Sporting WCA


  1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Brady is the clear choice for #1 QB headed into the 2018 Postseason. His 100+ QB Rating and 4:1 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions is once again at the top of the NFL passing leaderboards. He has taken his team to the promised land five times and led his team to a sharp 13-3 record in 2017. With his level of playoff experience surrounded by the familiar faces of Head Coach Bill Belichick and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, it’s hard to picture a scenario where the Patriots don’t at least play for an AFC Championship in 2018.

  1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

The Saints offense in 2017 featured something that New Orleans hasn’t seen in quite some time: a power running game. Coupled with rookie sensation Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees and the Saints finished 2017 strongly with a record of 11-5. For the first time, Drew Brees didn’t have to do it all, but he could’ve if he needed to. He completed a league-high 72 percent of his passes and more than 4300 yards. The Saints rode Brees to a Super Bowl in 2009, but have made the playoffs in only three of the eight seasons since.

  1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger received his high ranking for a few reasons: his playoff experience and the return of Antonio Brown. Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the Super Bowl in 2008 and has a 13-7 playoff record during his career. The Steelers have perhaps the two most explosive offensive players in the NFL, and when both healthy, they can be all but unstoppable. Le’Veon Bell has heated up after a slow start resulting from his contract dispute that caused him to miss training camp, and Antonio Brown will be back to playing again after tearing his calf in Week 15. Ben Roethlisberger will not have to be everything for the Steelers in the playoffs, but he has to get the ball in the hands of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown so that they can make the plays that will carry the Steelers through the playoffs.

  1. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

After emerging as the early-season NFL favorites when they went 5-0 and beat the eventual playoff #1 seeds for both conferences, the Chiefs endured a mid-season drought where they went 1-6 against the easiest competition their schedule would see. This seven-game stretch featured questionable defense, yes, but the offense was just as suspect. They finished with a record of 10-6 as Quarterback Alex Smith piled up the best numbers of his career. A better than 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 4,000 yard passing season have been obscured by the Chiefs’ lack of ability to get it done when it comes to crunch time. Head Coach Andy Reid has been known for playoff collapses, but Chiefs’ offensive weapons should surely be too much for the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card.

  1. Jared Goff, Los Angeles

The Rams finally put it all together in their second season in Los Angeles. The offense was clicking all season, averaging a league-high 28.9 points per game as Jared Goff had the best season of young career. He had a 100.5 QBR and threw 28 touchdown passes to match with just 7 interceptions and 3,800 yards. The Rams won the NFC West with a record of 11-5, but Goff’s lack of playoff experience may be an issue as a young Rams team will be looking for something to lean on as they head into the vast unknown that is the NFL Playoffs. The youth may struggle as they face the likes of Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, both of whom have led their teams to deep playoff runs in the past.

  1. Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings

The former Rams and Texans quarterback finally found a system to thrive in when he went to Minnesota this year. He led his team to a record of 13-3 as he threw for 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns while giving up only 7 interceptions. The Vikings’ passing game is complemented by young running back Jerick McKinnon, who finished the season with just under 1,000 total yards. Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph, will all be weapons in the divisional round after the Vikings enjoy a first-round bye.

  1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

After a year in which he won the MVP and lead his team to the Super Bowl, the expectations were high for Matty Ice, but he failed to reach them. Matt Ryan once again threw for 4,000 yards, but he only managed 20 touchdowns, the fewest since his rookie season 12 interceptions, almost twice as many as last year. Even with Ryan’s lackluster performance, the Falcons managed a 10-6 record. The team will lean on Ryan and the amazing arsenal of offensive weapons that he has this postseason. In order for the Falcons to make a deep run into the playoffs, Ryan will have to get star wide receiver Julio Jones more involved in the passing attack and continue to control the time of possession with running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Matty Ice has a lot of playoff experience as does the rest of his team they will be going up against a Rams team that is making their first playoff appearance since 2004. Plus with the added motivation factor of blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl last year, the Falcons have a chance to Upset the LA Rams.

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton finds himself in another year facing the same circumstances. This year Newton has struggled with his accuracy in the passing game as evidenced by his paltry 59.1% completion percentage. He threw for 3,302 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He has once again underperformed as a passer. But what makes Newton special is his ability as a dual-threat quarterback. Standing at 6’6” and weighing 240 pounds, Newton is a force in goal-line situations and has rushed for 754 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2017. He also has valuable playoff experience; he has played in seven playoff games including his one Super Bowl appearance which occurred in 2015. With Cam’s struggles in the passing game and the lack of consistent weapons outside of Greg Olsen, this is the highest rank Cam Newton could receive, especially as he will be going against a very good New Orleans Saints defense on Sunday.

  1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles has often been ripped for his performance as an NFL quarterback, and after last year’s abysmal season in which he constantly blew games for the Jaguars, Bortles didn’t really do much better this year as he threw for 21 TDs and 3,687 yards along with 13 interceptions. These are average numbers, but luckily it was enough because Bortles is backed by one of the greatest defenses of all time. Throughout this season, the Jaguars’ quarterback has seemed at times not to have the trust of his coaches as they are very hesitant to let him make throws downfield. This makes the Jaguars offense very easy to plan for as they are looking to run the ball with star rookie running back Leonard Fournette. In order for the Jaguars to make a legit run in the playoffs, Blake Bortles needs to take his game to the next level.

  1. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

After being thrust into the starting lineup due to an injury to MVP candidate Carson Wentz, Nick Foles has had some big shoes to fill. In three games as a starter this year, Foles threw for five touchdowns and two interceptions, amassing 537 yards over 7 games in total.  Carson Wentz was the heart and soul of this Eagles team that won 14 games. Foles this year has been solid but not great for the Eagles. He has struggled to build chemistry with star receiver Alshon Jeffery and he has no significant playoff experience as a starting quarterback. However, the Eagles have enough talent so that he doesn’t have to carry the team completely. But, if they are to be serious Super Bowl contenders, it comes down to what Foles does and he will need to step up in a huge way.

  1. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor is a solid NFL QB who always seems to be thrown under the bus by his coaches in Buffalo. Part of why Taylor is so low on the list is because the Bills could be without star running back LeSean McCoy, and even with him, the Bills have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. The Bills have been unable to move the ball vertically through the air throughout the entire season, and that has hurt them. The Bills defense is not good enough to win games on their own. This could be a huge issue as the Bills face the historically great Jaguars defense featuring their top notch secondary in a first-round Wild Card Matchup.

  1. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

The hype was huge for Marcus Mariota going into his third year, but he failed to produce the numbers that many were expecting him to. Mariota threw 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this year for a total of 3,332 yards. He also ran for 5 touchdowns. Mariota was hurt for almost the entire season, and it showed in his performance. He was limited in the run game and was kept in the pocket where he consistently looked uncomfortable and was ineffective. Mariota has no playoff experience and is going up against a Chiefs team that can turn any game into a shootout, which doesn’t bode well for a power running team that doesn’t score a lot of points to win games.