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NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones

The 2021-22 NFL Playoffs feature five quarterbacks making their first playoff start.

Former No.1 picks Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray are in that group, along with former Alabama stars Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts. Veteran Derek Carr rounds out this group.

This group will seek to challenge the establishment. Seven-time Super Bowl champion and three-time MVP Tom Brady tops the list, along with two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers in the NFC. Patrick Mahomes II led the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Will these quarterbacks dominate again?

MORE: Ranking the Odds of NFL Playoff Teams to Win Super Bowl 56

Sporting News ranked the 14 quarterfinals of this year’s playoffs based on a combination of factors. Who would you take now? How much is playoff experience taken into account? Who do you trust with the game in play?

Here are those QBs sorted by age and their youngest to oldest playoff backgrounds:

STRATEGIST AGE MVP eliminatory SUPER BOWL
Mac Jones 23 0 0-0 0-0
Jalen hurts 23 0 0-0 0-0
Kyler murray 24 0 0-0 0-0
Joe terrier 25 0 0-0 0-0
Josh allen 25 0 2-2 0-0
Pat Mahomes 26 1 6-2 1-1
Dak prescott 28 0 1-1 0-0
Jimmy garoppolo 30 0 2-1 0-1
Derek carr 30 0 0-0 0-0
Ryan tannehill 33 0 2-2 0-0
Matthew Stafford 33 0 0-3 0-0
Aaron Rodgers 38 2 11-9 1-0
Ben roethlisberger 39 0 13-9 2-1
Tom brady 44 3 34-11 7-3

This is what we found. It’s Brady and all the others:

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
(Getty Images)

2021-22 NFL Playoff QB Power Ranking

Statistics 2021: 5,316 yards, 45 touchdowns, 12 INT

Who else would it be? Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion and he continues to play at MVP level. Brady led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl championship in the Wild Cards round last season, and he faces the same challenge this season. He played 10 Super Bowls, three more than the rest of the field combined. He beat the next two QBs on that list in last year’s playoffs. Will this still be the case?

  • 2. Aaron Rodgers, packers

Statistics 2021: 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns, 4 INT

It’s the same setup as last season. Rodgers put the Packers in a position to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010. Green Bay has the field advantage and Rodgers could be named MVP for the second consecutive season. He’s playing at the usual high level after an offseason full of rumors he could be close to being released. Rodgers is 5-3 in the playoffs at Lambeau Field. He is also 1-4 in the NFC Championship game.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
(Getty Images)

  • 3. Patrick Mahomes, Chefs

Statistics 2021: 4,839 yards, 37 touchdowns, 13 INT

Kansas City may not be the No.1 seed, but Mahomes is still the AFC quarterback to beat. In his last six AFC playoff games, Mahomes averaged 294.3 yards with 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’ll need to lead the Chiefs to the Super Bowl from the Wild Cards tour for the first time, but he’s also the only AFC quarterback with Super Bowl experience.

Statistics 2021: 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 INT

Prescott’s return season has been incredible, and he closed the regular season with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions in Dallas’ last four games. Now the next step is to lead a playoff race for the Cowboys. Prescott is 2-1 with five touchdowns and two interceptions in three career playoff starts. All three have been one-scoring games. Prescott has shown Dallas could play for Tampa Bay in Week 1. A potential rematch is coming in the division round.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
Getty Images

Statistics 2021: 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, 14 INT

Too high? Burrow led the NFL in yards per attempt (8.9) and completion percentage (70.4). He ended the season on a tear with home wins over the Ravens and Chiefs. He’s had 971 passing yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in those games. The former No.1 pick will make his playoff debut and can help the Bengals win their first playoff game since Jan. 6, 1991. Burrow will continue to climb that standings. Cincinnati can make a run because they have arguably the hottest quarterback right now. It’s a draw with our next QB, but right now we have Burrow.

Statistics 2021: 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 INT

Allen led the Bills to the AFC Championship game last season, and that experience should pay off in another potential round. He’s averaged 270.3 passing yards with five touchdowns and one interception in four playoff starts, and he can endear himself to Buffalo fans by knocking out New England in the AFC Wild round. Card. Can Allen build on what he learned from last season’s run and bring the Bills back into the Super Bowl? We’re about to find out.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
Getty Images

  • 7. Matthew Stafford, Aries

2021 stats: 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, 17 INT

That’s why Stafford came to Los Angeles. He had another great season in terms of total yards and touchdowns, but bad-timed interceptions remain a problem. Stafford has led the Lions to the playoffs three times, and he’s averaged 302.7 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in those games. The pressure to break through is there, and getting through the elite ranked NFC quarterbacks ahead of him will be a huge challenge.

  • 8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Statistics 2021: 3,740 yards, 22 touchdowns, 10 INT

Two-time Super Bowl winner’s farewell tour hosts an after-hours party after the Steelers sneak into the playoffs. The 39-year-old is in his 23rd playoff start and his last playoff win was on Jan.15, 2017 against the Chiefs. Kansas City beat Pittsburgh 36-10 in Week 16, but if it’s kind of a close game at the end, Roethlisberger has gone down that route before. Roethlisberger has the career credentials, but there are other quarterbacks we would be taking right now.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
(Getty Images)

  • 9. Ryan Tannehill, Titans

Statistics 2021: 3,734 yards, 21 TD, 14 INT

Is it too low for the 33-year-old veteran? After all, Tannehill led the Titans to the AFC’s No. 1 seed. He’s 2-2 as a starter in the AFC playoffs, and he’s averaging 133.5 passing yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions in those games. Tennessee could get Derrick Henry back for that race, and Tannehill is capable of leading a Super Bowl race given the setup with the Titans.

Statistics 2021: 4,804 yards, 23 touchdowns, 14 INT

You can argue that it should be higher based on last month. Carr has huge numbers, and the four-game winning streak that included playoff wins against the Colts and Chargers was impressive. It took eight seasons for Carr to finally make the playoffs, and we don’t know how he’ll react at this stage. Carr had a QB rating of 94.4 on the road this season, and Burrow is also making his first playoff start. It could lead to an entertaining Wild Card clash with the Bengals.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
(Getty Images)

  • 11. Kyler Murray, Cardinals

Statistics 2021: 3,787 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 INT

The former No.1 pick will make his playoff debut, and that tantalizing playing ability makes the Cardinals a dangerous team. Arizona have lost four of their last five games and Murray has become more active as a scrambler throughout the final stretch. He had 383 passing yards and two interceptions last meeting with the Rams.

  • 12. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Statistics 2021: 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 INT

Garoppolo has faced criticism and injury, but he’s only two years old to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl. He was 4-3 against teams in this year’s playoffs, and that included close losses to Tennessee and Green Bay. The 49ers have slipped into the playoffs, and they’re a dangerous seed because of it. Hey, Garoppolo knows what it takes to make it happen.

NFL playoff QB power ranking: 2022 best and worst starters, from Tom Brady to Mac Jones
(Getty Images)

Statistics 2021: 3,144 yards, 16 touchdowns, 9 INT

Hurts is another former Alabama quarterback who will make his playoff debut. Hurts has racked up 784 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and he’s been in eight games with at least 20 rushing yards. Hurts was a seasoned winner in two college programs, but he starts with the ultimate test against the Buccaneers and Brady.

Statistics 2021: 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 INT

Jones led Alabama to the college football playoff championship last season, and he now has the Patriots and Bill Belichick back in the playoffs. As a result, the rookie will face endless comparisons with Brady, but he’ll need to perform better on the road. Jones has six touchdowns and six interceptions with a rating of 85.4 in eight road starts this season. Buffalo also has a top-five defense.

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