NFL Playoff Predictions: Ranking the 12 Playoff Quarterbacks

Eli Nachmany@EliNachmanyCorrespondent IIIJanuary 5, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions: Ranking the 12 Playoff Quarterbacks

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    If an NFL team has a top quarterback (Peyton Manning notwithstanding), chances are that the team is in the postseason.

    The last two years, arguably the best quarterback in the league has won the Super Bowl.

    Maybe ranking the quarterbacks isn't a crazy thing, considering how having a quarterback directly correlates with success in the postseason.

    Starting the list at 12, let's rank the starting quarterbacks in the NFL postseason this year.

12. Whatever the Texans Throw Out There

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    Come on.

    The Texans have the worst quarterback situation of any team even near the playoffs.

    T.J. Yates, Jeff Garcia...Jake Delhomme?

    If there was a way I could rank them 13 out of 12, I'd do that.

11. Tim Tebow

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    This one will draw the ire of some Tebow fans, but it's true.

    Tim Tebow is the second-worst quarterback in the postseason right now.

    Until Tebow learns proper throwing mechanics and posts good stats, I can't put him higher on this list.

    Tebow will have his day at some point in the future, but for right now, he stands at No. 11.

10. Andy Dalton

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    Andy Dalton's been pretty good this year, but he falls on the list because of a lack of experience.

    I think Dalton could move up this list with a nice game or two, but you have to realize, he only went 9-7 this season.

    The TCU graduate is a growing, young prospect who will only get better in time.

9. Alex Smith

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    Alex Smith is a game manager and hasn't been able to put points on the board in the red zone for his team.

    Frank Gore is carrying the load right now for the Niners, and Jim Harbaugh's offense has made it easy for Smith to have success.

    Look for Smith to play a small role in the offensive game plan for the postseason.

8. Joe Flacco

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    You knew this one was coming.

    Joe Flacco has been great at times this season yet utterly frustrating at other times. It's his inconsistency that keeps him out of the top half of this list.

    The Ravens may well win the Super Bowl, but I don't think it will be because of their quarterback.

7. Ben Roethlisberger

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    I used to think Ben Roethlisberger was a top-flight quarterback, but I've since backed off that notion after seeing him struggle time and again in 2011.

    I think the Steelers stand a good shot in the postseason, but Roethlisberger will have to step up his game and be consistent in spite of whatever injuries or defenses he faces.

    Roethlisberger is elite on some days and subpar on others—he just barely misses the sixth spot.

6. Matt Ryan

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    Matt Ryan just edges Ben Roethlisberger because it looks like Ryan has finally figured it out...for real.

    Ryan had 29 touchdowns this year and just 12 interceptions, not bad totals when added to over 4,000 yards of passing.

    Not aided by his defense like Roethlisberger was, Ryan slips just ahead of the Steeler quarterback and into the top half of the list.

5. Matthew Stafford

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    Four quarterbacks have eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark for passing in a single season in NFL history. Matthew Stafford is now one of them.

    Put 41 touchdowns on top of that, and it's clear that the Motor City quarterback has moved into the top five signal-callers in all of football.

    Stafford is a good quarterback who's finally starting to show the rare arm that the Lions loved in the 2009 NFL draft.

4. Eli Manning

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    Eli Manning proclaimed that he was in the same, elite class as Tom Brady. I'm beginning to agree more and more.

    Manning turned Victor Cruz into a star and was able to lead his Giants to a key, late-season victory against hated rival Dallas.

    This quarterback already has a Super Bowl ring, and now that he's cut down on his turnovers, he's in the top tier of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

3. Drew Brees

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    Drew Brees has it all, basically.

    He has the yardage record and a Super Bowl ring, but he doesn't have something that the next two quarterbacks do have—home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

    That's not to say that Brees isn't great, but he wasn't able to lead his team to a league-best win total, which is a deciding factor this high on the list.

2. Tom Brady

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    I don't know if anyone noticed, but in Week 17, Tom Brady accomplished the same feat that Drew Brees got so much hype for in Week 16.

    Brady broke Dan Marino's yardage record and got up over 5,200 yards passing.

    Add that to the first seed in the AFC and a solid season all around, and Brady is the NFL's second-best quarterback right now.

1. Aaron Rodgers

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    Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now, and he's certainly ready to blow teams out of the water.

    The Packer quarterback has been having a field day this year, and his 15-1 team rolls into the postseason with a first-round bye.

    Rodgers has been killing it this year, and there are very faulty arguments against him as the league's MVP.

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