NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021?

6 min


By

Bill Bender

The 2021 NFL playoffs feature just one — maybe two — quarterbacks who will be making their first postseason start.

Advertisements

Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, who led the Browns to their first playoff berth since the 2002 season, is one of those QBs. Los Angeles’ John Wolford would be the other if Jared Goff (thumb) cannot 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 won NFL MVP awards. It’s a good mix of youth and experience at the NFL’s most important position.

Here are those quarterbacks sorted by age:

QUARTERBACKAGEMVPPLAYOFFSSUPER BOWL
Lamar Jackson2310-20-0
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 ranked the playoff quarterbacks using this question: Who do you want right now?

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 1
(Getty Images)

NFL playoff QB power rankings 2021

1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs  

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-field advantage in the AFC again. Mahomes might 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 repeat since Brady in 2004-05?

2. Aaron Rodgers, Packers  

If you want to put Rodgers at No. 1, that’s fine. He is 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-field advantage for the first time since 2011. Rodgers is flourishing in his second season in Matt LaFleur’s system, and this is his best chance to get a long-awaited second Super Bowl appearance. Brady, Brees and Wilson are among the top challengers in the NFC. That’s not going to be easy.

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 2
(Getty Images)

3. Tom Brady, Buccaneers  

Advertisements

Yes, we know Brady has six Super Bowl championships and nine appearances and 30 career playoff career victories. All of that was in New England. Tampa Bay is the No. 5 seed, but they are arguably the most dangerous wild-card team after winning four straight games to close 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’re about to find out.

4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks  

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

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 3
(Getty Images)

5. Josh Allen, Bills  

Allen emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate this season, and he’s one of just three QBs with a QBR above 80. The connection with Stefon Diggs has elevated the entire offense, and Allen closed the regular season with 16 TDs and just three interceptions in the Bills’ six-game win streak. That gets erased in the postseason, of course, but Buffalo looks like Kansas City’s best challenger in the AFC.

6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens  

Jackson might face more pressure than any other QB in these playoffs given his 0-2 postseason record. Since returning from COVID-19, however, Jackson averages 161.8 passing yards and 86 rushing yards with 15 total TDs and just three interceptions. The season-saving heroics against Cleveland in Week 14 woke up the offense, and Baltimore will be a tough out in the playoffs as a result.

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 4
(Getty Images)

7. Drew Brees, Saints  

Advertisements

Is this too low? Brees missed five games this season because of a rib injury, but the Saints a remain a good bet to make a run in the NFC. That hinges just as much on Alvin Kamara as Brees, however. Brees averaged 248.7 passing yards with six TDs and three interceptions after returning from the injury, and New Orleans did push the Chiefs to the limit. Brees is 8-8 in the postseason, and the chance to avenge last year’s wild-card loss to Minnesota is there.

8. Ryan Tannehill, Titans  

Tannehill proved this season that last year’s run to the AFC championship game wasn’t a fluke, and it doesn’t hurt to have 2,000-yard rusher 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 likely will be shootouts.

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 5
(Getty Images)

9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers  

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

10. Baker Mayfield, Browns  

For what it’s worth, Mayfield is the highest-ranked former No. 1 pick in this year’s playoffs. Mayfield evolved with first-year 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 for his career, but if he continues to make good decisions with the support of a strong running game led by Nick Chubb and Kareem, then Cleveland will have a chance.

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 6
(SN/Getty)

11. Philip Rivers, Colts  

Advertisements

The Colts slipped into the playoffs, and Rivers – who is 5-6 in the postseason for his career – did help stabilize the quarterback position in Indianapolis. Rivers can still go off at any given time, but he ranked 19th in the NFL in QBR this season. Indianapolis was just 5-3 on the road this season, and they are up against one of the hottest teams in the league in Buffalo.

12. Jared Goff, Rams  

This assumes Goff – who started in a Super Bowl two years ago – plays in the wild-card matchup against the Seahawks. If that isn’t the case, John Wolford has not made a playoff start. Goff, meanwhile, 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.

NFL playoff QB power rankings: Can Aaron Rodgers, anyone else dethrone Patrick Mahomes in 2021? 7
(Getty Images)

13. Alex Smith, Washington  

Smith is without a doubt the best story among the quarterbacks given his comeback from a gruesome leg injury. He has six TDs and eight interceptions this season, but Washington will at least be playing at home against the Buccaneers. Smith has seven playoff starts in his career, and he is coming off a decent start against Philadelphia that clinched the NFC East. He will be asked to do more as a heavy underdog 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 TDs and five interceptions in his last five starts, but he will be pressed to take more shots against the Saints in the NFC wild card round. The Bears’ have protected well in the last three games, but they’ll need to be even better to give Trubisky a chance.

Originally published here Sporting News RSS


Like it? Share with your friends!

97
14 shares, 97 points

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
9
hate
confused confused
23
confused
fail fail
16
fail
fun fun
14
fun
geeky geeky
11
geeky
love love
4
love
lol lol
7
lol
omg omg
23
omg
win win
16
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format