When the NFL playoffs for the 2022 season kick off Saturday, we’ll see a few of the league’s finest expertise underneath middle. Eleven of the highest 15 finishers in Total QBR made the sphere. Eight of the 14 playoff groups’ projected starters have been first-round picks (together with two of the backups). All seven AFC groups might begin quarterbacks underneath the age of 30, and as much as six passers might make their first playoff begin, per ESPN Stats & Information analysis.
These guys will all be massive elements in whether or not their groups go on deep playoff runs, and I see quite a lot of quarterbacks right here who can compete for a Super Bowl title this yr.
Ranking all 14 of the beginning signal-callers is not simple. I primarily based the next 1-14 checklist on how every passer is enjoying in the mean time and what I anticipate from them as we head to the postseason. I attempted to take away the environment for every quarterback and weigh their skills and up to date kind on their very own, unattached to staff energy, playcalling or supporting solid on offense. This is simply how I might stack the quarterbacks proper now primarily based on watching every on tape over the course of the season.
The first title of the checklist wasn’t too troublesome to put, however it received tougher from there.
Mahomes is the Stephen Curry of the NFL. He has a tremendous means to simply sluggish every part down round him and use his immense soccer sense to do just about no matter he needs to do with the soccer, whatever the scenario. He completed the season with a league-leading 77.6 QBR and threw 41 landing passes, his most since an MVP-winning 2018 season. His arm expertise is off the charts, and there is not a lot he cannot do.
I suppose there’s a little concern with him getting too frisky with the soccer at occasions, although. He threw 12 interceptions, one yr after throwing 13. There is a few “I’m just going to try this” to his recreation, and it is not at all times obligatory. But the factor about Mahomes is he usually pulls it off anyway.
Burrow is not simply enjoying quarterback on the market — he is enjoying towards the protection. He is aware of precisely what is required at any given second and the best way to play towards each opponent. With three seasons underneath his belt, together with a run to final yr’s Super Bowl, he sees the sphere higher than anybody in soccer. And he now has back-to-back years with 34 or extra TD throws regardless of mediocre safety in entrance of him.
There aren’t too many flaws together with his recreation. I like what I see on tape just about each weekend from Burrow. His arm energy may not be on the identical stage as a few of the different QBs listed right here, however he nonetheless accomplished 13 downfield passes (a minimum of 25 air yards) this season.
No play is lifeless with Allen underneath middle. He’s the NFL’s final playmaker, whether or not or not it’s together with his dashing means or big arm. And when Allen is on his recreation, he is the most well liked quarterback in soccer. Per ESPN Stats & Information analysis, Allen has the very best TD-to-INT ratio (14-1) in playoff historical past amongst QBs with a minimum of 150 passing makes an attempt. His 71.2 QBR ranked second this yr to Mahomes, and his 7.1 yards per dropback have been fourth.
Allen’s largest energy will be his largest weak spot, although. He must study to curb his competitiveness at occasions. He appears to get into this mode the place he looks like he has to do all of it himself, and it may get him into hassle. His 29 interceptions over the previous two seasons lead the league.
Hurts has a butterfly impact on the remainder of the Eagles’ roster. You can simply see how a lot he modifies that staff when he is underneath middle, and he creates issues for opposing offenses. Hurts forces opponents to play true 11-on-11 soccer due to precision passing and the flexibility to run the ball like a tailback.
He accomplished 66.5% of his passes this season and solely threw six interceptions, and his 66.7 QBR completed fourth. And solely Jamaal Williams had extra dashing TDs than Hurts’ 13. He can chase the massive play an excessive amount of, however then once more, he does have A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith on the market working routes for him.
Everyone is aware of about Herbert’s big arm and skill to drive the ball. But I feel he’s getting higher together with his eye manipulation, too. That matches the arm expertise at this level. He can maintain or transfer defenders very nicely together with his eyes to select aside the protection and discover voids. Some of his key targets have been injured for stretches this season, however he nonetheless threw 25 TD passes and accomplished 68.2% of his throws.
Herbert can generally be a little bit too by-the-book on the market. By that, I imply he has such spectacular soccer sense that he can really undergo progressions too quick. He strikes off issues too rapidly, and a little bit bit extra endurance would possibly permit some receivers to come back open.
Is there a participant dealing with extra strain in these playoffs? I’d go as far as to say there hasn’t been one previously 10 years. Consider how a lot the Ravens lean on him, how essential this efficiency is for his subsequent contract, how a lot he’s betting on himself and the truth that he has now missed 5 video games in every of the previous two seasons. That stated, Jackson is considered one of in all probability 5 gamers who can flat-out take over the postseason together with his expertise when wholesome. This is game-breaking talent of the Super Bowl caliber. His 64.7 QBR is third since being drafted in 2018 amongst lively QBs, behind simply Mahomes and Allen.
But the accidents will likely be an element; he hasn’t performed since early December (knee), and there is nonetheless no assure he performs within the wild-card spherical. I additionally do not belief the Ravens’ aerial offense sufficient within the pass-happy AFC playoffs. If Jackson might throw it to himself, I’d really feel higher, however the lack of go-to vast receivers limits his upside.
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Brady is again within the playoffs once more, and you’ll by no means rely him out. He can nonetheless hit the throws exterior the numbers in one-on-one conditions. But his landing rely dipped by 18 from final season, and his yards per try (6.4) was his lowest in a season since 2002.
The excellent news for Brady? He will get the ball out quick.
The unhealthy information for Brady? He will get the ball out quick.
With poor offensive line safety this season, Brady has prevented strain through the use of the fast recreation, averaging 2.45 seconds earlier than passing (quickest within the NFL). That’s a superb factor, as a result of Brady’s 6.7 QBR underneath strain ranks twenty ninth. But it is also unhealthy as a result of it limits the offense. The Bucs can solely get the ball downfield with play-action, they usually merely do not do it sufficient.
Jones assaults the center of the sphere very well, exhibiting some high-end ball placement. His 75.9% completion price on throws between the hashes ranks second within the NFL. And he has change into a dashing asset for the Giants’ offense, choosing up simply shy of 600 yards together with his toes in 2022.
I do marvel if his “good” is sweet sufficient, although. Can Jones carry the Giants to a string of playoff wins? The supporting solid does not have the identical expertise as different NFC contenders, so Jones must take over at occasions.
Lawrence is enjoying free proper now. He’s a fearless quarterback who will pressure you to defend each single blade of grass on the sphere, vertically and horizontally. His TD-to-INT ratio in his rookie yr was 12-17, however it jumped to 25-8 in 2022. His completion proportion additionally leapt from sub-60% to 66.3%. However, you may nonetheless see some adrenaline-fueled misses. After all, he is nonetheless solely 23 years outdated.
Smith is nearly as good at going via progressions as any of those quarterbacks. He says “no” rapidly when it is not there and strikes on, and he is assured in what his eyes are telling him. That helped him to an NFL-leading 69.8% completion price and the league’s sixth-best QBR (61.1). But he holds the ball a bit too lengthy, which ends up in the next sack rely. He took 46 this season, tied for the third most.
Few quarterbacks have the caliber of supporting solid that Cousins has in Minnesota. That begins with Justin Jefferson, whose presence on the sphere permits him to be extra aggressive. But he is often too aggressive, trusting his eyes an excessive amount of. A streaky quarterback, Cousins has to play to a sure fashion of recreation to achieve success. He helped the Vikings to 13 wins, however his 49.8 QBR was twenty third within the league.
This would possibly look low, however Prescott enters the playoffs contemporary off the worst season of his profession. The ball has simply persistently been within the unsuitable place, and he does not appear to be seeing the sphere clearly. He missed 5 video games earlier within the season, however he nonetheless tied for the league lead in interceptions (15). Prescott has been too fast to go away the pocket, too, not placing sufficient religion within the safety.
But I’ll say this: Prescott is nails on the market. He has an unwavering mentality, and that may go a great distance within the postseason. And his reference to receiver CeeDee Lamb is excellent.
This is not actually a knock. It’s simply an unknown. We have not seen Purdy play sufficient to know what he’ll do within the playoffs. But in his restricted time beginning for the Niners, he has for probably the most half identified the place to go along with the soccer. His eyes are persistently in the correct place. His 65.6 QBR would rank fifth within the league if it certified, and he hasn’t misplaced a recreation but. But how will he deal with the strain of the postseason? What will occur if/when San Francisco finds itself down 14-0?
Thompson is in line to start out within the wild-card spherical with Tua Tagovailoa dominated out. He remains to be very inexperienced as a seventh-round rookie third-stringer, finishing simply 57.1% of his throws throughout seven video games (two begins) and averaging 5.1 yards per try. But he has some mobility and explosive arm energy. The ball pops off his hand as a thrower, although he usually is overly aggressive and must weave in a little bit extra contact on a few of his passes.
Others who might play
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: Tagovailoa is out for the wild-card spherical however might play in some unspecified time in the future if Miami advances. His 68.5 QBR ranked third this season, and he sees issues earlier than they occur. He can throw over or round defenders nearly as good as anybody within the league, and he has been very environment friendly in his breakout yr, averaging 8.9 yards per try (first within the NFL).
Teddy Bridgewater, Miami Dolphins: Bridgewater is instinctive and aggressive — but not careless — with the soccer. He remains to be coping with a dislocated pinkie on his throwing hand.
Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens: Huntley is an effective rhythmic passer, and whereas he is not Jackson, he nonetheless brings some dashing means. We are nonetheless ready on affirmation that Jackson will play within the wild-card spherical.
Anthony Brown, Baltimore Ravens: Brown is likely to be compelled into motion if each Jackson and Huntley cannot play within the wild-card spherical. The undrafted rookie has accomplished simply 44.9% of his throws throughout two video games and has but to throw a TD cross.