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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / NFL 2021 Quarterback Power Rankings heading into Divisional Round

NFL 2021 Quarterback Power Rankings heading into Divisional Round

Quarterback Power Rankings after Wild Card Weekend
Publish Date: 01/14/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

You all know the deal at this point. I produce weekly Quarterback Power Rankings for your mindless entertainment. Only 12 teams suited up this past weekend, but I still wanted to throw something together for a final playoff Quarterback Power Rankings. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers make appearances, even though they didn’t play in the Wild Card Round.

I won’t make another ranking after the Divisional Round because we’ll only see eight teams in action. The rankings wouldn’t change much at that point anyway.

Thanks for sticking with me throughout this hectic season, and make sure you check out the upcoming draft content!

1. Aaron Rodgers DNP

Last week’s ranking: 1

Rodgers finished the 2020 regular season with a hot hand, leading the Green Bay Packers to six consecutive wins. The soon-to-be three-time MVP didn’t have the best Divisional Round performance last season, but Green Bay still topped Seattle. Rodgers is 2-1 when entering the Divisional Round after a bye.

2. Josh Allen 26/35 324 yards, two touchdowns, 54 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 2

For the most part, Allen had his way with Indianapolis’ defense. The 24-year-old carried Buffalo’s offense to a 27-24 win as the Colts smothered Buffalo’s running game. Allen choked in the playoffs last year, posting a 69.5 passer rating in a loss to Houston. In one year, Allen has completely re-written the narrative surrounding his career.

3. Patrick Mahomes DNP

Last week’s ranking: 3

Mahomes hasn’t played since Kansas City’s Dec. 27 matchup against Atlanta in Week 16. The reigning Super Bowl MVP struggled in his final four regular season games, throwing eight touchdowns to four interceptions while only completing 60.0% of his attempts. This is the third year in a row that Kansas City skipped right to the Divisional Round. Mahomes is 2-0 in those matchups.

4. Tom Brady 22/40 381 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 5

Who would’ve guessed that Brady is good in the playoffs? In the first Wild Card game of his career, Brady picked apart Washington’s defense for 31 points. He posted a 104.3 passer rating as Tampa Bay’s entire offense put on a clinic. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a rematch against the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. New Orleans leads the series 2-0 this season.

5. Lamar Jackson 17/24 179 yards, one interception, 136 yards, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 14

Jackson is never going to be the quarterback that throws for 300 yards in a big game. He’s not going to throw the ball 40 times, and he doesn’t have to in Baltimore’s offense. The reigning MVP amassed 315 yards as the Ravens upset Mike Vrabel’s team in Nashville. Next week, Baltimore faces the challenge of matching Buffalo’s high-scoring offense.

6. Baker Mayfield 21/34 263 yards, three touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 15

After struggling against a defense loaded with Pittsburgh’s backups in Week 17, Mayfield turned around seven days later and punished the Steelers. The third-year quarterback joined Allen and Jackson as members of the 2018 draft class that picked up their first playoff wins this weekend. Mayfield posted a 115.2 passer rating as the Cleveland Browns throttled the Steelers at Heinz Field.

7. Drew Brees 28/39 265 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 11

The Chicago Bears did a good job of slowing down Brees’ offense. The Saints scored 14 of their 21 points in the second half as Chicago’s defense grew tired. Brees took advantage of what Chicago gave him, completing 71.79% of his throws for a 107.3 passer rating. If the Saints stay healthy, they could give Tampa Bay’s defense fits next week.

8. Philip Rivers 27/46 309 yards, two touchdowns

Last week’s ranking: 20

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich wants Rivers back for the 2021 season. The 39-year-old quarterback played surprisingly well on Saturday, throwing for over 300 yards for the fourth time this season. Indy’s running game helped put the Colts within a field goal of forcing overtime as the fourth quarter ticked away, but Rivers’ performance stood out more.

9. Taylor Heinicke 26/44 306 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 46 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown

Last week’s ranking: Unranked

Before starting in the Wild Card Round against Brady’s Buccaneers, Heinicke was working on his college degree. The 27-year-old Old Dominion product hadn’t started a game since he opened Week 16 of the 2018 season in place of Cam Newton for Carolina. Heinicke threw three interceptions in that game. He performed significantly better on Saturday, carrying Washington’s offense and giving the team a chance at forcing overtime.

10. Ryan Tannehill 18/26 165 yards, one touchdown, one interception

Last week’s ranking: 7

Tannehill was one of the six or seven best quarterbacks during the regular season, but he had a strange outing against Baltimore. The former Pro Bowler completed 69.23% of his pass attempts, but a late-game interception (on which the wide receiver fell down) sealed Tennessee’s fate. The Titans opened the game with some good looks for A.J. Brown, but the running game never got going. Eventually, the passing game ground to a halt.

11. Russell Wilson 11/27 174 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 50 rushing yards

Last week’s ranking: 6

The Seattle Seahawks and Wilson looked hopeless against Los Angeles’ defense. Seattle’s offense looked suspect entering the playoffs, but I assumed that things would come together when they needed to. Instead, Wilson had his worst completion percentage this season (40.74%) and second-worst passer rating (72.1). The Rams sacked Wilson five times as coverage blanketed Seattle’s receivers for most of the game.

12. Mitchell Trubisky 19/29 199 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 29

Trubisky’s future hangs in the balance after the Bears suffered a 21-9 loss to the Saints. His only touchdown came as time expired, although he did have another potential score that Javon Wims let slip through his fingertips. If that was Trubisky’s last game for Chicago, it was a fitting end to his roller-coaster time with the organization.

13. Jared Goff 9/19 155 yards, one touchdown

Last week’s ranking: 21

John Wolford went 3/6 for 29 yards before Jamal Adams’ shoulder collided with the backup quarterback’s helmet. Wolford went to the hospital for evaluation, forcing Goff into the game. At most two weeks removed from surgery on his throwing thumb, Goff posted a 93.1 passer rating against a Seahawks defense that tormented him in Week 16.

It wasn’t pretty, but the man had three screws in his thumb. The Los Angeles Rams couldn’t have asked for much more than what they got.

14. Ben Roethlisberger 47/68 501 yards, four touchdowns, four interceptions

Last week’s ranking: 10

I could’ve made a legitimate argument for ranking Roethlisberger ahead of Goff and Trubisky, but the pain of Sunday night’s performance is still fresh. Roethlisberger came out slow, and the wheels didn’t start turning in his head until the third quarter. From the first snap of the game, where he didn’t even make an attempt at covering up a loose ball, to his career-high fourth interception in a playoff game, Roethlisberger performed poorly. He and the Steelers can’t take another year of this.

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