Thursday, January 21

NFL Playoff QB Power Positions: Can Aaron Rodgers, Anyone Else, Dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021?


The 2021 NFL playoffs feature just one, maybe two, quarterbacks making their first postseason start.

Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, who led the Browns to their first playoff spot since the 2002 season, is one of those quarterbacks. Los Angeles’ John Wolford would be the other if Jared Goff (thumb) can’t go.

The rest of the field is loaded. Six quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes – have won Super Bowls. Brady, Rodgers, Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have all won NFL MVP awards. It’s a good combination of youth and experience in the most important position in the NFL.

Here are those quarterbacks sorted by age:

ATTACK PLAYERYEARSMvpPLAYOFFSSUPER BOWL
Lamar jackson2. 310-20-0
Josh allen2400-10-0
Pat mahomes2514-11-0
Baker Mayfield2500-00-0
Jared goff2602-20-1
Mitchell trubisky2600-10-0
Ryan tannehill3202-10-0
Russell wilson3209-61-1
Alex smith3602-50-0
Aaron Rodgers37210-81-0
Ben roethlisberger38013-82-1
Philip Rivers3905-60-0
Drew brees4108-81-0
Tom brady43330-116-3

SN qualified the playoff quarterbacks using this question: Who do you want now?

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2021 NFL Playoff QB Power Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, bosses

Mahomes is drawing comparisons to a video game boss after another outstanding season in which he finished with 4,740 yards, 38 TDs and just six interceptions. The Chiefs finished 14-2 and have home-court advantage again in the AFC. Mahomes may not win the MVP award, but Kansas City has a better path to the Super Bowl than the next quarterback on the list. Can Mahomes lead the first replay since Brady in 2004-05?

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

If you want to put Rodgers at number one, that’s fine. He’s at the top of his game. He will likely win the MVP after passing for 4,299 yards with 48 TDs and just five interceptions, and the Packers have home-court advantage for the first time since 2011. Rodgers is flourishing in his second season in Matt LaFleur’s system, and this is his the best chance of landing a long-awaited second Super Bowl appearance. Brady, Brees and Wilson are among the NFC’s main rivals. That is not going to be easy.

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3. Tom Brady, Buccaneers

Yes, we know that Brady has six Super Bowl championships and nine appearances and 30 playoff victories. All of that was in New England. Tampa Bay is the No. 5 seed, but arguably the most dangerous wild-card team after winning four straight games to close out the season. The Buccaneers were just 1-5 against teams that made the postseason, and they will have to do it on the road. Can Brady do it without Bill Belichick? We are about to find out.

4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Wilson’s ability to make plays propelled the Seahawks to a 12-4 record, but the offense only had one game with more than 28 points in the second half of the season. Wilson still had 40 more TDs, and his improv style generally translates well into the postseason. The Seahawks will have to go on the road at some point, and Wilson is 3-5 in road playoff games.

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5. Josh Allen, Bills

Allen emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate this season, and is one of three quarterbacks with a QBR greater than 80. The connection to Stefon Diggs has elevated the entire offense, and Allen closed the regular season with 16 TDs and just three interceptions for the Bills. ‘six-game winning streak. That rubs off in the postseason, of course, but Buffalo looks like Kansas City’s best challenger in the AFC.

6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Jackson could face more pressure than any other quarterback in these playoffs given his 0-2 postseason record. However, since returning from COVID-19, Jackson is averaging 161.8 passing yards and 86 rushing yards with 15 total touchdowns and just three interceptions. The season-saving heroics against Cleveland in Week 14 woke up the offense, and as a result, Baltimore will be hit hard in the playoffs.

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7. Drew Brees, Saints

Is this too low? Brees missed five games this season due to a rib injury, but the Saints are still a good bet for a run in the NFC. However, that depends as much on Alvin Kamara as it is on Brees. Brees averaged 248.7 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions after returning from injury, and New Orleans pushed the Chiefs to the limit. Brees is 8-8 in the postseason, and the opportunity to avenge last year’s wild-card loss to Minnesota is there.

8. Ryan Tannehill, Titans

Tannehill proved this season that last year’s race to the AFC championship was no fluke, and it doesn’t hurt to have 2,000-yard running back Derrick Henry in the backfield. Tannehill has 22 TDs and just two interceptions at home this season, but the Titans were 5-3 in those games. Tennessee finished 3-3 against the other teams in the AFC playoffs this season, and there will likely be shootouts.

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9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl winner and has won 13 career playoff starts, but the last postseason win was in 2016. Roethlisberger had eight TDs and four interceptions in Pittsburgh’s last four games, and the offense finally got back on track. click in the second half against Indianapolis. . Big Ben is 4-1 in the playoffs against teams from the AFC North, but this is his first postseason start against the Browns.

10. Baker Mayfield, Browns

For what it’s worth, Mayfield is the former top-ranked No. 1 pick in this year’s playoffs. Mayfield evolved with freshman Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland, especially in the second half of the season. Mayfield threw just one interception in the Browns’ last nine games. Mayfield is 0-3 at Heinz Field in his career, but if he continues to make good decisions supported by a strong running game led by Nick Chubb and Kareem, Cleveland will have a shot.

(SN / Getty)

11. Philip Rivers, Colts

The Colts made the playoffs and Rivers, who is 5-6 in his career postseason, helped stabilize the quarterback position in Indianapolis. Rivers can still skyrocket at any time, but he was ranked 19th in the NFL at QBR this season. Indianapolis was just 5-3 on the road this season, and they face one of the hottest teams in the league in Buffalo.

12. Jared Goff, Rams

This assumes that Goff, who started in a Super Bowl two years ago, plays in the wild card matchup against the Seahawks. If that’s not the case, John Wolford hasn’t started in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Goff has struggled with turnovers this season. The Rams are 4-1 against teams that made the NFC playoffs, and that included wins against Seattle and Tampa Bay.

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13. Alex Smith, Washington

Smith is hands down the best story among quarterbacks given his return from a gruesome leg injury. He has six TDs and eight interceptions this season, but Washington will at least play at home against the Buccaneers. Smith has seven career playoff starts and is off a decent start against Philadelphia that secured the NFC East. He will be asked to do more like a heavy loser against Tampa Bay.

14. Mitchell Trubisky, bears

Trubisky’s contract is a constant topic of conversation in Chicago, and he heads into his second playoff start with questions about whether he can be the long-term answer. Trubisky had 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in his last five starts, but will be forced to make more shots against the Saints in the NFC wild-card round. The Bears have protected themselves well the past three games, but they’ll need to get even better to give Trubisky a chance.



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