Week 6 NFL QB Power Rankings: Derek Carr cracks top 10 as Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill rise up

1 Things weren’t nearly as pretty for Wilson early in Week 5 against the Vikings, of all teams, but then he came around in crunch time to remind us why he’s at the front of the pack for MVP honors. Even though he’s not necessarily the most athletic or most strong-armed of the QBs, you wouldn’t take anyone over him for a 60-minute performance right now. If you’re into projected stats, get a load of this: Wilson is on pace for 4,800 yards, 61 TDs, and just 10 INTs, averaging nearly 9 yards a throw.

Last week: 1

2 Mahomes probably isn’t playing his absolute best football right now, but when has that really mattered for this offense? His “OK” days are some of the best in the business. A couple more weeks of turnover-worthy plays — he threw his first official pick in a loss to the Raiders in Week 5 — might warrant a slide. But for now, we’ll happily ride or die with No. 15’s big arm.

Last week: 2

3 Don’t you dare forget about him because the Packers enjoyed a bye week. Rodgers, remember, has yet to throw his first INT of the season, and he’s still on pace to come close to breaking Peyton Manning’s single-season passing TD record (55) with 13 through just four starts. His matchup with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 6 will be must-see TV.

Last week: 3

4 Allen’s first major hiccup of 2020 came on Tuesday night, with two INTs helping sink Buffalo against Tennessee. But let’s not get crazy because the guy had a single off game, which still featured some impressive throws and efficiency on third downs. The Bills are 4-1 primarily because of his breakout, and you’re still taking his play-making potential over most starters.

Last week: 5

5 As a passer, Murray is still making too many dangerous throws, as he’s now up to six INTs in five games. But have you seen that deep ball when it’s on the money? Goodness gracious, it might rival the moon shots of Mahomes, Rodgers and everyone else. And that’s not even accounting for his legs, which remain one of the most explosive weapons in the entire NFL.

Last week: 6

6 We’re not going to overreact to a few hit-or-miss games, as Jackson’s raw athleticism will always be enough to keep opponents on edge, and the young speedster still hit on two TDs to lead Baltimore to 4-1. But his accuracy has taken quite a dip in recent weeks, and it’s fair to say his erratic play has been a leading culprit for the Ravens’ offensive inconsistencies of late.

Last week: 4

7 Ben hasn’t been uncorking it for big plays nearly as much as he once did, but he’s been really, really good in just about every area of the game. He’s not regularly holding the ball too long. He’s taking what the defense gives him and also checking into better calls. He’s a big reason the Steelers are undefeated. As the weeks go on, the explosive plays will increase, too.

Last week: 8

8 So maybe Jared Goff is still elite? For all his sheepish tendencies behind a shaky O-line in recent years, he looks like the real deal again. The play-action is working. He’s taking care of the ball. He’s pushing it down the field. Goff is still more dependent on his surroundings than other top guys, but he’s not just managing games right now; he’s helping the Rams win big.

Last week: 10

9 Maybe the toughest of the top young signal-callers to evaluate because of Houston’s ongoing overhaul, he at least looked comfortable airing it out in his first game post-Bill O’Brien. At the end of the day, the rest of 2020 isn’t likely to significantly sway the truth we already know here: Watson can be dynamic, but he won’t be title-worthy until he’s got a plan around him.

Last week: 11

10 No, this is not a misprint. Carr gets a lot of guff for his apparent inability to take the next step — or throw deep — with the Raiders, but he’s doing both of those things with tremendous success in 2020. He’s playing with authority. He’s hitting deep shots. And he’s literally the most accurate QB in the NFL right now. Give this man some respect.

Last week: 14

11 Brady has danced between “good” and “competent” this year, so he’s just outside the top 10 because his experience and supporting cast dictate a rebound is in order. But make no mistake: His gaffes against the Bears in Week 5 were costly. There are a handful of younger signal-callers who could easily surpass him in these rankings in the coming weeks.

Last week: 9

12 Brees hasn’t been near as “washed up” as his biggest detractors suggest, but he hasn’t been the same old All-Pro point guard he’s always been, either. No. 9 did just about everything you could ask to rally the Saints on Monday night in Week 5, and Michael Thomas’ return should open things up even more. It’s still fair to suggest his ceiling has fallen off.

Last week: 13

13 His numbers say he doesn’t belong anywhere near the top 15, but he’s mostly passed the eye test in two straight games against good teams. Wentz has been far too turnover-prone to reclaim elite status anytime soon, but he at least looks confident after a horrendous start to the year. As a bonus, both his arms and legs are still capable of going off.

Last week: 15

14 This is right around where Cousins always ends up — in the middle of the pack. You have to live with his occasional head-scratching turnover because when the run game and play-action strikes are working, he’s capable of carving up just about any defense, inch by inch. Will he ever single-handedly save the Vikings? Probably not. But he’ll usually keep you in the game.

Last week: 17

15 Somebody’s got themselves a killer arm. If not for iffy play-calling late on Monday night, Herbert may have been crowned the breakout of Week 5 for his near-upset of the Saints in New Orleans. He hasn’t been perfect, but let’s not kid ourselves; this young man looks like the next big thing with the way he slings it around.

Last week: 22

16 You know things are dire when the team owner won’t even commit to keeping you around for the next regime. Ryan isn’t bad, and he’s got more than enough wherewithal to recover from this slump in Atlanta, but you’d be unwell to suggest he’s playing like an elite signal-caller right now. The Falcons may not presently deserve more from him, but someone down the road does.

Last week: 12

17 Cam is no superstar at this point in his career, and his prolonged COVID-related absence has not exactly instilled trust in New England’s offensive plans moving forward, but there’s just no denying how much more dynamic and important he is to the Pats’ playoff chances than backups like Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. On his best days, Newton’s still a legit dual threat.

Last week: 16

18 Have yourself a Tuesday night breakout! Tannehill barely cracks the top 20 here mostly because there are just too many passers with more upside around the NFL. And yet the longer he maintains this kind of ball-control but high-upside attack as Tennessee’s leader under center, the harder it will be to justify keeping him this low.

Last week: 19

19 Is he healthy? The Niners can’t really afford to have him tossing deep balls on a bum ankle, but they also can’t afford to have C.J. Beathard or Nick Mullens running their offense for a prolonged period of time. Garoppolo has a few of his own questions to answer still, but as long as he’s physically able, he’s still a solid fit for Kyle Shanahan’s play-action game.

Last week: Unranked

20 If/when Matt Patricia exits the building, will the clock officially start ticking on Stafford? Like Matt Ryan, he’s not necessarily a bad or even supremely regressing QB. But he’s under-performing in a bad spot, and change is around the corner.

Last week: 18

21 We like to harp on Teddy’s tendency to play things safe, but man, he’s looked awfully comfortable taking shots — both with his arm and legs — as Matt Rhule’s likable QB1. Could we be underselling the Panthers’ shot to sneak into the playoffs?

Last week: 24

22 Like Josh Allen, Burrow had his first really bad game in Week 5. That should tell you just how impressive he’s been in an otherwise mediocre situation. Now imagine if he had A.J. Green actually trying to play football, too!

Last week: 20

23 The Broncos’ unexpected bye should give Lock enough time to make his long-anticipated return to the lineup. The second-year man still has lots to work on, like picking his spots for aggressive throws, but his arm alone instantly revives Denver’s fight.

Last week: Unranked

24 If you’re a Browns fan, don’t take this slight drop as an insult, because Mayfield has been almost exactly what the doctor — er, Kevin Stefanski — ordered in 2020. He just obviously can’t afford multiple-turnover days very often.

Last week: 21

25 Remember when he opened the year ablaze, looking like a lock to creep into the top 10? Yeah, it might be time to accept the fact Minshew is just fine. The numbers are still good considering his resume, but he’s also turning the ball over too much.

Last week: 23

26 Don’t misread this as a dismissal of Foles as the Bears’ starting QB. He belongs in that job. Thing is, until Foles is pushed into crunch time — either in a game or within an entire season — he’s little more than average. But those highs? Glorious.

Last week: 26

27 There’s a reason Frank Reich is fielding questions about Jacoby Brissett’s chances of coming off the bench. Look, Rivers still has the fight in him, but does he have the arm? It doesn’t exactly look like it. Easy INTs remain a steady part of his game.

Last week: 25

28 Is Andy Dalton primed for an improbable late-career resurgence because of the Cowboys’ supporting cast? Not if Dallas’ O-line injuries have anything to say about it. Dalton should do just fine with those weapons, but the ceiling is still relatively low.

Last week: Unranked

29 Will this guy ever quit? The Dolphins at least keep things entertaining with the bearded wonder, who somehow rebounded yet again with a Week 5 explosion against San Francisco. But he’s just not the guy you want under center with games on the line.

Last week: 28

30 Maybe among the saddest stories of 2020, Jones just can’t catch a break — or create one for himself — in the Big Apple. It’s gotten to the point where you don’t even want to talk up his physical tools because the production just isn’t there.

Last week: 27

31 Ron Rivera has pledged to keep Allen on the field despite Alex Smith’s triumphant return to action in Week 5, but the reality is it’s only a matter of time until Smith takes over. At least then Washington will have a QB with proven good experience.

Last week: Unranked

32 Maybe cutting Le’Veon Bell will free up Adam Gase to do some QB whispering and save Darnold’s disastrous Jets career? Don’t count on it. This situation might still get worse before it gets better.

Last week: 29

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