Patrick Mahomes headlines Bucky Brooks’ Playoff QB Power Rankings

It is not a coincidence that the playoff field is loaded with high-end quarterback talent at this stage of the tournament. As a “quarterback-driven” league, it is almost mandatory to have a five-star QB in the huddle to have a chance at winning the Lombardi Trophy. 

Though it takes a total team effort to win it all, the presence of an elite quarterback tips the odds in a team’s favor as the playoffs advance toward the championship rounds. With that mind, the divisional round is the perfect time to take a closer look at the quarterbacks remaining in the playoff field to determine which teams have the best chance to move on, especially if some games are decided by a shootout. 

After digging into the All-22 coaches’ tape and scouring the stat sheets and box scores to evaluate each QB’s performance throughout the regular season and playoffs, here are my playoff quarterback rankings.

Playoff Quarterback Power Rankings 

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs 

The former Super Bowl and NFL MVP is the gold standard at the position as an A-plus performer and champion. Mahomes displays a unique set of skills as a high-end playmaker that sets him apart from the rest of the quarterbacks in the playoffs. As an athletic thrower with a vivid imagination and exceptional arm talent, Mahomes routinely whips the ball around like a shortstop turning two against a hard-charging baserunner. He does not flinch under pressure while showing an uncanny ability to make a play when things break down. 

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In a series of win-or-go-home contests that require the quarterback to thrive in pressure-packed moments, Mahomes’ skills, experience and winning pedigree make him the undisputed choice as the QB1 of the playoff field. 

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals 

The ultra-cool quarterback oozes confidence as one of the best players in the game. Burrow has given the Bengals offense an unstoppable feel with his pinpoint passing and timely playmaking from the pocket. From his precise quick-rhythm passes to his high-arcing deep balls, the third-year pro capably makes every throw in the book to defeat various coverage and blitz tactics opponents throw at him hoping to derail Cincinnati’s high-powered offense. 

With Burrow also displaying nerves of steel while routinely navigating through a collapsing pocket, he is the fearless playmaker that every team covets in a franchise quarterback. In a single-elimination tournament that is routinely decided by the quarterback’s play, it is hard to find a better option than Burrow. 

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

The Josh Allen Show is a bit of a rollercoaster ride, with the fifth-year pro providing plenty of thrills and chills as a fearless gunslinger with dynamic running skills. Allen has thrown 30-plus touchdown passes in each of his past three seasons while also adding 21 rushing scores during the span. The combination of elite passing and running skills makes him one of the most feared playmakers in the playoff field.

On the downside, Allen’s questionable judgment and shaky ball security have made him a turnover machine this season (22 interceptions, eight fumbles with two lost). Though the Bills have routinely survived the miscues by their electrifying quarterback, they will need Allen to play like a superstar to walk away with a Super Bowl title. 

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4. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles 

The MVP candidate is a touchdown maker, with 35 combined scores (22 passing, 13 rushing) as the ultimate dual-threat in the backfield. While Hurts’ electric running skills spark the league’s fifth-ranked rush offense, his efficient passing (101.5, fourth-best in the NFL) has made the Eagles offense nearly impossible to slow down. As a high-end runner and pinpoint passer within an RPO/movement-based scheme, the third-year pro teases and torments defenders with his unique skills. Surrounded by supporting cast loaded with playmakers who enhance his skills as a versatile offensive weapon, Hurts can play like the best player on the field whenever he steps between the lines. 

5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

The NFL’s co-interception leader (15) has struggled with turnovers throughout a subpar 2022 campaign, but Prescott remains one of the best quarterbacks in the playoff field. The seventh-year pro raises his game in the clutch while displaying the poise and leadership to elevate a supporting cast that has not performed as well as prior units. 

Considering the Cowboys have averaged 30-plus points this season with Prescott slightly off his game, “America’s Team” has a puncher’s chance to knock off any heavyweight in the playoff field if he rediscovers his all-star form. 

6. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

“Mr. Irrelevant” has looked nothing like a rookie third-string quarterback since taking over in Week 14. Purdy has sparked the 49ers offense with his superb managerial skills and playmaking ability, directing an offense that has been spectacular since his insertion into the lineup. While it is easy to suggest the rookie is playing the role of the joystick in Kyle Shanahan’s video game-like offense, the Iowa State product has looked better than predecessors Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo running the offense. From his superb ball handling on bootlegs and misdirections to his pinpoint passing on the move, Purdy has played like a seasoned vet for the hottest team in the league. 

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Has Purdy passed every test to make it to a Super Bowl?

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If the rookie continues to sizzle as a playmaker during the 49ers’ magical run, the team will have to give the seventh-rounder a chance to hold onto the job in 2023. 

7. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars 

Yes, Lawrence orchestrated a miraculous comeback against the Chargers with four touchdown passes over the last two-plus quarters. But it is impossible to ignore his four interceptions in his playoff debut. Although the second-year pro eventually cracked the code that had him dazed and confused for most of the first half, his mini-meltdown mirrors a streak of pedestrian performances that have overshadowed an impressive sophomore season that featured 25 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. With Lawrence capable of getting hot at any moment, the Jaguars QB1 has the potential to surge to the top of the charts down the road. 

8. Daniel Jones, New York Giants 

Credit Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka for building around Jones’ athleticism and skill as a dual-threat quarterback. By leaning into an RPO world, the Giants have simplified the game for the fourth-year pro while unlocking his big-play potential as a runner-passer on the perimeter.

With Jones taking better care of the ball (just eight giveaways during the regular season), he has mastered the art of playing winning football while playing to his strengths (IQ and athleticism) as a playmaker. As the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher among quarterbacks (708 yards), Jones has become a thorn in the side of defensive coordinators tasked with defending one of the top dual threats in the game. 

Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He regularly appears on “Speak For Yourself” and also breaks down the game for NFL Network and as a cohost of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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