(Rankings will be updated throughout the week)
QB Player Rankings – Playoffs Week 2
New Orleans @ San Francisco – Saturday, Jan. 14th – 4:30pm ET (FOX)
Denver @ New England – Saturday, Jan. 14th – 8:00pm ET (CBS)
Houston @ Baltimore – Sunday, Jan. 15th – 1:00pm ET (CBS)
New York Giants @ Green Bay – Sunday, Jan. 15th – 4:30pm ET (FOX)
Quarterbacks (Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 10 - 06:08PM CT)
1. Aaron Rodgers (vs. NYG – Sunday, 4:30pm ET) – Let the title defense begin! I’m not going to say this is an easy game for the Packers to win, but Rodgers will certainly be primed for some serious fantasy numbers after getting a few weeks of rest along with having his favorite receiver, Greg Jennings, back in the lineup. The Giants may have done well to shut Matty Ice and the Falcons down last weekend, but don’t count on lightning striking twice as Rodgers has already burned New York once this year (Week 13) for 369 yards and four TDs and should be able to do it again.
2. Drew Brees (@ SF – Saturday, 4:30pm ET) – With the roll Cool Brees has been on for the past, oh, maybe two months—it was tough for me not to put him in the top slot this weekend. However, the Saints will be the away team in San Fran this Saturday where the 49ers not only lost just one game during the 2011 season (in OT no less), but they also only gave up eight passing touchdowns at home as well. That being said, it IS possible to pass on this ‘Niners defense—as shown by the four 300-yard games they allowed this year—though it won’t be as easy of a task as it was in the Detroit game last weekend.
3. Eli Manning (@ GB – Sunday, 4:30pm ET) – Not too shabby of a start to the post-season for Mr. Manning last weekend, eh? His 277 yards and three touchdowns in his first ever home playoff win were pretty impressive, especially when you consider that Atlanta had given up three or more TDs in a game just twice during the regular season. This weekend he’ll be going up against the league’s worst pass defense in the Green Bay Packers, a team he already scorched earlier in the season (albeit at home in a Giants loss) for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Is it possible he does it again on Sunday? Absolutely, and maybe even more likely than not if New York ends up playing catch-up all game long.
4. Tom Brady (vs. Den – Saturday, 8:00pm ET) – The first time the Patriots and Broncos hooked up this season was about a month ago in Week 15 when Brady threw for 320 yards and two TDs en route to a New England 41-23 win. The Stetson Man—just to show Tebow that anyone can do it, I believe—decided to rush for a touchdown as well giving him three total TDs on the day. I don’t think he’ll try running one in this time around, but playing at home where Brady has thrown for no less than two TDs in a playoff game since 2004, I’m guessing he’ll have no problem putting up three TDs again…this time with all of them coming through the air.
5. Tim Tebow (@ NE – Saturday, 8:00pm ET) – The legend that is Tim Tebow keeps on growing and growing and honestly, I don’t see an end in sight. Last weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the Broncos playing as an underdog at home, the polarizing QB threw for “John 3:16” yards and two TDs (zero INTs) beating the Steel Crew on the first play from scrimmage in overtime, 29-23. Tebow truly has become a weekly case of real life being more interesting than fiction—an ongoing bible of miraculous stories taking place every seventh day before our very eyes. This Saturday, however, might be even more interesting than ever as Tebow will face the a Patriots team that brought doubters back into his life just four weeks ago when the Broncos started their three-game losing skid to end the season. In that game, Timmy threw for 194 yards and no TDs, though he slightly made up for it by rushing for 93 yards and two TDs. What he’ll do in this one is anybody’s guess, but considering the Patriots had the second-worst pass defense during the regular season, nothing Tebow does will surprise me—well, maybe not.
6. Alex Smith (vs. NO – Saturday, 4:30pm ET) – Smith will never be mistaken for a gun-slinger, but he may have to play the role of one this Saturday if the 49ers want to win this game. The 49ers defense is so good that they should be able to slow the Saints down on occasion, but they certainly won’t be able to do it all game, and maybe not even for just the first half. The Saints will undoubtedly challenge San Fran to beat them through the air, which Smith will have to do at some point in the game if the ‘Niners get down. If that happens—and I expect it will—Alex could very well end up being the ninth QB to throw for 300 yards on the Saints this season, even if he hasn’t hit that mark since Week 5…of 2010!
7. Joe Flacco (vs. Hou – Sunday, 1:00pm ET) – Back in Week 6 of the regular season, Flacco became the second…and last quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against the Texans in 2011. Since then, Houston’s defense has been nearly impenetrable as they ended up being a top-three defense in nearly every aspect of the game. Joe may have an arm of the Gods, but he won’t be throwing for 300 yards again, even if the Ravens are playing at home where both Joe and his team played better at all season long. I expect this game to be played mostly on the ground, but Flacco should be able to squeak out around 200 yards and maybe a touchdown or two.
8. T.J. Yates (@ Bal – Sunday, 1:00pm ET) – I like Yates as a QB. He has great poise for kid his age and plays like he has something to prove—which he might seeing that he wasn’t taken until the fifth round of the draft last season. However, my admiration for him won’t do anything for his chances against the Baltimore Ravens defense this weekend. Not only did the Ravens allow the least amount of touchdown passes this season (11, second-least was 15), but they were also one of only four teams in the league not to allow a rushing TD by a QB as well. Basically, look for the Texans to give Yates a front row seat to the Foster-Tate RB show in their offensive game-plan this Sunday.
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