Jan 8, 2013
- Written by Cory Steger
- Edited by Marc Caviglia
Now that we’ve got the weak teams out of the way, it’s on to the big boy games of the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. We’ve got a group of eight legitimately good-to-great quarterbacks, and we’ve also got a group eight terrific defenses. It is certainly no coincidence that these eight teams have made it this far. To see where the quarterbacks fall this week keep reading below.
::RANKINGS UPDATED AS OF JANUARY 8, 2013::
1. Tom Brady (New England Patriots) vs. Houston
Here is one of those slam dunk matchups, a rare one for playoff time. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots play host to the Houston Texans this week, and it’s a guarantee that Brady is going to play well. The question is how well. When these two teams met in New England in Week 14 Brady threw for 296 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. It could’ve been even more. Because it’s the playoffs, we’re in January and the weather may not be as good we’ll moderately projected Brady for 22 points this week.
Point Projection: 22 points
2. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos) vs. Baltimore
Look who’s back in the playoffs - it’s Peyton Manning! However, this time it’s as a member of the Denver Broncos. Hasn’t seemed to make a difference for Manning thus far this season, no reason to believe that would change this week against the Baltimore Ravens either. In Week 15 against the Ravens, Manning had just 204 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. An early lead caused the Broncos to play it safe that week, but that was one of only four games in which Manning was limited to just one touchdown. Don’t expect a repeat of that this week.
Point Projection: 19 points
3. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) @ San Francisco
Remember Week 1 of the season when the San Francisco 49ers handled the Packers, and suddenly everybody was asking what was wrong with Green Bay? Seems like a different season, doesn’t it? Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in that game. It’s unlikely he hits 22 fantasy points again this week, but expect another good game from Rodgers.
Point Projection: 18 points
4. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) @ Atlanta
And then there was one. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson remains the only rookie quarterback left in the playoffs after Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin’s Washington Redskins went down last week. The thing about Wilson is that nothing seems to faze him, and he’ll need to stay cool this week in a tough road environment against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons gave up an average of just 12.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, so Wilson’s projection is just a modest one this week.
Point Projection: 16 points
5. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Seattle
As well as Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has played this season, he will find big passing stats hard to come by this week against an impressive Seattle Seahawks defense. Seattle held quarterbacks to a league-low average of just 10.2 fantasy points per game this season. In their last 10 games the Seahawks allowed just one quarterback to throw multiple touchdown passes. If anybody can break that trend it’ll be Ryan, but don’t expect much more than that.
Point Projection: 16 points
6. Matt Schaub (Houston Texans) @ New England
Look at Houston quarterback Matt Schaub’s performance last week and try not to be confused. Schaub completed 76.3 percent of his passes for 262 yards, and he finished with a quarterback rating of 83.4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he also had no touchdowns, and the interception he threw was returned for a touchdown. Good quarterback who made one bad throw, or just lucky the Cincinnati defense didn’t make it worse? Schaub will need to throw a lot this week to keep up with the Patriots, and it remains to be seen if he can do that.
Point Projection: 15 points
7. Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Green Bay
It certainly appears that San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a future with the team after some of the games he put together down the stretch. The knock on Kaepernick thus far has been his inconsistency, though. After a week off and playing in his first playoff game against the mighty Packers, can Kaepernick bring his best to the table? Green Bay’s defense forced 18 interceptions this season, and could pose some problems for Kaepernick.
Point Projection: 14 points
8. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) @ Denver
Sure, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 283 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions last week. However, Flacco also completed just 52.2 percent of his passes against an Indianapolis Colts defense that struggled at defending the pass this season. Flacco faces a much tougher matchup this week against a Broncos defense that forced two interceptions, and held him to 14 fantasy points, in Week 15.
Point Projection: 13 points