Quarterbacks will likely decide this postseason.
In the NFL, a team needs an elite quarterback in order to build a team good enough to win the Super Bowl.
The position was always one of the most important on the field, but in this day and age, quarterbacks are driving offenses like never before.
Who wins in the respective conference title games may come down to which team has the best QB. Here's how each team's starting quarterback shapes up.
4. Joe Flacco
Give a lot of credit to Joe Flacco. He did very well against the New England Patriots in the divisional round last year, but for the most part, Flacco hasn't asserted himself in the playoffs in the kind of way you would expect of a QB with his postseason experience.
The Denver Broncos secondary had itself a nightmare of a day. That shouldn't take away from Flacco's 331 yards and three touchdowns.
New England ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed. If there's one weakness on the Patriots, it's defending the pass.
If Flacco has another big game, then he'll enter a different class of quarterback in the NFL.
3. Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan finally got that ever-elusive playoff win after losing his first three postseason games. The Atlanta Falcons defense very nearly gave the game away, though, against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ryan was far from exceptional in the divisional round win, and his second interception set up Seattle's third touchdown.
2012 was the best year of Ryan's career, as he threw for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. With Julio Jones and Roddy White, he has one of the best receiving duos in the league.
The conference title game is uncharted territory, and in the San Francisco 49ers defense, Ryan will be going against one of the best units in the league.
2. Colin Kaepernick
Has there ever been a more dominating postseason debut than the performance Colin Kaepernick had against the Green Bay Packers?
While Kaepernick doesn't have the playoff experience of his counterparts, he more than makes up for that by being the hottest player this postseason.
He accounted for 444 total yards in the 49ers' 45-31 divisional round win. His 181 rushing yards were the most ever by a quarterback in the playoffs.
Kaepernick's aptitude for mistake-free football will be important during the postseason. Russell Wilson was able to tear apart the Falcons defense with both his feet and arm, so Atlanta needs to step its game up in order to stop Kaepernick.
1. Tom Brady
Quite frankly, you can't bet against Tom Brady in the playoffs. There are only three constants in this world: death, taxes and Brady leading the Patriots to the playoffs.
He may well go down as the greatest quarterback in history. Even at 35 years old, Brady has still not managed to lose a step.
During the 2012 regular season, Brady threw for 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns. Those are amazing numbers when you consider how injuries have affected the Patriots receivers.
His three Super Bowl rings mean that as long has he is setting foot on the field, he'll be the best quarterback in the postseason.