Ranking the Starting Quarterbacks in the NFL Divisional Playoffs
Ranking the Starting Quarterbacks in the NFL Divisional Playoffs
With the NFL Divisional playoffs just days away it might be a good idea to take a look at where each starting quarterback ranks among each other considering it will be up to them if their team moves on to the league championship game.
Each of the eight starting quarterbacks that will be under center this weekend will have the opportunity to lead their team one step closer to greatness. Only one of these quarterbacks has never played in a postseason game while another is trying to win their first playoff contest in four tries. Meanwhile, three other quarterbacks have won Super Bowls but are looking to improve on their legacy.
The playoffs are everything to these men because it is a unique chance to be mentioned with the other great players that have played their position before them. Every player wants to win a Super Bowl, but it is different for quarterbacks because history remembers their name the most. It is also the only way for a quarterback to be considered great. If Aaron Rodgers can win at least one more Super Bowl then he will go down as the better quarterback then Brett Favre, even if the “The Gunslinger” set more records.
These eight quarterbacks had plenty of success during the regular season to get their teams to this point but the journey is far from over. Rodgers may know this better than anyone after an interview with Bob Costas revealed the inner workings of his mind.
"I really believe that you earn your paycheck during the season," Rodgers told Costas. "[You] play at a high level and get your team to the playoffs. And then the postseason is all about creating your legacy. The great quarterbacks are remembered for their playoff successes, triumphs, Super Bowl championships, and Super Bowl MVPs. We've got one here and we want to add to that."
8. Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick is the only player on this list to never start a playoff game. His numbers have been decent after taking over for starter Alex Smith, who was forced to miss a game midseason with a concussion. The San Francisco 49ers believe they have a better chance of winning with Kaepernick, as well as, going score for score with Rodgers. Kaepernick may have only thrown for 1,814 yards and 10 touchdowns but he is also a major threat in the running game. If he can defeat the Green Bay Packers Saturday night he will surely move up this list.
7. Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco is one of the more underrated postseason quarterbacks because he has never won an AFC Championship. He is the only player in history to start a postseason game in his first five years in the league. Flacco has also won at least one playoff game in each of those five years, which is something that may never be done again. His statistics have been consistent with previous years in which he completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns while tossing 10 interceptions. A win over the great Peyton Manning in Denver could do wonders for his career.
6. Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub finally got to play in a postseason game and was victorious at that. However, bigger tasks lie ahead as the Houston Texans are ready to finally make a name for themselves after having success in the regular season the past few years. Schaub will have to play the best game of his career if he wants to lead Houston past the New England Patriots. Completing 76.3 percent of his passes was great last week but throwing no touchdowns and one interception will not be enough to defeat Tom Brady.
5. Russell Wilson
Everyone outside the state of Washington and Wisconsin may be shocked at what Russell Wilson has been able to accomplish in his rookie season, but people that watched him play this season and last year with the Wisconsin Badgers know this is no fluke. Wilson is destined for greatness and it has become clear the Seattle Seahawks got him at a steal in the third round of the NFL Draft. Wilson will have a tough task at hand going into the Georgia Dome to take on Matt Ryan but considering he has won more playoff games then the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, maybe it is Ryan who should be scared.
4. Matt Ryan
There is no quarterback in this year’s postseason that has more pressure on him then Ryan. The Falcons have not won a playoff game since 2004 and are 0-3 under head coach Mike Smith and Ryan. The last time Atlanta had the No. 1 seed in the NFC they were embarrassed by the Packers in their house as Green Bay went on to win Super Bowl XLV. Ryan was outstanding this season completing 68.6 percent of his passes for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. However, the regular season has come and gone and he must make a name for himself this postseason in order to have legitimacy.
3. Tom Brady
Brady will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and his three Super Bowl rings justify it. He capped off another amazing season in which he passed for 4,827 yards and threw 34 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. Many people would take Brady in the playoffs over anyone else, but this season I would prefer two other quarterbacks. Since this slideshow is strictly about quarterbacks and their performances this season, it is only fair to put Peyton Manning and Rodgers ahead of Brady after the season they had. I still believe Brady will lead New England to victory over Houston and could very well make another Super Bowl appearance, but as of right now he is No. 3 on this list.
2. Peyton Manning
Manning is practically a lock for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and is definitely in consideration for league MVP. No one thought he would be able to throw for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and post a passer rating of 105.8 after taking last season off. However, Manning is still full of surprises and a Super Bowl victory in his first season with the Denver Broncos would be the mother of them all. The Baltimore Ravens will have a heck of a time trying to stop Manning on defense while Flacco will have to play the best game of his life to go score for score with the veteran.
1. Aaron Rodgers
The No. 1 quarterback in this year’s playoffs is Rodgers due to his incredible numbers once again this season and his ability to take over games. With a mostly healthy wide receiving corps and a defense that is playing at its best all year, Rodgers has the weapons to destroy any team in Green Bay’s way. The reigning NFL MVP still plays with a chip on his shoulder that will never go away. The fact that the Packers will be playing the 49ers is extra motivation for Rodgers to win after his favorite team growing up passed on him in the 2005 NFL Draft. The 29-year-old’s 4,295 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, eight interceptions and league-best 108.0 passer rating are nice, but his ability to make any play on the field with his arm or legs is what makes him the best.
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