NFC Playoff Picture: Power Ranking Each Team's Starting Quarterback

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IDecember 31, 2012

The playoff picture is set.

Atlanta is the No. 1 seed, San Francisco is No. 2, Green Bay is No. 3, Washington is No. 4, Seattle is No. 5 and Minnesota secured the No. 6 seed.

Only one of these teams feature a quarterback with multiple playoff wins, and four quarterbacks on these rosters will be making their playoff debut under center.

Yet, some of these inexperienced QB's have been among the NFL's best all season.

Quarterback play means so much in the postseason. The best teams have elite quarterbacks under center, and the signal caller that plays the closest to that level will likely thrust their team to the Super Bowl.

So, with that said, let's power rank each of the starting quarterbacks in NFC playoff picture.


6. San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick

The 49ers have everything a successful playoff team needs.

Dominating defense, check. Physical running game, check. Stout offensive line, check.

Great quarterback play... OK, I take that one back. They have almost everything a true contender needs.

San Francisco inserted Kaepernick midway through the season to replace Alex Smith. Since then, Kaepernick has shown flashes of brilliance, but he’s not close to a finished product yet.

And that is a huge hindrance to the 49ers' Super Bowl chances. They need steady quarterback play and there is no guarantee Kaepernick will provide it.

5. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder

This could really be a 5a and 5b thing between Ponder and Kaepernick, but Ponder gets the nod because he has more experience as a starter.

OK, two years isn't a ton, but it's more than half a season.

Ponder hasn't been great this year, throwing for 2,701 yards, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But he’s been good enough, thanks to the brilliance of Adrian Peterson.

Ponder doesn't have to be fantastic for the Vikings to win, but he must be steady and turnover free.

4. Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson

Yes, I ranked Ponder ahead of Kaepernick because of experience, but Wilson—a rookie—hasn’t played like one this year.

Instead, he's looked like a 10-year veteran, marching the Seahawks down the field time after time. He doesn't throw a ton—the Seattle running attack does most of the work—but he completes 63 percent of his passes when he does.

Wilson is as steady as they come. Despite his rookie status, he should excel in the playoffs.

3. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III

Another rookie, what is wrong with the NFL?

Not much, these rookies are just historically good.

Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, has been nothing short of spectacular this season.

One year ago at Baylor, he won a Heisman. Now a year later, he’s led the Redskins to a playoff berth and a division title.

He's among the league leaders in completion percentage and has taken the NFL by storm. He's the brightest start in a town full of them and has earned all the praise he's received.

Now in order to take the next step, he must win a playoff game.

2. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan

Matty Ice has been anything but in the playoffs.

His all-time playoff record under center is 0-3. It’s been a tarnish on his reputation and it’s time for him to change that.

The Falcons enter as the No. 1 seed in the NFC and sit in prime position to make a Super Bowl run.

Now, they just have to find a way to win a playoff game.

Ryan will be the biggest factor in that quest. He was great in the regular season, where Ryan had a 100.2 passer rating, threw for 4,481 yards, 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Those are elite numbers. But for Ryan to truly take a step forward, he must lead the Falcons to victories in the playoffs.

1. Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC playoffs by far.

It's true for a lot of reasons, but all you have to do is look at his ring finger to see the best example. The bling says it all.

Rodgers has already led the Packers to a Super Bowl title and could very easily do it again.

The team behind him isn't as strong as some of the others on this list, but Rodger's abilities and experience cannot be overstated.


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