with plenty of above-average players in between.
Because our preseason rankings weren’t enough, we will keep doing weekly updates based on the natural fluctuation of football’s most important position.
Week 11 brings a few more changes as our rankings continue to mirror the QB top-heavy MVP race. The most dynamic of the young dual threats enjoy a strong week, while at least one overpaid traditional pocket passer takes a tumble.
From the best to the worst current starters for every team, let the debate continue.
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NFL quarterback power rankings Week 11
1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (last week: 1)
Leave it to Wilson to throw a rare interception in overtime but rebound with a big run to put his team back in position to win, anyway, without his best wide receiver. After the instant-classic win over the 49ers was mostly about his relentless dazzle, it’s him and everyone else for MVP.
2. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (4)
Jackson’s MVP case is strangely being hurt by how well the Ravens’ defense is playing well again at the moment. He’s headed for at least offensive player of the year with the QB rushing record. He did beat Wilson head-to-head, however, and taking a few more big QB duels just might allow him to clip Wilson at the tape.
3. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (3)
Mahomes went back to raising his game after his knee injury to try to carry the team more as reigning MVP with the defense letting Kansas City down in every way and the running game fighting through inconsistent personnel. It’s clear they need all of his very best down the stretch to return to the playoffs.
4. Deshaun Watson, Texans (2)
Watson can build his case behind Wilson and Jackson by outshining the latter on the same field in Baltimore. He should have his full complement of healthy receivers with whom to go to work. Watch out if Watson can deliver against a high degree of difficulty vs. a deep defensive backfield.
5. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (7)
Prescott had the Hail Mary interception against the Vikings, but he would have never been put in that position had Dallas allowed him to relentlessly throw the ball with the game on the line before that drive. More a red-hot Dak, less Zeke is the key for the Cowboys to not blow their playoff chances.
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6. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (5)
Rodgers had another TD-less game in Week 10 at home against the Panthers but he’s still rating (102.7) right around his NFL record career efficiency (102.7). He kind of has a point when saying Aaron Jones, based on the success of the Packers’ running game, deserves more MVP talk than he does.
7. Tom Brady, Patriots (8)
Brady had a bye to reevaluate some limitations in the Patriots’ offense based on a shaky power running game and compressed passing game. He should come out throwing heavy into short-to-intermediate routes with now co go-to guys Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. They need his GOAT-ness to keep up the momentum toward another Super Bowl after their first loss.
8. Carson Wentz, Eagles (9)
Wentz has played much better than his numbers would indicate because his mental toughness and hard-nosed athleticism have pushed the Eagles back in the playoff race, playing well off more dedication to the running game to compensate for having no deep passing game.
9. Drew Brees, Saints (6)
Brees was roughed up a bit against the Falcons and had his worst outing of the season, two weeks removed from returning his thumb injury. The Saints are still more about the defense and the running game, so when those aren’t working, Brees can only do so much with a thin receiving corps and a still banged-up Alvin Kamara. He really needs a get-well game against the Bucs’ depleted secondary.
10. Kirk Cousins, Vikings (11)
Cousins came through in a big game on the road against the Cowboys, protecting the ball and finishing drives with the efficiency he’s shown all season playing of the running and receiving of Dalvin Cook. His career-best 112.0 rating is spectacular.
11. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (12)
Garoppolo didn’t keep the Niners undefeated when Wilson outlasted him last Monday night, but he was doing his best while missing his two best pass-catchers (George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders) and running game down a man (Matt Breida). There’s no question he’s rising at the right time with equally big matchups around the corner.
12. Matt Ryan, Falcons (13)
Ryan had more of a grinding game in the upset win over the Saints, but now he has to deal with lesser checkdown and downfield support with Devonta Freeman and Austin Hooper on the shelf. It’s been a lost season for his team but Ryan has hung in there and can help the Falcons finish strong with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
13. Derek Carr, Raiders (14)
The Raiders are running the ball well with Josh Jacobs and have surprisingly made some big plays on defense. But Carr’s ability to protect the ball and distribute at such a high level shows in his 70.8 completion rate, 7.8 yards per attempt and easy career-best 104.4 rating.
14. Jacoby Brissett, Colts (15)
The Colts should be thrilled to have him back for the Jaguars. Their system was good enough to look OK with Brian Hoyer, but they had to appreciate Brissett’s grittiness and more careful control of the ball a lot more after losing two games late without him. He has to fight to play well to ensure a trip to the playoffs with the team having a lot of injury issues around him.
15. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (17)
Murray put together two great games in a row for the first time in his NFL career. They were both losses, but he put the Cardinals in position to win with his spreading the ball all over the field, where young speedsters Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella being on the field together has made a difference for his fine rookie development under Kliff Kingsbury.
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16. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (19)
Winston is inching toward locking up his next big contract in Tampa Bay. He keeps backing up Bruce Arians on his improved overall play as a downfield passer. There were more interceptions against the Cardinals, but it’s more about the passes he’s been able to make with an elite receiving corps. He also keeps picking good spots to run.
17. Baker Mayfield, Browns (21)
Mayfield turned in a great game on Thursday night, his best of the season while in rhythm with all of his receivers short and deep against a tough Steelers pressure defense. It was a game resembling what we expected to see a lot more of in Year 2. He still has plenty of time to end on a rookie-like high with some great matchups ahead.
18. Philip Rivers, Chargers (18)
Rivers had the interception meltdown against the Raiders in what’s been his worst season under Anthony Lynn. He will need to play his best game of the sason — a throwback to ’18 —against the Chiefs, by far, to save the Chargers’ playoff chances.
19. Kyle Allen, Panthers (23)
Allen had some turnover troubles against the Packers’ tough pass defense in the snow at Lambeau, but there was a command to his game, perhaps feeling like he can keep this job longer than just the rest of the season with Cam Newton down. He’s really making good use of his weapons beyond Christian McCaffrey.
20. Ryan Tannehill, Titans (24)
Tannehill has gone 3-1 as Tennessee’s starter while re-energizing the offense with both his best downfield passing in a while and fearless running. He’s really feeling it in their scheme the way Marcus Mariota should have. The Titans should really think about re-signing him now.
21. Daniel Jones, Giants (25)
Jones was sneakily great against the Jets’ weak pass defense, save for not seeing an incoming Jamal Adams to strip him of the ball and take it to the house. Darius Slayton and “Danny Dimes” looks like a money combination for many years.
22. Jared Goff, Rams (16)
His offensive line is in pieces and his receiving corps really misses Brandin Cooks’ ability to stretch the field. But better quarterbacks with his level of his salary tend to overcome those issues and lift the team, not further sink the team. The system QB knock won’t be shaken, and the Bears won’t help.
23. Josh Allen, Bills (22)
Allen has been good for fantasy football because of his ability to run in touchdowns, but everyone can see his passing hasn’t improved too much from his rookie season despite better wide receivers and a special rookie back and tight end. If the Bills don’t hold on for the playoffs, it would be because of him.
24. Nick Foles, Jaguars (20)
We don’t know what to expect from Foles coming back from his broken collarbone because this passing game showed a ton of life with the mobile and fearless rookie Gardner Minshew. There’s no question Foles has to play well in a must-win game against the Colts or the Minshew whispers will be heard louder.
25. Sam Darnold, Jets (28)
Darnold put some ghosts to bed against the crosstown Giants but his play was still not all that clean or pretty. The Jets’ offensive line and play-calling haven’t been great in relation to his receivers, from Le’Veon Bell to Robby Anderson, but it’s been overall a washout of a sophomore season.
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26. Mason Rudolph, Steelers (27)
Rudolph had his first really rough game as a second-year quarterback with his offensive line crumbling and his top running back and wide receiver hurting again. The four-interception game probably had been coming with a negative game script, and unfortunately, he’ll now need to focus on recovering from the ugly Myles Garrett incident before Week 12.
27. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins (26)
Fitzpatrick doesn’t look pretty running or passing but he’s definitely been a very good leader for Miami. The Dolphins respond well on both sides of the ball to his calming, grizzled presence. They’re clearly not tanking and could end up with Tua Tagovailoa, anyway.
28. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears (29)
Trubisky saw the Bears get into a hole against the Lions and despite mostly ineffectiveness, he dug deep to get them out of it with some clutch plays. But now the matchup raises greatly in difficulty at the Rams on Sunday night.
29. Brandon Allen, Broncos (30)
Allen, before the bye, threw a couple of nice TD passes to Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant in an impressive, gritty performance taking over for Joe Flacco against the Browns. He draws a tough spot on the road at the Vikings with healthier rookie Drew Lock looming.
30. Jeff Driskel, Lions (not ranked)
Driskel will be filling in again for Matthew Stafford, who unfortunately is dealing with back fractures during his best overall season. Driskel was a gamer against a tough Bears defense on short notice, but there was the expected big drop off and things don’t get easier at home against the Cowboys.
31. Dwayne Haskins, Redskins (32)
Haskins has to be better after getting prepped to start the rest of the season during the bye, right? It starts with connecting well his fellow former Buckeyes wide receiver Terry McLaurin against a bad Jets secondary behind the blitz.
32. Ryan Finley, Bengals (31)
Finley looked very much like a rookie thrown into the fire in a bad supporting offense with his immediate big mistakes against the Ravens. Cincinnati should proceed with its plans (hopefully) to target a QB with the first overall draft pick.
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