This is going to be the round of the QB. Pocket passers vs. Dual Threats. Old vs. Young. Idols vs. Upstarts. Really the only thing missing is Aaron Rodgers. In the spirit of this high concentration of QB talent I will rate the eight remaining QBs. I usually do this every year before the playoffs start, but I didn’t do it this year which saved me the trouble of having to find a spot for Nick Foles. The only criteria for the rankings is: who would you want to be quarterbacking your team for the rest of this post-season. That’s it. In ego-crushing, reverse order:
8: Cam Newton. I like Cam Newton. He throws lasers, he’s durable. He’s a bit like an in shape Duante Culpeper. But, in what will be a nit-picking process, Newton’s deficiencies stand out. He’s the only QB left without any playoff success. And, while he doesn’t have the greatest supporting cast, Newton is still too erratic to trust in a deep playoff run. We still don’t know if Carolina can put together a run against good teams and that’s partly due to their QB.
7: Russell Wilson. Wilson is a leader. There is no questioning that now. He’s the smartest running quarterback in the league, maximizing effectiveness while limiting contact. But, there are a few QBs remaining that lean on their defenses. Wilson is one of them. He’s not necessarily asked to win games. It’s still too early for me to say you could take Russell Wilson and put him on Indy with that (relatively) terrible defense and he’d still be as effective.
6. Philip Rivers. Rivers is constantly the butt of jokes, but seems to be highly regarded by teammates who always have his back during the hard times. In recent years, San Diego has given Rivers nothing to work with and his best chance to win a Super Bowl may have passed. But, Rivers at his highest point can compete with anyone in the league. A three/four game hot streak at the right time is not out of the question.
5. Drew Brees. I’m down on Brees. He was absolutely terrible in the first half against the Eagles and Philly not making New Orleans pay for those interceptions was the difference in the game. There’s something wobbly about his arm-strength. He’s accurate, but seems to increasingly need perfect conditions to execute. He could make me look stupid today, but I don’t think so.
4. Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick can flip plays, drives and games with one burst of speed or one incredible throw. He’s already nearly won a Super Bowl and is making a habit out of beating Aaron Rodgers. He’s got a great defense to support him, but for me he’s a bit like Rivers with more ways to beat you. When he’s going well, you can’t imagine a team ever drafting a pocket QB again.
3. Andrew Luck. Luck still makes a lot of mistakes, but he has that irrational confidence in himself that I love to see. And, what can I say, that throw to T.Y. Hilton last week won me over. I could watch it all day.
2. Tom Brady. Brady is number two, because I hear a lot of Patriots fans and experts starting to talk about Brady in the past tense. You hear things like, “That’s something Brady used to do.” Perhaps it’s just a way to set themselves up for the eventual next QB, but there could be something to it. Brady’s dominating the field in rings, but it’s been a while since he was at his best in the biggest games.
1. Peyton Manning. Manning on the other hand is coming off the best statistical year of any QB. He’s been blessed with incredible skill position talent for almost his entire career, but he’s also made his share of stars. Brady and Manning is something you always flip-flop on, and right now I’m tipping to the Manning side. The good news is that these guys have a way of settling it on the field.
Big Dub, Last Week: 4-0 (Whistle)
New Orleans (+8) over Seattle. If there was ever a chance for a team to look ahead or look past an opponent in the playoffs, this is it.
New England (-7) over Indianapolis. If Luck falls behind by 28 again he and the Colts are dead. They’re going up against Belichick and Brady, not Reid and Smith.
San Francisco (Pick) over Carolina. San Fran lost outright at home against the Panthers and then they opened as a favorite in Carolina in the playoffs. I’m buying what Vegas was originally trying to sell.
San Diego (+9.5) over Denver. Peyton + Playoffs = Choke.
DC, Last Week: 1-2
- New Olreans (+8) over Seattle
- Indianapolis (+7) over New England
- San Francisco (Pick) over Carolina
- Denver (-9.5) over San Diego
Grossy, Last Week: 2-2
Seattle (-8) over New Orleans. I’ve picked New Orleans in Seattle before. Probably on multiple occasions. It usually goes very, very poorly for me. There’s only one game I really like this week, and this is not it. It’s a ton of points to give Brees, but I don’t think he’s going to play well. I can see something like 24-10. Now go bet the over.
New England (-7) over Indianapolis. The Colts just aren’t good enough. They come from a dreadful division. They exploited a collapsing Chief team last week, but keep in mind they gave up 45 points to Alex Smith and a third-string RB. Andrew Luck might put a scare into Patriot fans, but it’s not happening yet. Not this year in Foxboro. Pats pull away late.
San Francisco (Pick) over Carolina. I think San Francisco is playing as well as any team right now. The trip to Carolina should be a cake walk compared to last week. The Niners are simply a better version of the Panthers. Throw away their game from earlier this year. Not relevant.
San Diego (+9.5) over Denver. I think Peyton and Company pull it out, but I like San Diego’s chances to keep it within one score, or possibly get a tasty backdoor cover. Rivers is hot right now, there’s nothing too intimidating about the Denver defense. 35-31? Why not?