NFL Playoff Picture: Tom Brady and 3 QBs Entering Postseason on Hot Streaks

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of New England's 27-24 win at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL regular season was dominated by quarterbacks, and that trend will continue into the playoffs.

Unless you have the greatest statistical defense in NFL history (2001 Ravens), you aren't winning the Super Bowl with a crappy quarterback. It's no coincidence that the last eight NFL champions had either Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or one of the Mannings under center.

Luckily for a few teams, their quarterbacks are riding hot streaks into the playoffs. Expect these three signal-callers to continue their strong play in the postseason.

Tom Brady

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots scrambles against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of New England's 27-24 win at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Gett
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Brady has been overshadowed by Aaron Rodgers' brilliant performance, but he's having yet another spectacular season for New England.

Heading into Week 17, Brady is second in the NFL in passing yards (4,897), third in completion percentage (65.6 percent) and tied for third in passing touchdowns (36).

The last three weeks he has thrown for at least 304 yards every game. During that span he has six touchdown passes and just one interception.

Regardless of who the Pats play in the postseason, expect Brady to be in top form.

Matthew Stafford

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions in action against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I have my doubts about the Lions' postseason chances, but none of those center around Stafford.

The third-year man out of Georgia has been phenomenal this year. He is in the top five in the NFL in passing yards (4,518), completion percentage (63.7) and touchdowns (36).

Over his last four games, Stafford is averaging nearly 350 yards per game. In the month of December, Stafford finished with 10 touchdown passes and only one interception.

The Lions will be a scary first-round matchup thanks to Stafford.

Matt Ryan

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26:   Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Falcons 45-16.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Get
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

I doubt the Falcons will win a playoff game this season because they only have one victory over an opponent with a winning record.

Still, there's no denying how good Ryan has been recently.

He's averaging 305 yards while throwing eight touchdowns and no interceptions over his last three games.

If the Falcons get a favorable matchup and a big performance from Ryan, they may be able to sneak into the second round.

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