Wild Card Weekend QB Player Rankings
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1. Drew Brees (@ Sea)
Drew had his best game of the season against the Seahawks back in Week 11 going off for 382 yards and four TDs. Granted, that game was played in the comfort of the Saints home dome, while this time around he’ll be playing on the road, but I don’t expect it to matter much.
The Seahawks pass defense is one of the worst in the game, and with New Orleans being without the services of either Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory, you can bet they’ll take their game to the air. Brees is a lock to throw up 45 passes this Saturday, and with that kind of opportunity, expect him to easily surpass his career playoff averages of 274.7 yards and 2.2 TDs per game.
2. Aaron Rodgers (@ Phi)
Aaron “it out” Rodgers is what you would call a “pressure QB,” meaning Rodge does his best when the weight of the world is on his shoulders. In last year’s playoff game against the Cardinals, Aaron went absolutely berserk tossing for 423 yards and four TDs while rushing in another.
This year, when the Packers needed to win their last two games to get into the playoffs, Rodgers won them both by throwing up a combined 633 yards and five TDs with just one INT. Make no mistake about it, Rodgers loves this kind of pressure, and against an Eagles pass D that ranks as the third-worst in the league in allowing TD passes, you can bet Aaron “it out” will be airing it out all game long.
3. Michael Vick (vs GB)
Vick put up his best statistical season as a passer this season while also rushing for the most TDs in his career. He’s an anomaly that can’t be game-planned for, but it is possible to somewhat contain him. The Packers defense will be a real tough test for Mike this weekend as their pass D ranks as one of the best in the game, but Vick has ways of getting around such things.
In their game against Green Bay earlier in the year, Vick ran for 103 yards and passed for a TD in just one half of play, so expect the unexpected from this freak of nature come Sunday.
4. Peyton Manning (vs NYJ)
Manning is on a pretty nice roll right now averaging 291 yards and throwing for multiple TDs in each of his last seven games. In last year’s playoffs, Peyton absolutely destroyed the Jets throwing for 377 yards with three TDs while putting up a 123.6 QB Rating. The Jets may be thought of as having a stifling pass D but don’t believe the hype. You can bet Manning doesn’t and will prove otherwise in this one.
5. Matt Cassel (vs Bal)
Cassel has been phenomenal this year in leading the Chiefs to a division-leading 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 2006, and he might be depended on even more this Sunday. The Ravens rush D is as tough as it gets, especially in the playoffs, so if the Chiefs want to move on past the first round, Cassel will likely be the one to get them there. Expect Matt to toss the pill around quite a bit this weekend.
6. Matt Hasselbeck (vs NO)
Hasselbeck had maybe his best game of the season against the Saints earlier this year, putting up 366 yards and a TD on a season-high 44 pass attempts in the Seahawks 34-19 loss. With Seattle likely to be behind most of this game, Hasselbeck will be passing the ball a ton once again and could end up with pretty decent stats.
7. Joe Flacco (@ KC)
Flacco has a history of not doing so well in the playoffs, and I expect that trend to continue this Sunday for a couple of reasons. First, the Ravens will want to control the clock and will likely do so with a run-first approach due to the Chiefs lack of a strong rush D. Second, Flacco tends to play better at home than on the road, so though the Ravens may end up winning this game, it will probably be because of Ray Rice and their defensive play, not Joe Cool.
8. Mark Sanchez (@ Ind)
Sanchez won’t have to play in the cold this Saturday, but that doesn’t mean his numbers will end up much better than they have been lately. In the last five games Sanchize played in (played just one series in Week 17 to rest his ailing shoulder), he totaled two touchdowns and six interceptions while averaging just 197 yards/game. With the Colts rush D being pretty weak and Mark’s shoulder still not 100 percent, look for Rex Ryan to pound Shonn Greene and LT21 all game long keeping Sanchez’s usage to a minimum.
9. Charlie Whitehurst (vs NO)
The Seahawks are committed to Hasselbeck at this point, as they have been all year. The only chance Whitehurst will see the field is if Hasselbeck’s hip injury becomes a factor.
10. Kevin Kolb (vs GB)
Michael Vick is a special talent, there’s NO question about that, but for anyone to overlook just how good the Eagles have it with this buttery corn on the Kolb as a backup is unacceptable. Boo Santa Claus all you want; I’d be happy to take Kevin Kolb off your hands. Whatever the case, the only way Kolb will get a sniff of a snap under center is if Vick reinjures his quad or Clay Matthews knocks him into next week.