NFL playoffs QB power ranking: Aaron Rodgers tops in 2013?
From Christian Ponder to Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers to Matt Schaub, only twelve NFL quarterbacks have earned a trip into this year’s postseason. For some it will be a short run, but for one it will be a journey on the road to immortality. Is Matt Ryan ready to prove himself elite, can Peyton Manning complete his fairytale comeback or is Tom Brady destined for number four? Those stories will soon unfold on the field, but for now see how the dirty dozen stack up in this NFL playoffs QB power ranking.
12. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans: Why is Schaub last in this ranking? Surely there are rookies who he’ll fair better than. Nope, not exactly. In his ninth season Schaub has zero playoff experience. Remember last season it was T.J. Yates who led the Texans into the playoffs when Schaub and backup Matt Leinart went down with injuries late in the season. Of all the QBs on this list, Schaub possesses the least amount of intangibles that could determine the outcome of a game. He’s a good quarterback on a great team, but nothing more.
11. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings: Unlike Schaub, it appears that Ponder still has some upside. Now it’s highly unlikely that it will magically appear in the playoffs but one never knows. In his second season Ponder was inconsistent at best yet in Week 17 when his team needed him the most he had the best game of his young career. That alone should give the Vikings hope.
10. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: Kaepernick has big play potential but is the least experienced QB in the playoffs with only seven NFL starts. Kaepernick’s athleticism is what makes him dangerous as he is capable of extending plays outside of the pocket. He also has a canon of an arm that can stretch defenses. The problem with Kaepernick is that the 49ers haven’t truly found their identity behind him. Don’t be surprised if he’s on a short leash in the playoffs.
9. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Luck was arguably the most celebrated rookie QB to ever come in to the NFL and the fact that he backed up the hype by turning a 2-14 team into a playoff contender speaks volumes about his future in the NFL. Of the three rookie QBs in the playoffs without a doubt, Luck is the most fundamentally sound. Unfortunately, despite his 4300 passing yards, Luck only completed 54 percent of his passes while throwing 18 interceptions to 23 touchdowns. Luck is the Colts greatest strength, but could also prove to be their greatest weakness come playoff time.
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan is a solid quarterback but seems to disappear in big games. Unfortunately for him and the Falcons they don’t get any bigger than the playoffs where Ryan is a perfect 0-3. There is some good news to report. Every team that has beaten Matty Ice in the playoffs has gone on to the Super Bowl. Don’t be surprised when it happens again.
7. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: All Andy Dalton has done is lead the Bengals to the playoffs each of his first two seasons. No, he didn’t get a playoff win in year one but expect that to change his second time around. Dalton isn’t flashy but he has the “it” factor. It’s that intangible quality in a quarterback that will allow him to put his team on his shoulders in crunch time. Last year’s 31-10 loss on the road to Houston should pay huge dividends as Dalton and his Bengals again travel to Texas. Don’t be surprised if this game is the start of a Super Bowl run for Dalton.
6. Robert Griffin III: Why sixth? Because even with no playoff experience RG3 is a quarterback capable of single-handedly taking over a game; even in the postseason. Griffin’s sprained knee will likely hinder his ability to break loose in the playoffs but this guy has guts and sometimes that’s enough.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Wilson could very well be the biggest X factor in the playoffs. If he plays well, Seattle could be headed to the Super Bowl. Wilson has the talent to beat a team with his arm or legs. Wilson only threw for a little more than 3000 yards this season but completed an impressive 64 percent. He also threw 26 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Expect big things from Russell Wilson in the playoffs.
4. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: It’s now or never for Joe Flacco in the playoffs. Flacco is 5-4 in the postseason with two AFC Championship game appearances. Flacco is the first quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to playoff appearances in the first five seasons of a career. Whether or not Flacco can march his 10-6 Ravens to New Orleans for the Super Bowl remains to be seen but going into this postseason he’s one of the most experienced QBs.
3. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: No one will argue that Peyton Manning has always been one the best regular season quarterbacks throughout his 15 year NFL career. Unfortunately for Manning the same can’t be said about his postseason record. Manning is 9-10 in the playoffs so despite the fact that he and the Broncos are the No. 1 seed in the AFC, the team’s playoff fate still remains in doubt. Nevertheless, Manning is a dynamic QB with unrivaled game preparation. Manning could run through the competition or be eliminated in the Divisional round.
2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Brady is 0-2 in his last two Super Bowl appearances but he’s still the second best in this field. Brady had another outstanding year and will attempt to lead the Patriots to his sixth Super Bowl appearance. Brady is 16-6 throughout his NFL playoff career. In fact he’s won more playoff games than the QBs ranked 3-12 have combined. The Patriots will go as far as Tom Brady takes them. That could possibly be New Orleans.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Despite losing in Week 17 is there any hotter QB entering the playoffs than Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers threw for over 4200 yards and 39 touchdowns despite having multiple injuries throughout his receiving corps during the season. Rodgers has a playoff record of 5-2 and of all the QBs participants in this year’s postseason, he is the most recent to hoist the Lombardi. Rodgers will have to get four wins to get to New Orleans but that might be just the way he wants it. It would be a similar journey to the one the Packers took after the 2010 regular season. Looking at the field of QBs in the playoffs, my bet is that No. 12 ends up No. 1 when it’s all said and done.
Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth.