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Ranking all 14 NFL Playoff quarterbacks, from Ben Roethlisberger to Aaron Rodgers

Vincent Frank

As we have seen throughout the years, quarterbacks determine which teams advance deep into the NFL Playoffs and to the Super Bowl.

That’s going to be no different in 2022. Future Hall of Famers lead some top contenders while young guns are starting to make noise. There’s also a small list of embattled signal callers with a ton to prove.

With the NFL Playoffs starting here soon, it’s time for Sportsnaut to rank the 14 starting quarterbacks currently in the dance.

Related: NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steeers

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: ben roethlisberger
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Taking part in what will be his final playoffs, it’s safe to say that Big Ben is the worst of the 14 starting quarterbacks slated to take to the field this weekend. It’s not a knock on Roethlisberger. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion and a future first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s just hit that proverbial wall every quarterback crashes into outside of Tom Brady. Big Ben put it best when discussing where his team stands heading into the NFL Playoffs.

“We probably aren’t supposed to be here. We’re probably not a very good football team,” Ben Roethlisberger told reporters this week. “Out of 14 teams that are in, I think we’re probably at No. 14. We’re double-digit underdogs in the playoffs. So let’s just go play and have fun and see what happens.”

13. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: jalen hurts
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On the other end of the spectrum, Hurts will be making his first ever start in the NFL Playoffs Sunday afternoon against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no real reason to believe that a 9-8 team will be able to head into Tampa and win.

However, Hurts turned things around big time as a sophomore. He tallied nearly 4,000 total yards in 16 starts. The former Heisman finalist at Oklahoma now has to be seen as a franchise-caliber quarterback in Philadelphia. Whether that leads to success this weekend remains to be seen.

Related: Top NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

12. Mac Jones, New England Patriots

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: mac jones
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Jones is coming off one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in modern NFL history. That’s not hyperbole. It’s right up there with what a then-young Russell Wilson did with the Seattle Seahawks all the way back in 2012.

There is some concern heading into a huge playoff matchup with the division rival Buffalo Bills in Western New York Saturday evening. Jones threw just six touchdowns against six interceptions in eight road starts during the regular season. He also threw for 164 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in two games against these Bills.

11. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: jimmy garoppolo
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Statistically, Garoppolo just wasn’t that good during the regular season. Even the most subjective Jimmy GQ stan would admit that. Prior to leading the 49ers back in a playoff-clinching win over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 18, he had almost thrown the game away with two ugly interceptions.

With all of that said, Garoppolo has proven over and over again that he’s a winner. Since joining the 49ers midway through the 2017 season, he’s 33-15 as a starting quarterback, playoffs included. All other starters during the Kyle Shanahan era are 8-26. That’s crazy!

Related: Bold predictions for 49ers-Cowboys NFL Wild Card Game

10. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: derek carr
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all of the criticism Carr receives, the three-time Pro Bowler just continues to play good football. Equally as important, he’s been a true leader for a surprising Raiders team that dealt with some crazy off-field situations during the regular season. To be able to lead this team to the playoffs with that as a backdrop tells us a lot about Carr.

Recently, the veteran is playing some of his best football. In leading Vegas to a 4-0 record to close out the regular season, the Fresno State product proved that he has what it takes to head a playoff team. Will that continue Saturday afternoon on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals?

9. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: ryan tannehill
George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The absense of Derrick Henry hurt this former NFL Comeback Player of the Year in a big way. Without a dominant rushing attack, Tannehill struggled with the Titans’ offense relying more on him. The quarterback threw 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 89.0 rating in the nine games Henry missed.

The good news? King Henry will be back in the mix for the divisional round after Tennessee earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC. With Henry in the mix the past two seasons, this former college wide receiver threw 55 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 26 starts.

Related: Ranking NFL defenses heading into the playoffs

8. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: kyler murray
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Having missed three games to injury during the regular season, Murray didn’t necessarily progress from his sophomore campaign. In fact, he accounted for nine less touchdowns for a loaded Cardinals team that finished outside of the top 10 in scoring.

There’s certainly a caveat here, too. Murray was without star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the final four games of the regular season. He was also limited in two other outings. That’s a huge loss for the young quarterback. Having thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions in as many games against the Rams during the regular season, the time is now for Murray to step up.

7. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: matthew stafford
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all of his brilliance for the NFC West champion Rams in his first season with the team, Stafford actually led the league with 17 interceptions. That could very well come into play with his Rams set to take on the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL’s first Monday Night Football playoff game.

As for his recent performance, Stafford has thrown eight touchdowns against eight interceptions in his past four starts. He was also under duress big time from the San Francisco 49ers in Los Angeles’ Week 18 loss. These two things must change against the Cards.

Related: NFL MVP odds

6. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: joe burrow
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

If it weren’t for Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, we’d be talking about this sophomore quarterback as a potential NFL MVP candidate. In fact, Burrow should get some play. He’s helped Cincinnati turn it around from cellar dwellar to legit conference title contender in just two seasons. It’s crazy.

Working with likely NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow dominated toward the end of the regular season. Prior to sitting out Week 18, the former No. 1 pick completed 76% of his passes for 1,476 yards with 11 touchdowns and zero inteerceptions for 134.9 passer rating in his previous four starts. Sweet Moses!

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: dak prescott
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Dak joins Burrow as the likeliest NFL Comeback Player of the Year after suffering a devastating lower-body injury last season. What he’s been able to do for a championship-contending Cowboys team has been otherworldly.

Set to take on what promises to be a game San Francisco 49ers team in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs, Prescott turned around some earlier-season struggles to close out the regular year strong. That included accounting for 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions while leading the Cowboys to two 50-burgers in their final three games. Insanity!

Related: Bold predictions for Patriots-Bills NFL Wild Card Game

4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

ranking nfl quarterbacks: josh allen
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
  • Josh Allen stats: 63.3% completion, 4,407 yards, 763 rushing yards, 42 TD, 15 INT, 92.2 rating

Dual-threat. That’s the best way to describe the still young 25-year-old Allen. He’s taken over for Lamar Jackson as the best multi-use quarterback in the NFL. And in reality, it’s not too close. Buffalo’s offense also relies on Allen to perform well more than any other quarterback in the NFL not named Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

He’s more than lived up to those lofty expectations. However, there’s also been a level of inconsistency here. Back in Week 17 against a bad Falcons team, Allen threw zero touchdowns while being intercepted three times. That game also saw him record 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. What version of Allen will we get Saturday evening against a dominant Patriots defense?

3. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: patrick mahomes
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

By his standards, Mahomes had a down 2021 season. The former NFL and Super Bowl MVP threw more touchdowns (13) than the previous two seasons combined. He also turned the ball over an alarming 17 times when you include fumbles.

The good news for the two-time defending AFC champs heading into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Mahomes has picked it up big time recently. The dude is completing 71% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and one interception over the course of his past five starts. Watch out, “Steel Curtain.”

Related: Ranking all 14 NFL Playoff teams

2. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: tom brady
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We no longer have expletives to explain what Brady continues to do at the ripe age of 44. Brady led all NFL quarterbacks in completions (485), attempts (719), passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43). That’s the NFL’s version of the Triple Crown.

Tampa Bay should have a relatively easy go at it against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday as it looks to repeat as champs. It’s what the seven-time Super Bowl champion does moving forward in the playoffs that will likely add to his legacy.

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1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

ranking nfl playoff quarterbacks: aaron rodgers
Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

How in the world can Rodgers be ranked ahead of Brady? Well, it’s rather simple. We’re talking about the 2021 season, not their entire careers. If that’s how these rankings were done, Ben Roethlisberger wouldn’t bring up the rear.

Simply put, Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL today. He led the league with an absurd 111.9 passer rating during the regular season while throwing a mere seven interceptions on 531 attempts. Whether it’s the San Francisco 49ers or Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Divisional Playoffs, said team is going to have a terrible time taking on Rodgers and Co. at Lambeau Field.

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