Three of the four matchups in this weekend's divisional round of NFL playoffs are rematches from the regular season.
In the one game that is not a rematch (New Orleans at San Francisco), it features two teams that are polar opposites. Perhaps surprisingly, the Saints were the better run offense this season -- 132.9 yards per game (YPG) for New Orleans and 127.8 YPG for San Francisco.
While the Saints ranked first in total offense (467.1 YPG) and second in scoring offense (34.2 points per game), the 49ers ranked fourth in total defense (308.2 YPG) and second in scoring defense (14.3 PPG).
Here are our quarterback rankings for the divisional round:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs NYG): With Matt Flynn starting in Week 17 and the Packers having a first-round bye, Rodgers has not played since Christmas night. Rodgers, who set the single-season record for passer rating (122.5), had a passer rating of 100-plus in 13 of 15 games. He finished the season with a franchise-record 45 touchdowns and only threw six interceptions. The Giants had the fourth-worst pass defense this season, but they have played better recently.
2. Drew Brees, Saints (at SF): Not only did Brees break numerous records this season, he has been especially good in the past eight games counting last week's playoff win. During that eight-game span, Brees has thrown for 2,938 yards, which is an average of 367.25 yards per game, and has a 28:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Although Brees has thrown more touchdowns at home (29) than on the road (17) in the regular season, he has actually averaged more passing yards per game (369.8) outdoors than he did in domes this season.
3. Tom Brady, Patriots (vs DEN): Brady has thrown for 300-plus yards in four straight games and seven of his past nine games. Throwing at least one touchdown pass in every game this season, Brady was held to just one passing touchdown in only two games this season and he had two rushing touchdowns in one of those games. In his first matchup against the Broncos, Brady threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.
4. Eli Manning, Giants (at GB): The Packers have allowed the most passing yards (299.8 per game) in the NFL this season. Although they have allowed the fifth-most passing touchdowns (29), they are one of only five teams to have more interceptions (31) than passing touchdowns allowed. Manning fell just short of 5,000 passing yards (4,933) and he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers the first time around this season.
5. Tim Tebow, Broncos (at NE): When it mattered the most, Tebow threw for a career-high 316 yards last week as he led the Broncos to an "upset" win over the Steelers. While he completed less than 50 percent of his passes (10-for-21), Tebow finished with 31 fantasy points, which was the most (by far) that the Steelers allowed all season. That said, it was only the third time in 12 starts this season that Tebow finished with more than 200 passing yards. (Take our poll on how many passing yards Tebow will have this week.)
6. Alex Smith, 49ers (vs NO): While Smith has played solid football, he has thrown more than 33 passes in only two games this season. Smith has no 300-yard games this year, but he has not thrown an interception since Thanksgiving either. The Saints have allowed eight 300-yard games this season including back-to-back 400-yard games in Weeks 12 and 13, but this game will have gone horribly wrong for the Niners if Smith throws for 400-plus yards.
7. Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs HOU): The Texans and Ravens both rank in the top four in pass defenses as the Texans have allowed only 189.7 yards per game. In their first matchup, however, Flacco threw for 305 yards and he is one of only two quarterbacks to throw for 300-plus yards against the Texans. Brees was the other.
8. T.J. Yates, Texans (at BAL): The Ravens allowed a league-low 11 passing touchdowns this season and have one of only five defenses to intercept more passes (15) than they have allowed passing touchdowns. The first time this season that these two teams met, Yates did not play but Matt Schaub had a mediocre performance: 220 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The Ravens have yet to allow a quarterback to throw for more than one touchdown in any game this season.
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