Mike Meredith / CBS Sports

Nothing steers NFL teams quite like quarterbacks. It's possible, not probable, to win in spite of them. It's preferable, not easy, to land the best of them. They are, more than anyone else, the ones who shape the football landscape, week in and week out.

That's why we're ranking all 32 starting signal-callers throughout the 2022 season: to take stock of the most important players in the game, sorting everyone from the bona fide superstars to the QBs who might be worth replacing.

Our weekly ranking factors in 1.) current status, 2.) past performance and 3.) future outlook, indicating which QBs we'd rather have both now and for the remainder of this season. That's why, for example, you'll find Aaron Rodgers ranked ahead of Geno Smith, even though the latter has been surprisingly efficient in Seattle. If you're looking purely for rankings of the best statistical QBs this year, feel free to peruse your nearest passer-rating leaderboard. If you're looking for informed but subjective rankings of the NFL's most reliable signal-callers, this is the place.

Now, without further ado, our Week 7 pecking order:

Week 7 QB Power Rankings
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
For the first time this year, it's not Patrick Mahomes up top. In truth, the Bills and Chiefs have the 1A and 1B of QBs. Allen just happens to bring even more with his perfect blend of size and speed on the ground. As long as he stays healthy, his total package of Superman talents should keep Buffalo on pace with K.C. as the class of the AFC. (+1)
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
Mahomes is still the magician of the position, forever capable of fearless and improbable throws. If he didn't have to rely so much on himself and Travis Kelce in their offense, he'd remain a lock at No. 1, not having to force one too many balls. (-1)
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
Don't conflate the Packers ' failure to master the fundamentals, or feed Aaron Jones , or field a legit WR corps, with Rodgers' abilities. Yes, Green Bay's offense is in trouble, but imagine if A-Rod played for, say, the Bengals or the Vikings ; he'd be aces.
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
It's been a mirror image, he and Rodgers this year: while the vision and passing touch remain, the reliable strategy and supporting cast does not. Brady could use a lot more help from Byron Leftwich, who's fallen into predictable play-calling.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
The Ja'Marr Chase connection is heating back up, which means the rest of the AFC North -- and the NFL, for that matter -- should be on notice. When he's on, his distribution of the ball is one of the prettiest sights in the league. (+2)
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
Physically and aesthetically, Herbert checks every single box. But a litany of other issues, whether injuries to his line or conservative play-calling, have seeped into his own decisiveness. (-1)
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Not dissimilar to Herbert, Jackson has all the requisite talent to take over games, but as the team around him has struggled in different facets, his own decision-making has fluctuated. At least his athleticism will always keep them in it. (-1)
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
Hurts has played basically every role for the unbeaten Eagles : lead rusher, big-play thrower, ball-controlling point guard. His temperament -- always unfazed -- has been an underrated asset, as always. (+1)
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
His return is finally upon us, it seems. The big question is how long it'll take Dak, who's best known for doing all the little things right in and around the pocket, to settle in after more than a month on the sidelines.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
The Rams ' offensive issues are a hellish cycle: Stafford gets shoddy protection, then gets especially risky with the ball. But put him behind a better line, and you're still taking his big arm and experience over most starters in this league.
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
Captain Kirk isn't lighting up the stat sheet, but he's made just enough situational throws for a team that's playing increasingly good complementary ball. History says his ceiling is solid, not spectacular, but for now, Minnesota is content to win on the margins. (+2)
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
It's never a great sign when both your young QB and the coach who handpicked him look progressively worse four years into their pairing. Murray can scramble his way out of trouble, but it's too rare that he's turning in an efficient stretch of passing performances. (-1)
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
No, he's not been the 12th-best QB this year, overcompensating on certain downs to offset Denver's lack of consistent protection or cohesive offensive strategy, but we're still trusting him in a tight spot over some of the guys below. For now. The next question: is he even healthy enough to keep going? (-1)
Derek Carr Las Vegas Raiders QB
The grittier, more volatile version of Kirk Cousins , Carr constantly looks like he's playing catch-up, even in games when his Raiders take a lead. The leadership is there; the steadiness is not.
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
When the running game is doing its thing, he isn't required to win games with his decision-making. That about sums up his role for the 49ers , for better or worse.
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
We'll keep saying it until it proves untrue: he is, functionally, the AFC's version of Garoppolo. As long as Derrick Henry is plowing along, Tannehill can serve as the ship's quiet captain.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
How long can Geno's surprising energy translate to efficient, explosive starts? He came back to Earth a bit against Arizona, but Pete Carroll is probably comfortable with him just being a game manager anyway.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Set to return after a two-week absence from head injuries, Tua was emerging as more of a confident downfield arm before his scary exit. The big concern here is durability: how long can he be expected to stay on the field if he takes a big shot or two?
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
Baby steps. That's what Doug Pederson seems to be looking for now, after Lawrence's ball security (or lack thereof) overshadowed a more confident start to 2022. He showed a lot of poise putting Jacksonville in good position late against the Colts . (-1)
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
On track to return from concussion protocol, the feisty rookie brings fight and veteran pocket presence to Pittsburgh's pocket. Hopefully the offensive game plan will be on his side. (+1)
Matt Ryan Indianapolis Colts QB
We're hesitant to crown Ryan after his big day against the Jaguars , even though his top two wideouts are emerging further, mostly because he's all but a lost cause when the line breaks down. But give him credit for battling through a rough start in Indy. (+2)
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Who knows if he'll remain with Big Blue beyond this year, but for now, Jones is proving to be an underrated asset for Brian Daboll's never-say-die competitor, taking care of the ball (!) while leaning mostly on his legs.
Bailey Zappe New England Patriots QB
We're still dealing with a small sample size here, but Zappe has been everything the Pats wanted Mac Jones to be during his interim appearances, making smart decisions with a quick release for a team built to lean on the run and defense. (+4)
Taylor Heinicke Washington Commanders QB
Replacing the injured Carson Wentz , he figures to reignite some passion with his gutsy penchant for extending plays and taking shots, but the long-term outcome with him under center isn't likely to be a whole lot different behind such a bad line.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Goff has flashed his pinpoint accuracy airing it out for a Lions offense with a deep receiving corps, but on the whole, he's still been very mercurial, completing less than 60 percent of his throws. They need him to reach another level if they're gonna snap a three-game losing streak. (-6)
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
The Jets are one of the hottest stories in the NFL for a bunch of reasons other than Wilson, who's mostly stood by as Breece Hall and Robert Saleh's defense have stolen the show. It's tough, then, to properly judge him until he's asked to carry the load again.
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
Week 6's ugly Thursday night loss to the Commanders was proof that Fields and the Bears are working in tandem, often for worse. The kid's got a heck of an arm and can move with the best of them, but there's no structure to his game in such a misshapen lineup. (-1)
Marcus Mariota Atlanta Falcons QB
If he keeps it up, he'll be on the rise before long. Mariota's not been particularly efficient throwing the ball, but he improved in Week 6, and his legs remain a cog of Arthur Smith's run-heavy attack. (+1)
Andy Dalton New Orleans Saints QB
Dennis Allen might prefer to keep him under center even when Jameis Winston is healthy, but now both QBs have bruised backs. Dalton offers a slightly higher floor, perhaps, but neither guy can elevate their injury-riddled roster right now. (-5)
Jacoby Brissett Cleveland Browns QB
The Patriots had the right formula for the Browns: sell out against the run and force Brissett, a historically conservative and inaccurate passer, to win through the air. He's fine off the bench, but not for this many games at a time. (-2)
Davis Mills Houston Texans QB
The best the Texans can hope for is Mills staying out of the way and Dameon Pierce carrying the offense. It's still not a great setup, but the consistency and situational execution just hasn't been there. (+1)
P.J. Walker Carolina Panthers QB
He exited his emergency start for Baker Mayfield with an injury of his own but expects to be back against the Buccaneers. Prepare yourselves to see Jacob Eason once again. (-2)