NFL Playoff Scenarios: 8 Best Possible QB Matchups
The NFL playoffs are finally here.
As much as we all love 17 weeks of regular season football, the only thing that can truly top it is postseason football. The best teams are remaining and will face off in single elimination competition to determine the champion of the NFL.
As good as all of these teams are, the position of the quarterback will always take center stage.
We have some of the best quarterbacks in the league in the postseason along with some of the most polarizing. Watching two great quarterbacks go head to head in a playoff game is always fascinating.
This postseason has the potential for some epic quarterback showdowns.
Here are my top eight possible quarterback matchups for this postseason.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Eli Manning
Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL all year long.
Even though they were unsuccessful in their bid at an undefeated season, the Packers still went 15-1 and captured the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Rodgers is in the running for the MVP of the league and rightfully so. There were few teams that could slow down the Packers' passing attack this year.
One of the teams that gave them the most trouble was the New York Giants.
The Packers were able to pull off the victory with a game winning field goal as time expired in their Week 13 matchup with the Giants. Even though it was a loss for Eli Manning and company, they put on a fantastic performance and showed that the Packers were beatable.
The Giants sealed their playoff berth in the last game of the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys. So now if New York and New Orleans win their first-round games, we'll see a rematch of Manning versus Rodgers in the second round of the playoffs.
Eli Manning has taken some heat for calling himself an elite quarterback, but if he can out duel Rodgers in the postseason he would certainly make a strong case for himself.
Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger
The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers are two of most dominant AFC teams over the best decade.
They have been led for the majority of that time by Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger respectively. It is hard to find two quarterbacks that have less in common stylistically, but they both know how to win big football games.
The Steelers and Patriots met earlier in the season and the Steelers defense was able to slow Brady enough to pick up the victory. Roethlisberger has been battling an ankle injury heading in to the postseason and unless it completely heals, it will be a major concern for Pittsburgh.
If Pittsburgh can beat Denver and the Texans knock off Cincinnati, we'll see Roethlisberger taking his Steelers to New England.
It'll be tough to top a quarterback matchup where the two men have five Super Bowl rings between them.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Joe Flacco
When you think Ravens versus Steelers, great quarterback play isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
Usually you picture two brutally tough defenses attacking the opposing offense all day long. You think of big hits and shoving after the whistle has been blown. You imagine a game decided by a few field goals and some crucial field position.
However, you cannot discount the impact that Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger have on those games.
These two quarterbacks are used to taking a beating from their AFC North rival. Neither team is afraid to send the heat on defense.
Steelers versus Ravens games often come down to just a few big plays. Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger may struggle all day to find success in the passing game, but they also have the chance to change the entire outlook of the game with one play.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore make up one of the best rivalries in football today. It would be impossible to leave them off a list like this.
Matt Ryan vs. Aaron Rodgers
With all of the great quarterbacks in the NFC, Matt Ryan often gets overlooked.
Ryan may not have the gaudy numbers like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, but he has put together a pretty fantastic season in Atlanta. It is difficult to play in the shadow of Drew Brees in the NFC South, but Ryan has managed to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league regardless.
Ryan will lead his Falcons against the New York Giants in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Falcons pick up the win and the Saints beat the Lions, we'll see Atlanta head to Green Bay. These two teams already met Week 5 of this season. The Packers came out on top as Ryan had one of his worst games of the year.
While he isn't consistently lighting up defenses, Ryan is a much better quarterback than he showed Week 5. He'll certainly be looking for redemption against a Packers pass defense that is the worst in the league.
Atlanta would certainly be the underdog in that matchup, but it would give "Matty Ice" a chance to earn his time in the quarterback spotlight.
Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers
What more can you ask for than taking the two front-runners in the NFL MVP race and put them head to head in a playoff game in one of the most famous stadiums in the league?
Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have met already this year in a high scoring Week 1 dual. Rodgers and the Packers came out on top, but Brees matched him in touchdowns and threw for 100 more yards. The Packers just got off to the hotter start in that one and the Saints weren't able to keep up.
With the single season passing record on his resume and a potential MVP trophy on the horizon, Drew Brees' sights are set on a Super Bowl championship.
I have no doubt that if the Saints and Packers meet again, we will be in for some more huge passing numbers. New Orleans passing defense is ranked 30th in the league and we know how awful Green Bay's can be.
The play of Brees and Rodgers will most likely be the determining factor in this potential rematch.
I wouldn't want it any other way.
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees
Tom Brady versus Drew Brees in a Super Bowl showdown?
Brady and Brees took the race for the single season passing record down to the wire. Both men ended up passing former record holder Dan Marino. However, if Brees hadn't played the entire game Week 17, Brady would have had a chance to surpass him for the record.
Both men had fantastic seasons and are currently in the prime of their careers. They have both overcome poor defensive play and carried their teams to the top of their respective divisions.
Brady joins Rodgers and Brees in the exclusive club of having fantastic passing offenses and horrible passing defenses. Their three teams are the bottom three passing defenses in the league, yet they are three of the best teams in the league.
There is no doubt that if the Saints and Patriots met in the Super Bowl you would see the offenses opened up and passes flying down the field.
If you love offense and high scoring games, then you'd love this matchup.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Aaron Rodgers
Of any of the matchups on this list, this one may be the most likely.
Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers meeting in a rematch of last year's Super Bowl. While many of the faces are the same on both teams, the matchup would certainly play out a bit differently.
The Packers brought a much crisper defense into last year's game. Green Bay was able to pick Roethlisberger off two times in that game and those turnovers were major turning points in the game.
However, the Steelers will have to deal with "Big Ben's" injuries as well.
He is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league as he is willing to play through any injury. Still, regardless of how tough you are, it doesn't necessarily equate to great play. February is a month away so he will have a chance to heal if the Steelers offensive line can protect him throughout the playoffs.
There is no doubt that Roethlisberger and the Steelers would love another shot at Rodgers and the Packers. There would be nothing sweeter than knocking off the team that crushed your dreams the previous year.
Two of the NFL's best quarterbacks on two of its most historic franchises will always make for a great Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady
It is very rare to see the two No. 1 seeds face off in the Super Bowl.
However, I could easily see it happening this year. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have overcome poor defensive play all year long and I wouldn't be shocked to see them pull it off on the big stage of the NFL postseason.
Both quarterbacks have been to the Super Bowl before and know what it takes to get the job done.
Brady is one of the league's best postseason quarterbacks and no other quarterback in the league can claim to have as many rings as him.
Rodgers is fresh off a Super Bowl victory and is putting on one heck of an encore performance this season. He is staking his claim for being called the best quarterback in the NFL and I don't think that there are many people out there that wouldn't have him in the conversation.
They say that defense wins championships in the NFL, but if there are any two quarterbacks that can overcome that old adage it would be Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.