It’s been almost two months since Sporting News ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL for the 2020 season. It’s high time for another edition, with a lot of big changes made at QB because of injuries or other reasons.
Regardless of these passers’ previous bodies of work, this is look at how all current No. 1s in Week 11 are performing this season. The top is stacked with MVP candidates, while the middle is packed with rising young guns — including the three first-round rookies.
From the best to the worst, here’s how SN breaks down the league’s pecking order at the game’s most important position:
NFL quarterback power rankings: 1-32 for Week 11
1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
Passer rating: 115.9 | Yards per attempt: 8.2
Mahomes has thrown only one interception while operating at a higher level than his 2018 MVP campaign. He’s the new front-runner to get the award again. He’s picking up his team as it goes through a little running and defensive slump.
2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Passer rating: 116.4 | Yards per attempt: 8.2
Mahomes has often been compared to a younger Rodgers. The older version is putting up very simliar numbers in lifting Green Bay to another sparkling record as he’s even more locked into Matt LaFleur’s QB-friendly balanced offense. So much for any Rodgers regression — it’s a total rejuvenation.
3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
Passer rating: 111.5 | Yards per attempt: 8.2
Wilson went back to his comfort zone against the Cardinals, throwing deep while playing off a more effective traditional running game. His turnover total might already be too high in relation to Mahomes and Rogers to get that elusive first MVP, but of bigger importance is winning the NFC West and getting the team back into better Super Bowl contention.
4. Josh Allen, Bills
Passer rating: 103.2 | Yards per attempt: 7.9
Allen had his slump around midseason but has gotten well fast with two big games opposite Wilson and Kyler Murray. They are incorporating more short-to-intermediate passing with his strong downfield shots and he’s become smarter about using his running skills again. Having a true go-to wideout such as Stefon Diggs continues to have a big impact.
5. Kyler Murray, Cardinals
Passer rating: 100.8 | Yards per attempt: 7.5
Murray gets a big bump from his excellent running ability, a speedy designed dimension that’s still rare in this league beyond him and Lamar Jackson. The passing downfield and the efficiency in spreading the ball horizontally have been much improved. He’s getting into a total groove with Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Having a true to-go wideout such as DeAndre Hopkins continues to have a big impact.
6. Deshaun Watson, Texans
Passer rating: 107.0 | Yards per attempt: 8.4
Watson is sneakily having a career-best season, even with the team results not being there in the standings — related to other factors, namely a league-worst run defense that also struggles mightly against the pass. He does miss Hopkins, but he doesn’t miss Bill O’Brien, as his play has definitely been better with no reins as a passer or runner.
7. Derek Carr, Raiders
Passer rating: 107.4 | Yards per attempt: 7.6
Carr has silenced a lot of his critics with another hyper-efficient season under Jon Gruden and Greg Olsen. He’s pushing the ball downfield and making smart decisions with short-to-intermediate throws, facilitated by the Raiders’ strong rushing attack with Josh Jacobs. He’s a big reason why Las Vegas is in firm playoff contention.
8. Matt Ryan, Falcons
Passer rating: 99.0 | Yards per attempt: 7.8
Ryan, much like Watson, is doing his best to keep his team competitve — and the rumors of his arm’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as he’s grinding through injuries to his wide receiver corps. Like Watson, he can’t do anything to solve his team’s defensive deficiences that put extra pressure on him.
9. Tom Brady, Buccaneers
Passer rating: 99.0 | Yards per attempt: 7.1
Brady has been on a bit of a roller coaster in his first season with his new team. He’s been in a constant adjustment period with his receivers because of injuries and the addition of a key new target, Antonio Brown. The rushing support and offenisve line have been inconsistent, and there has some disconnect with his targets. That said, he’s still played well and there are major signs that he can put it all together in GOAT-like fashion when it counts the most.
10. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
Passer rating: 103.0 | Yards per attempt: 6.8
Roethlisberger doesn’t measure up when it comes to still having a familiar big arm as his air yards are down. But he’s embraced his Drew Brees-like role as a smart distributor of the ball, knowing he still can make big plays by getting intermediate passes into the hands of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. He’s also more important with the running game sputtering.
11. Justin Herbert, Chargers
Passer rating: 102.8 | Yards per attempt: 7.8
Herbert is the first of the rookie passers to make the list, and deservedly so. He’s come out aggressive and confident in throwing the ball all over the field, not afraid to take consistent shots. He deserves a better record for his efforts but he already looks locked in as a worthy franchise QB, putting his arm and atheticism together quickly.
12. Joe Burrow, Bengals
Passer rating: 89.8 | Yards per attempt: 6.7
Burrow had been the front-runner for offenisve rookie of the year until Herbert burst onto the scene. He also is headed toward a brilliant career. He doesn’t have the same help as Herbert, always fighting through a shaky offensive line and needing to throw often in one-dimensional trail mode.
13. Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Passer rating: 95.6 | Yards per attempt: 7.1
Jackson has had a dropoff from his stellar second season as NFL MVP for good reason. The Ravens have had shakier line play and aren’t getting much out of their outside receivers. He’s most effective either when running or throwing to the middle of the field. There’s no doubt that defenses have caught on more to what they have been trying to do with him. But Jackson can kick it into higher gear with a favorable closing stretch.
14. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
Passer rating: 106.9 | Yards per attempt: 7.6
Tannehill started out red-hot, picking up where he left off playing off Derrick Henry and the power-running game last season. But as the offensive line and receiving corps have taken hits, and with Henry not rushing for the same heft, Tannehill has cooled off. He still is a perfect fit in his offense and has been well above-average more often than not.
15. Matthew Stafford, Lions
Passer rating: 96.2 | Yards per attempt: 7.7
Stafford is a tough QB to assess. He was headed to a career-best season in the offense before missing half of last season. This season, he’s navigated well through strange play-calling and a stretch of a shelved Kenny Golladay, but he is beginning to heat up with all his weapons of late.
16. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Passer rating: 98.1 | Yards per attempt: 8.8
Cousins has had some issues with interceptions, which usually come from being forced into high volume when put in adverse positions by the Vikings’ defense. But like last season, when he’s passing comfortably off the threat of Dalvin Cook’s dominant running, he zings the ball everywhere well, thanks to elite wideouts Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.
17. Jared Goff, Rams
Passer rating: 94.9 | Yards per attempt: 7.6
Goff has been smack dab in the middle with his performance as a whole this season. The Rams have leaned more on their rushing committee and keep changing up the receiving personnel usage to help him from week to week. He still operates best when having reasonable passing attempts in a balanced attack.
18. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
Passer rating: 104.8 | Yards per attempt: 6.7
Tagovailoa is 3-0 to start his career, having the team success that neither Herbert nor Burrow have enjoyed. He is a few notches below both as the Dolphins have made him a careful caretaker early, focused on making smart decisions and getting the ball out quickly. At the same time, he’s hinted at his massive passing upside — with a little running, too.
19. Cam Newton, Patriots
Passer rating: 80.9 | Yards per attempt: 7.4
Newton hasn’t been all that effective as a passer, save for a few games against lesser defenses. But his major running presence can’t be ignored as he’s key in facilitating the Patriots’ traditional rushing attack, which is now the centerpiece of their offense. He also is starting to find some comfort level with his passing, thanks to having an unlikely top wideout in Jakobi Meyers.
20. Philip Rivers, Colts
Passer rating: 93.6 | Yards per attempt: 7.7
Rivers has had some of his typical sloppy gunslinging games, but he also has managed games well playing off the Colts’ run-heavy and defensive-minded approach. Part of the problem has been having limitations at wide receiver and injuries at tight end, but having a true go-to guy now in rookie Michael Pittman Jr. is a big help.
21. Jameis Winston, Saints
Passer rating: 83.5 | Yards per attempt: 6.8
Winston makes his 2020 debut in the rankings at this spot as he prepares to fill in for Brees for a while. He should fare well with good protection, Alvin Kamara’s support in the running game and a talented, versatile receiving corps. It also helps that his first game is familar, at home against the weak Falcons defense.
22. Baker Mayfield, Browns
Passer rating: 90.0 | Yards per attempt: 6.8
Mayfield is really at his best working through his junior slump when he’s throwing for low volume and letting Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt do the effective heavy lifting in the running game. Keep in mind that there are a lot of limitations with this passing game without Odell Beckham Jr., and forcing Mayfield to suddenly light it up is not in Cleveland’s playoff-seeking interest.
23. Daniel Jones, Giants
Passer rating: 78.2 | Yards per attempt: 6.4
Jones is starting to throw more of his “Danny Dimes” now that his four main receiving targets — Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and Evan Engram — are on the field together. He’s also impressed with his effective and sometimes explosive running. He might have had a breakthrough in his cutdown of turnovers of late.
24. Carson Wentz, Eagles
Passer rating: 73.1 | Yards per attempt: 6.1
Wentz seemed to have turned a corner with his gritty passing and timely running a few weeks ago, making the best of his makeshift receiving corps created by injuries. But then he had a shocking regression against the Giants while having a slew of key weapons in the mix. He’s pressing, forcing action that isn’t there and missing a lot of the short-to-intermediate plays that are there.
25. Nick Mullens, 49ers
Passer rating: 89.1 | Yards per attempt: 8.1
Mullens has done his best in Kyle Shanahan’s QB-friendly system, but it’s been more dificult without George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. He’s been plagued by turnovers and inaccuracy, taking away from some of the big pass plays he has made.
26. Joe Flacco, Jets
Passer rating: 80.6 | Yards per attempt: 6.3
Flacco has looked much better than Sam Darnold in Adam Gase’s offense, which isn’t saying much for Darnold when he hasn’t missed time with his right shoulder injury. He woke up some of their healthier passing game before the bye in Week 9.
27. Alex Smith, Washington
Passer rating: 80.3 | Yards per attempt: 7.2
Smith is the third Washington starter of the season, replacing injured Kyle Allen, who replaced inept Dwayne Haskins. He struggled against the Giants’ defense in relief in Week 9, and then threw wild in comeback mode at the Lions in Week 11. He’s making the most of his limited help, led by Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas, but this offense isn’t ideal for him, making him an ersatz version of his best Chiefs and 49ers self.
28. Nick Foles, Bears
Passer rating: 81.0 | Yards per attempt: 6.0
Foles may not remain the Bears’ starter out of the bye, either because of his hip injury against the Vikings or flat-out ineffective, interception-prone recent play. That depends on the health of Mitchell Trubisky, who hasn’t been an option of late because of his right shoulder injury. Just maybe Chicago will turn to Tyler Bray next.
29. Jake Luton, Jaguars
Passer rating: 77.0 | Yards per attempt: 6.5
Considering Gardner Minshew was fading a bit with his 94.4 rating and 6.9 yards per attempt before the thumb injury, it’s not really been a huge dropoff to Luton, relative to him being a rookie sixth-rounder being pressed into action. Luton is hanging in there and doing his best with a skilled group of receivers while the Jaguars lean even more on the run, but the results are still well below average.
30. Drew Lock, Broncos
Passer rating: 66.5 | Yards per attempt: 6.3
So much for the hype of a second-year breakout season. Lock has had a rough season with more durability issues. The pass protection has been better than expected and there’s still receiving depth with Courtland Sutton. That said, Lock has become a sloppy turnover machine without much pushing his passing forward in Pat Shurmur’s offense. He needs to play better, stat, or be the next young QB to quickly flame out for John Elway.
31. Andy Dalton, Cowboys
Passer rating: 64.4 | Yards per attempt: 5.3
Dalton hasn’t inspired any confidence with his limited work as Dak Prescott’s fill-in, felled by a concussion and then COVID-19. He should come out better against the Vikings with needed rest and time to better absorb Kellen Moore’s offense. For Dallas, the playoffs are still a longshot, but they need to restore some of their passing prowess with their talented receivers.
32. P.J. Walker, Panthers
Passer rating: 45.8 | Yards per attempt: 1.9
Walker, the XFL alum reunited with Matt Rhule, is set to make his first NFL start filling in for an injured Teddy Bridgewater in Week 11. Bridgewater would be somewhere in the middle had he stayed in the lineup. Walker will need to lift Carolina’s passing game with Christian McCaffrey out again.