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Top 10 players remaining in the NFL Playoffs

Heading into the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, some of the game’s biggest stars still stand. Most of these players will have a huge impact on the outcome of this weekend’s action as eight teams vie for a spot in Championship Sunday.

Two relatively young quarterbacks will be going up against one another in Western New York. Both rank among the 10-best players remaining in the NFL Playoffs. Let’s find out about those two and the rest below.

10. Ja’Marr Chase, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

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Despite missing five games to injury, Chase continued to dominate as a sophomore. Including the first round of the NFL Playoffs, this former LSU star has caught seven passes or more in nine consecutive games. This span has seen him haul in 71 passes for 837 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s simply sensational.

There are two issues holding Chase back from being ranked higher on this list. He’s dropped 22 passes in 29 career games. Meanwhile, Joe Burrow has thrown 10 interceptions in two seasons when targeting Chase. That equates to a 3.8% interception rate compared to a 2.0% for Burrow’s career. This could be something to watch in the divisional round against the Buffalo Bills.

Related: NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl predictions

9. Zack Martin, guard, Dallas Cowboys

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How good has Martin been throughout his career? The former Notre Dame standout has made an All-Pro team eight times in his nine-year career, including five first-team honors. The only exception here was back in 2020 when he missed six games due to a calf injury.

Heading into the NFL Playoffs, Martin had yielded zero quarterback pressures during the regular season. He’s one of the reasons Dak Prescott was sacked a mere 20 times in 12 games. That will be put to the test against Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense during Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoffs.

8. Joe Burrow, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

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Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite putting up an historical career at LSU and being seen as a generational quarterback prospect leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, Burrow has not failed to live up expectations. The quarterback had a great individual rookie season going before suffering a torn ACL 10 games in. He then led Cincinnati to a shocking Super Bowl appearance as a sophomore.

This season has been no worst. The Bengals head into Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoffs having won nine consecutive games. This span has seen Burrow compile 20 touchdowns against six interceptions. Forget about being one of the best players remaining in the NFL Playoffs, Burrow will soon also become one of the highest-paid.

Related: Ranking remaining head coaches in the NFL Playoffs

7. Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Travis Kelce stats (2022): 110 receptions, 1,338 yards, 12 TD, 72.4% completion

Already considered a future Hall of Famer, Kelce finished his 10th regular season ranked fourth all-time among tight ends with 814 career receptions and 10,344 yards. He’s pretty much been a dynamo since the former Cincinnati star missed all but one game during his rookie season back in 2013.

This past regular season saw Kelce post career-highs in both receptions and touchdowns. It was much-needed help for a Chiefs team that had traded star wide receiver Tyreek Hill the previous spring. Kelce has a real opportunity to etch his name in stone during Saturday’s NFL Divisional Playoff matchup against a Jaguars defense that yielded a 72% completion mark and 1,066 yards to tight ends during the regular season.

6. Stefon Diggs, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills

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  • Stefon Diggs stats (2022): 108 receptions, 1,429 yards, 11 TD, 70.1% catch rate

Since joining Buffalo in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2020, Diggs has been an awe-inspiring figure in Western New York. In his three seasons with the Bills, this Pro Bowl receiver has hauled in 338 catches for 4,189 yards and 29 touchdowns. He’s one of the primary reasons Sean McDermott has turned this once dormant franchise into a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

A suddently turnover-prone Josh Allen (more on that later) will be relying a great deal on Diggs to do his thing against an overmatched Bengals cornerback grouping during the NFL Playoffs on Sunday. Allen boasted an absurd 120.8 QB rating when targeting Diggs in the regular year.

Related: NFL defense rankings heading into the divisional round

5. Trent Williams, offensive tackle, San Francisco 49ers

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It’s still stunning that San Francisco was able to acquire this future first ballott Hall of Famer from Washington for a third-and-fifth-round pick during the 2020 NFL Draft. Williams earned a Pro Bowl spot in each of his final seven seasons in Maryland. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler with two consecutive First-Team All-Pro honors in San Francisco. For good reason.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams finished as the No. 1 left tackle in the NFL during the regular season. He was the league’s top run blocker from the position and allowed a single sack in 871 snaps. San Francisco will be relying on this dominance with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy starting against the hated Cowboys Sunday afternoon.

4. Micah Parsons, EDGE, Dallas Cowboys

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  • Micah Parsons stats (2022): 65 tackles (14 for loss), 27 QB hits, 13.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

Over the course of his first two NFL seasons, Parsons has been an absolute menace for opposing quarterbacks. He racked up 30 QB hits, 20 tackles for loss and 13 sacks en route to earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2021. The Penn State product’s raw athleticism has been too much for offensive linemen to handle thus far in the pros.

It also appears that Parsons has returned to form in the NFL Playoffs after struggling to conclude the regular year. He put up two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, a pass defended and a sack in last week’s blowout 31-14 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas will need much of the same Sunday against a 49ers offense that is averaging 36 points over the past seven games.

3. Nick Bosa, EDGE, San Francisco 49ers

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  • Nick Bosa stats (2022): 41 tackles (18 for loss), 48 QB hits, 18.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Bosa led the NFL with 48 quarterback hits and 18.5 sacks during the regular season. He tied with the aforementioned Parsons for the most total pressures with 90. He also ranks first in the NFL Playoffs with 35 total pressures since entering the league back in 2019. For those counting, that’s an average of six pressures per game.

Given what Dak Prescott did against the Buccaneers last weekend (five total touchdwns), San Francisco will need a big game from Bosa if it is going to win a 12th consecutive game and earn yet another appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Related: Ranking QB rankings heading into divisional round

2. Josh Allen, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

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We still have Allen as No. 2 on our list of the top-10 players remaining in this year’s NFL Playoffs. But it’s pretty tenuous given his turnover issues over the past several weeks. Allen committed three giveaways in last week’s ugly three-point win over the Miami Dolphins and third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson. He’s now turned the ball over a whopping 16 times over the past 11 games.

With that said, we can’t ignore what Allen brings to the table from a tools perspective. He’s put up north of 5,000 total yards in each of the past two seasons. Buffalo is 25-9 during that span. It finished the regular season with the top-ranked scoring offense in the NFL. All the while, Allen is the best dual-threat signal caller in the game. A turnover here and there doesn’t impact that fact.

1. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

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The likely NFL MVP for the second time in his career, Mahomes is on an island all by himself. It’s not necessarily that close. Here’s a dude who has racked up 23,957 passing yards with 192 touchdowns and just 48 interceptions in his first five seasons as a starter.

To put this into perspective, it took all-time great quarterback Joe Montana nine seasons as a starter to hit 189 passing touchdowns. Sure the eras are different, but that goes to show us how dominant Mahomes has been from a statistical perspective. It’s now all about overcoming struggles in the NFL Playoffs over the past two seasons. That starts Saturday afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars.