NFL News: Fab Four Future Hall of Fame QB’s Battling for Super Bowl
Big Guns Ready to Fire
They say that quarterback is the most important position in sports and based on who’s left in the postseason, it’s tough to argue the point. Sure, a top-notch NHL goalie can steal a game, a superstar NBA sniper is a game-changer, and a world-class Major League starting pitcher can change the course of a game. However, there is no position in any sport that can impact a season more than the man under center in the NFL.
If we take a quick glance at the Super Bowl odds, we see the following:
Kansas City Chiefs (+200)
Green Bay Packers (+400)
Buffalo Bills (+500)
New Orleans Saints (+550)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)
Baltimore Ravens (+700)
Los Angeles Rams (+2000)
Cleveland Browns (+2500)
All of these teams, except the LA Rams, have a top-tier quarterback leading the charge but three of them have been doing it for decades, while the fourth has been nothing short of spectacular since he burst onto the NFL stage four years ago. Assuming injuries do not derail his stellar career, he will likely join his three older contemporaries in Canton several years from now.
With all due respect to a burgeoning superstar in Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Baltimore’s 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, and an ever-improving Baker Mayfield bringing postseason glory to Cleveland’s Dawg Pound, none reside in the rarified air occupied by the Bucs’ Tom Brady, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, the Saints’ Drew Brees, and the defending Super Bowl champions’ resident gunslinger, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.
Considering the elite talent still standing in the pocket after 17 weeks of the regular season and the first round of playoffs in our rearview mirror, let’s gaze into our crystal ball and see which teams emerge from the divisional round this weekend and advance into the conference championships.
Divisional Round Matchups
Saturday, January 16th, 2021 at 4:35 PM – Rams at Packers
This is a game between the haves and the have-nots if we are talking purely about the quarterbacks leading these respective teams. Aaron Rodgers has been playing like a man possessed all season long and some speculate that the spark that lit the flame under the two-time MVP and Super Bowl XLV champion was something his bosses did before the season even began.
At age 37, the Packers’ brass decided it was time to find an heir-apparent and expended a first-round pick on Utah State’s quarterback, Jordan Love. Reports are that Rodgers didn’t appreciate the team planning for the future instead of providing more weapons for the present. Ironically, he was in the same position at the start of his career after being selected in the first round of the 2005 draft with the legendary Brett Favre still playing at a high level.
Rodgers is the overwhelming favorite to win this year’s MVP and it will be a tall task for the Rams to overcome the disparity in talent between him and their young quarterback, Jared Goff. LA’s tough-as-nails defense is the only way the Rams contain the wizardry of Aaron Rodgers and his talented offense.
Saturday, January 16th, 2021 at 8:15 PM – Ravens at Bills
What a difference a year makes. At this time last year if these teams faced off everyone would be singing the praises of Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson who was wreaking havoc through the air and on the ground. On the flip side, Josh Allen was a big kid with plenty of firepower in his arm but lacking the requisite decision-making skills to truly be an impact player.
Fast forward to right now and we see that Allen is one of the most improved players in the league and has honed his playmaking skills to a razor-sharp point. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson has shown glimpses of the explosive speed and mental acuity that made him unstoppable last year but defensive coordinators clearly spent plenty of time reviewing game tape on him and have devised ways to slow him down.
Believe it or not, the Bills have the slight edge under center and own a better defense to boot. Watch Buffalo move into a conference championship date with the Chiefs when the day is done.
Sunday, January 17th, 2021 at 3:05 PM – Browns at Chiefs As long as we are focused on quarterbacks, it doesn’t get much better than Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. He has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal and it will be virtually impossible for the upstart Browns to match them touchdown for touchdown.
The Browns have had their day in the sun and not only notched their first playoff berth since 2002 but defeated their bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the opening round. That’s more than even their most devoted fans could have dreamt. Their exit from the playoffs this weekend will be bittersweet but their performance this year will provide plenty of hope for next season.
Sunday, January 17th, 2021 at 6:40 PM – Bucs vs. Saints This will be the third time this season we have seen two surefire, first-ballot, future Hall-of-Famers square up and face off. Tom Brady, the man many call the undisputed greatest quarterback of all time, will try for redemption after dropping both regular-season contests to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
This is the marquee matchup of the weekend and despite the Bucs being installed as three-point road underdogs, we expect to see Tom Terrific triumph in this pivotal playoff tilt while Drew Brees hangs up the cleats after 20 sensational seasons.
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