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QB Power Rankings, Week 5: Matthew Stafford must be dropped from top tier

Stafford can’t hang with the top tier after lackluster performance against 49ers

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 is in the books which means that the NFL season is somehow about 25-percent of the way done. It goes by fast every year and 2022 is no different. Patrick Mahomes is back on track after throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who knew before the season that Jared Goff and Geno Smith would headline the offensive shootout of the season?

Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford’s struggles continued in 2022 with lackluster performances against division rivals. Wilson threw for just 237 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders and Stafford’s pick-6 sealed the deal against the San Francisco 49ers.

Every week this season, I will be power-ranking the NFL quarterbacks based on their previous weeks’ performance. With four weeks of data, we’re going to see a lot of big jumps in the rankings. You can check out last week’s rankings here.

Tier 1

1. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 3)

Through the first four weeks of the season, the top-3 have been pretty interchangeable. Nobody has held the top spot for more than one week. Mahomes is back at number one after a brilliant performance against the Buccaneers. Mahomes wasn’t at his best in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. However, in Week 4, the Chiefs quarterback returned to Raymond James stadium with Super Bowl LV and revenge on his mind.

2. Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 2)

Allen didn’t have his best game against the Baltimore Ravens. He completed just over 50 percent of his passes and threw for only 213 yards. Still, even while he wasn’t at his best, Allen got the job done. Tied at 20, Allen led the Bills offense 77 yards and drained all four minutes of the clock to lead the game-winning drive. It won’t be a memorable performance, but it was an impressive one.

3. Lamar Jackson - Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 1)

Like Allen, Jackson wasn’t necessarily impressive on Sunday, throwing for just 144 yards. However, in wet conditions, Jackson still gave the Ravens a chance to win the game, adding 73 yards on the ground. The Ravens quarterback had an MVP moment when John Harbaugh opted to go for it on fourth down. However, the play broke down and Jackson threw an interception.

4. Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 4)

Hurts is in serious contention for the MVP right now. The Eagles were trailing 14-0 on Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars who had a top-5 defense according to DVOA. Hurts led three touchdown drives in the second quarter and the Eagles led at the half. After avoiding the middle of the field last year, Hurts is attacking that area and completing 82 percent of those passes. If he continues to play like this, the Eagles will have a very good shot at the top seed in the NFC.

5. Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 5)

Sometimes a game against the Houston Texans is all you need to get back to playing well. Herbert didn’t have his best game last week following the rib injury in Week 2. However, he looked much like his healthy self against the Texans. He ranked third in EPA per dropback in Week 4 and could jump back into the MVP conversation.

6. Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 6)

Rodgers has been locked in at the number six spot this season. He hasn’t necessarily played well enough to jump into the top-5, but he hasn’t played poorly enough to drop out of the top-10. He’s still developing chemistry with his young receivers and Romeo Doubs might just be that guy. Last week, Rodgers became the fifth player in NFL history with 500 touchdown passes.

7. Tom Brady - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 9)

Despite losing by 10 points, Brady didn’t play poorly against the Chiefs. He still had the sixth-highest EPA per dropback in Week 4 and threw for 385 yards to go with three touchdowns. Unfortunately his defense gave up 28 first half points. As the Buccaneers get healthier at wide receiver, Brady should start playing better as well.

8. Geno Smith - Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 22)

Jumping up to number eight from 22 is quite the jump. It might even be crazy considering Smith just played the worst defense in the NFL. However, there’s no way to deny Smith at this point. Outside of the 49ers game, he’s been very good this season. The Seahawks quarterback ranks top-5 in DYAR, QBR, and passer rating. Smith also ranks top-3 in DVOA, completion percentage over expectation, and overall PFF grade. As of right now, this ranking is deserved.

Tier 2

9. Jared Goff - Detroit Lions (Last Week: 15)

As I said last week, Jared Goff is playing some of his best football since 2018. He ranks fifth in the NFL in DYAR according to Football Outsiders. With an offensive line group that ranks 31st in the NFL via Pro Football Focus, without his top three wide receivers, and without his star-running back, Goff put up 45 points. As it currently stands, Goff has given the Lions a lot to think about when it comes to their quarterback of the future.

10. Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 8)

Lawrence became the first player since 2000 to lose four fumbles in the same game. We’ll give Lawrence a slight pass given the weather in Philadelphia and the caliber of the Eagles defense. Still, five turnovers won’t cut it. The Jaguars play the Texans next week which could mean a nice bounce back game for the second-year quarterback.

11. Jacoby Brissett - Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 18)

Brissett is currently playing as well, if not better, than he has at any point in his career. He’s playing incredibly efficient and keeping the Browns in games while they wait out the Deshaun Watson suspension. He currently has a top-10 QBR and ranks 11th in EPA per dropback. He threw two crucial interceptions against the Falcons, but overall has played well in 2022.

12. Cooper Rush - Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 19)

As a starter, Rush is 4-0 in his career. It might be a little bit of a hot take, but over the last 12 months, Prescott’s level of play has dropped. From Week 11 until the end of the season last year, Prescott ranked just 20th in EPA per play. Against the Buccaneers to start the season, he didn’t look much better. Rush ranks third in DVOA and fourth in QBR. The Cowboys should ride this out as long as they can with their backup quarterback and allow Prescott to get healthy.

13. Joe Burrow - Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 13)

After starting slow out of the gates, Burrow has picked it up over the last two weeks. In Week 3 and 4, Burrow ranks second in the NFL in EPA per dropback behind only Geno Smith. Against the Dolphins, he was extremely efficient, throwing for 287 yards and two touchdowns.

14. Russell Wilson - Denver Broncos (Last Week: 11)

The Broncos tried to replicate what the Rams did last season with Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, the early results haven’t been kind. Wilson has been pretty average and hasn’t been the difference-maker that the Broncos have needed. The Broncos and Wilson are still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Unless things change quickly, that could begin to sour as Denver paid a lot to get and keep Wilson.

15. Matthew Stafford - Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 7)

Stafford drops out of the top-10 and the first tier after struggling against the 49ers. While the 49ers defense is on a historic pace through four games, the pick six in the fourth quarter can’t happen. While under pressure, he needs to hit Higbee in the flat in the red zone. The Rams offensive line and running game are doing Stafford no favors. However, he’s not helping himself either.

16. Ryan Tannehill - Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 16)

Ryan Tannehill continues to be Ryan Tannehill. He does just enough to keep you believing and that’s what he’s done the last two weeks as the Titans sit at 2-2. He missed just four passes against the Colts on Sunday and threw two touchdowns. Tannehill should be able to have another good performance this week against the Washington Commanders.

Tier 3

17. Jimmy Garoppolo - San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 20)
18. Kirk Cousins - Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 12)
19: Kyler Murray - Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 17)
20: Derek Carr - Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 14)
21: Marcus Mariota - Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 23)
22: Teddy Bridgewater - Miami Dolphins (Last Week: NR)
23: Kenny Pickett - Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: NR)
24: Zach Wilson - New York Jets (Last Week NR)

Pickett and Wilson make their debuts on the list and both went head-to-head on Sunday. The Steelers quarterback didn’t throw an incomplete pass. He threw 10 balls to his own team to go with three interceptions on 13 attempts. The Steelers needed an offensive spark and Pickett gave that to them. Meanwhile, Wilson went 10-for-12 for 128 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter to lead the Jets comeback. I’m excited to see what these two players do moving forward.

Tier 3

25: Jameis Winston - New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 25)
26: Carson Wentz - Washington Commanders (Last Week: 21)
27: Daniel Jones - New York Giants (Last Week: 26)
28: Matt Ryan - Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 29)
29: Bailey Zappe - New England Patriots (Last Week: NR)
30: Davis Mills - Houston Texans (Last Week: 28)
31: Justin Fields - Chicago Bears (Last Week: 32)
32: Baker Mayfield - Carolina Panthers (Last Week 31)

Carson Wentz started the season off pretty strong, but has fallen off over the last two weeks. He ranks 34th in EPA per dropback in that time span. The Commanders have played two very good defenses and the offensive line hasn’t helped, but Wentz needs to pick it up before the Commanders’ season starts to snowball in the wrong direction.