With a lot more passing in line for the Divisional Round of NFL postseason play, the secondary units could determine who lives to fight another week.
The first round featured some ugly battles impaired by eye-gauging displays through the air. But before discrediting the new era of high-powered aerial offenses because of last week's games, consider that Aaron Rodgers was the only true stud who took the field.
Now Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning join the party in place of Joe Webb, Andy Dalton and a one-legged Robert Griffin III. While Colin Kaepernick is still unproven, he can actually run five yards before grimacing to the sideline in clear pain.
That doesn't mean big gains will come easily for these top quarterbacks.
While many teams in last year’s postseason hid porous secondaries through dazzling offenses, this year’s batch of playoff squads boast above-average defensive units. All eight teams ranked among the top 12 in points allowed this season.
For the most part, the cornerbacks and safeties have played a pivotal role in impeding opposing offenses. Some of the secondaries of the final eight playoff teams can certainly be exposed, though.
Here’s how the remaining secondary units stack up heading into the Divisional Round.