We are heading into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and only 8 teams remain. An NFL team's success relies on the performance of their starting quarterbacks. Games are won and loss behind center. Here is a ranking of which quarterbacks still remaining in the playoffs give their teams the best chance to make it to the Super Bowl.
8. Landry Jones
Okay, I think it's safe to assume that if Ben Roethlisberger can't compete next weekend then the Steelers are in a gigantic hole behind center. With Roethlisberger falling in and out of injury all season, Landry Jones has been forced to step up and he pretty much has but I think that luck is about to run out when he enters a rematch with the Denver Broncos this weekend, one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.
7. Russell Wilson
No quarterback in the NFL has regressed more than Russell Wilson. Wilson completed a disgusting 50% of his passes against the Minnesota Vikings last weekend and is only still in the playoffs because Vikings kicker, Blair Walsh, missed a 27-year field goal to win the game.
You should have zero faith in this man and with Marshawn Lynch no longer the tractor trailer that he used to be, the Seahawks are in trouble this weekend.
6. Alex Smith
Alex Smith has been skating by for over a decade now. He defines average when it comes to playing the quarterback position. In a league where you are either the best or you're worthless, Smith has found his niche at 'fine'. The Kansas City Chiefs have developed a playbook that strictly consists of throws under 10 yards to play to Smith's 'strengths'.
The only reason he sits at number 6 right now and not at the very bottom is because his team was able to put up 30 points against the Houston Texans defense which was one of the best in the NFL this season. Can perennial C-student, Alex Smith, keep it up?
5. Peyton Manning
Let's face reality here, Peyton's arm is shot and his best years are far behind him. Peyton is a complete shell of his former self but what better option do the Broncos have? Brock Osweiler has played well but he hasn't quite shined and the Broncos would in the same boat that the Steelers are in now.
The one advantage for Manning is that he's been there and done that before. With a Super Bowl victory under his belt, Peyton is ready to prove to the world that his career isn't quite over yet. Unfortunately, Manning the arm strength of a snake at this point in his career.
4. Carson Palmer
Who would have thought that after his retirement in 2010 that Carson Palmer would be a top 4 quarterback in the NFL in 2016? No one. No one thought that but here he is today sneaking into MVP discussions.Carson Palmer was able to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a 13-3 season seemingly out of nowhere. Palmer is like this year's Kurt Warner in that he is an aged quarterback who is programmed to do one thing and one thing only: win football games.
Palmer vs. the Packers defense next weekend is a huge advantage in Palmer's favor. He may end up having a statistical field day. Good luck, Green Bay.
3. Aaron Rodgers
You could debate your friends all day long about Aaron Rodgers being the best quarterback but this year he has taken a step back. Yes, he lost Jordy Nelson, his number one receiver, before the season even started but a great quarterback should adjust. He should be making his backup receivers look like all-stars. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have made careers of turning bum receivers into pro bowlers.
Having said, it's always safe to bet on Rodgers. With a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs last year to the Seattle Seahawks, there is a major chip on Aaron's shoulders this time around.
2. Tom Brady
Tom Brady's postseason experience alone should be enough to strike fear into opposing defenses. Brady knows exactly how to win and he seems to be competing in the Super Bowl every single year. As Brady gets older, he just continues to get better. Now matter who gets hurt around him, Brady is capable of dragging the Patriots to Super Bowl rings.
Plus, you can't rule out a team that has weapon X: Rob Gronkowski.
1. Cam Newton
Cam Newton will most likely be the MVP of 2015 NFL season and for that reason alone he goes into the divisional round as the best quarterback in the league. Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 season almost effortlessly. Many of their games weren't even close as they made their opponents look like little league teams. What makes that even more impressive is that Newton has no real weapons around him offensively. He is surrounded by players who wouldn't even make the cut on most rosters. He's carrying the Panthers on his back.
What separates Newton from Brady is how dynamic he is on the field. With Brady, you know he's going to drop back and throw a 5-yard slant pass to Edelman. With Newton, you have NO idea what he's going to do. Whether he's throwing and running through you, he is a complete mystery to defenses and is borderline unstoppable thus far. Cam Newton is currently the best quarterback in the NFL.