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.

While these rankings don't necessarily reflect which QBs we'd rather have for the remainder of the year (or their career) -- for example, we still trust Aaron Rodgers over, say, Geno Smith -- they are designed to showcase which ones are performing and positioned best at this moment.

Now, without further ado, our Week 9 pecking order:

Week 9 QB Power Rankings
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
The king of the position. Under halfway through his first season post-Tyreek Hill, he's only on pace for close to 50 touchdown passes. No matter the time or place, he's capable of stealing a game with his acrobatics.
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
Again, it's 1A and 1B up top. Allen might just be the slightly riskier version of Mahomes, a little more prone to take a big hit while plowing on the ground, or a little more likely to lean solely on his rocket-arm talent to force a ball where others cannot.
Jalen Hurts Philadelphia Eagles QB
The smoothest criminal under center this year. Many, including yours truly, didn't think it possible for Hurts' pocket-passing authority to match his mettle, but that's exactly what's happened. Eight weeks in, he should be considered the MVP front-runner.
Joe Burrow Cincinnati Bengals QB
Ja'Marr Chase's absence can really throw a wrench in his ability to air it out with ease, but even after a rough start, his numbers are comparable to those of Allen and Mahomes. The Bengals will be contenders as long as he's playing point guard here.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
He really looks like an entirely different QB than the one who flopped with the Jets years ago. If not for some uncharacteristic Tyler Lockett miscues against the Giants, he would've straight-up embarrassed New York in Week 8. The guy is operating with such poise and touch.
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
Never say never. That's the M.O. with Lamar. No matter how sloppy the Ravens are through the air, the mere threat of his lightning speed or flick-of-the-wrist cannon is enough to keep opponents on edge. He's well on pace for a third career 1,000-yard rushing season.
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers QB
Herbert's physical tools are all there, which makes him a befuddling guy to assess: how much of his non-explosive production should be pinned on him versus his support staff? He's been a good QB in a great QB's body this year.
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
How about those legs coming back to life against the Bears? Dak will always make his money dishing it out from the pocket, where he's best at doing everything well as opposed to one thing great, but if his mobility can be more of a regular factor, the Cowboys will make noise.
Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins QB
Maybe the toughest QB to grade, Tua is consistently putting the ball in harm's way when he unloads deep shots to capitalize on the electricity of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Even so, his pinpoint timing on shorter stuff, and in crunch time, has really propelled the Dolphins.
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
Just because he hardly has a single reliable receiver doesn't mean he's been a bad QB this year. Would you believe that, even amid Green Bay's sloppy, overmatched offensive streak, he's tied for fifth in TD passes? The only reason he isn't top five is because of his supporting cast.
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
He's in the same boat as Aaron Rodgers. Elite this year? Nope. Is he chiefly to blame for that? Double nope. You expect a little more accuracy from the ageless wonder, but it's really poor all-around execution, and listless game plans from both sides of the Bucs, that's wasting what top-level vision and football IQ he has left.
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
It's kind of wild that Minnesota is rolling during the season Cousins is off to one of his more mercurial starts. For all his streakiness this year, though, he's done an admirable job of feeding their top talent (see: Justin Jefferson) in crunch time. The T.J. Hockenson addition should elevate his game further.
Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals QB
Only Tom Brady has thrown more passes this year. Only Kenny Pickett has done less with his attempts. But Murray forever remains in the top half because of what he brings athletically. When, like Lamar, you can save the day in one highlight-reel play, you survive longer than most.
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
Here begins the long run of QBs who really aren't much different from each other in terms of ceiling. Jimmy G is playing his well-worn role as expected, thriving when Kyle Shanahan's toys are at the forefront, and putting the ball in trouble if the game rests on his shoulders.
Ryan Tannehill Tennessee Titans QB
Malik Willis relying almost exclusively on his legs in Week 8 is a reminder that Tannehill is still very much a competent passer. Like Garoppolo, however, he is at his best when the Titans are rolling without him, namely via the bruising Derrick Henry.
Justin Fields Chicago Bears QB
Few QBs have improved their stock as much in recent weeks. Now that Chicago is viewing his mobility as an asset, he's blossomed as a drive-by-drive playmaker. Hopefully Chase Claypool's presence will help him grow in confidence as a decision-maker airing it out.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Two things can be true here: 1.) he should be lauded for improving ball security as a figurehead for Brian Daboll's surprise contender, and 2.) he's yet to prove he should stick long term as the QB in New York. As has been the case for years, it's not entirely his fault he doesn't have reliable weapons to target, but the glaring lack of downfield action begs opponents to sell out on the run.
Matthew Stafford Los Angeles Rams QB
The difference between Stafford and guys like Brady and Rodgers, whose flawed setups are also taking away from their end results, is that the Rams' big-armed veteran has too frequently become part of the problem. Even while hitting a high percentage of throws, he's on pace for close to 20 picks this year.
Derek Carr Las Vegas Raiders QB
The team-up with Davante Adams has done very little to unlock Carr's best attributes. Despite the Raiders' O-line briefly settling in to help Josh Jacobs break out, it reverted to porous form in Week 8 while Carr flailed around behind it.
Russell Wilson Denver Broncos QB
He's been erratic for so much of the last year, including his final days in Seattle, that it's now impressive when he uncorks a single on-target deep ball. The guy doesn't quit, though, and Denver's up-tempo looks in Week 8 at least hinted at a more encouraging future.
Taylor Heinicke Washington Commanders QB
He's a safe bet for at least a turnover a game -- a testament to his hunger to play hero. But he's also proven, in two starts for Carson Wentz, that he can win games by playing the long game, not only settling for but connecting on the short stuff.
Trevor Lawrence Jacksonville Jaguars QB
The most exciting thing that happened to him and the Jaguars this week was Jacksonville's surprise trade for Calvin Ridley, who can't even play until 2023 at the earliest but should help further unlock Lawrence's confidence as a gunslinger.
Marcus Mariota Atlanta Falcons QB
You never know what you're gonna get from him, but that's part of the fun in Atlanta, where he's somehow found a way to stay on the winning end of things. Such unsteady passing is not sustainable, but Mariota's brought enough energy as a scrambler to keep the Falcons feisty.
Andy Dalton New Orleans Saints QB
He's earned the right to stay under center in New Orleans, showcasing some of the downfield touch that secured him a QB1 job in Cincinnati for so long. What's more impressive is how he's done it amid such a banged-up supporting cast.
Jacoby Brissett Cleveland Browns QB
A likable guy with a big arm, Brissett had one of his best nights of the year beating the Bengals in Week 8. It's just hard to trust that his accuracy will last more than a start or two in a row. The Browns run on Nick Chubb.
Jared Goff Detroit Lions QB
Goff racked up numbers out of the gate while playing catch-up for the Lions, and he threatened to return to form against the Dolphins in Week 8. Without T.J. Hockenson now, he's bound for another step back on a team that should be eyeing any QB help it can get in 2023.
P.J. Walker Carolina Panthers QB
If nothing else, he's made a rebuilding team fun again, first upsetting the Bucs with surprising precision and then nearly stunning the Falcons with a perfect last-second Hail Mary. Can he put together a couple complete performances in a row, a la his XFL days?
Mac Jones New England Patriots QB
Getting back out there and earning a "W," no matter how ugly, had to be a boost for his confidence after the Bailey Zappe experiment. Still, the Patriots need him to be much more efficient than he's been, especially considering he's not built to be an explosive off-schedule thrower.
Kenny Pickett Pittsburgh Steelers QB
The Steelers just aren't assembled to make him look good right now, leaning on a lumbering rushing attack and young receiving corps. He's also put one too many balls up for grabs under duress, however, exacerbating Pittsburgh's frequent deficits.
Sam Ehlinger Indianapolis Colts QB
His accuracy and mobility were both on display in his first start for Matt Ryan, but the Colts still look like a major work in progress. Now, with coordinator Marcus Brady out, you wonder how his role might change moving forward.
Davis Mills Houston Texans QB
A middling starter on a surprisingly competitive but consistently overmatched roster. It's 2021 all over again.
Zach Wilson New York Jets QB
How many more weeks until the Jets consider a change to capitalize on their 2022 talent? Wilson has been finnicky since his arrival. Despite the athletic gifts, no other active starter is completing fewer passes, and he's got some playmakers around him.