If Mark Sanchez reaches the Super Bowl he will be the first Mexican-American since Chad Ochocinco to play in the Super Bowl.

The Past is Prelude

                History always repeats itself.  Go check that one out.  That is especially true when it comes to football, and even more so with quarterbacks.   In the post-season what the tossers do is usually what the team does.  There are a few exceptions like in 2006, the one year Peyton’s Colts won a Super Bowl in spite of Manning who posted a pathetic 67 passer rating throughout the playoffs.  But other than those anomalies, what’s going to happen is usually what has happened in the past.  When Ben Roethlisberger faced Andy Dalton in an important late season game last week, we were betting on Ben.  The past is prelude.  When Joe Flacco went against Ryan Tannehill in a crucial game, we were betting on Flacco.  So let us tell you what’s going to happen for the next month or so.  We’ll be correct…for the most part.

          First of all let’s establish the things that we know about the quarterbacks in the NFC.  Matt Stafford and the Lions are 9-4.  Stafford has only made one post-season appearance and while he had a good statistical game (97 passer rating) his team was steamrolled by the Saints.  The jury is still out on Stafford but his team’s history in the post-season is abysmal.  Drew Brees was good early in his career in the post-season but has been mediocre in his last three appearances (6 TD-4INT) and the Saints are in disarray at the moment.  A playoff berth is still a possibility and if Brees beats Matt Ryan in New Orleans and ekes out a playoff spot he could still pull off a victory against a less experienced tosser.   Matt Ryan has been terrible in the playoffs (1-4, though he should be 0-5 as he escaped a terrible second half to beat Seattle in 2012) and so we wouldn’t bet on him to win a post-season game even if Atlanta somehow flukes into the playoffs, though the Falcons or Saints would get a home game in the wild card round and they are both much better in their domes.  Aaron Rodgers has been great statistically in the post-season.  He’s the highest rated tosser in post-season history, but let’s not forget that in 4 of the 6 seasons he made the post-season he didn’t win a game.  With as historically good as he has been in 2014, he needs to win the Championship to solidify himself in the clutch category.  We’re betting he does it.   Tony Romo.  Ah, Tony Romo.  The guy who has made quite a living off of  letting his troops down.  Romo usually falters in December so his troops have only reached the hot gates three seasons in his ten years.  Their record is 1-3 and he has 4 TDs and 2 INTs in those games.  Things are different this year because the Cowboys can run the ball on anyone.  If they make the playoffs their first game will be crucial.  If they get the Seahawks on the road they might struggle, but otherwise they have a fighting chance.  Who is Arizona’s quarterback again?  We think they have outkicked their coverage so far this year and the Cardinals will come back down to earth.  The Rams will beat them Thursday Night and then the Seahawks will beat them next week to win the West.  Russell Wilson, if he isn’t the NFL’s best player, is the second best behind Aaron Rodgers.  He has what is probably the worst receiving corps in NFL history led by Doug Baldwin and Cooper Helfet, a third year tight end out of Duke who had never caught an NFL pass entering the 2014 season.  Wilson has still managed to generate 25 points per game.   Last, but surprisingly not least, there’s Mark Sanchez.  The guy who likes high school girls.  (See, If You Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine for a more detailed discussion of Sanchez’s extra-curricular activities).  Sanchez is 4-2 in the post-season and has the second best post-season winning percentage of any of the NFC quarterbacks trailing only Wilson. In fact, he's posted a passer rating over 100 in three of his six post-season appearances.

          The odds on favorites to come out of the NFC are the Seahawks and Packers, that’s no surprise.  We think the talent gap of Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb versus Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse will be the determining factor and the Packers will advance to the Super Bowl.  As an aside, and if you’ve ever watched a post-season game you will know this to be true, the NFL will want the Packers or Cowboys to advance so watch the refereeing to be decidedly in their favor.

                In the AFC it’s difficult to figure out who will emerge from a crowded pack of playoff wannabes.  We can’t tell you for sure what will happen this year, but we can tell you what will happen most years.  Andy Dalton usually melts down around this time after playing well for 12 weeks.  Though the Bengals currently lead the AFC North, we wouldn’t bet on them even making the playoffs.  Big Ben and Flacco?  All day.  The Steelers and/or Ravens will go 2-1 down the stretch and make the playoffs and if they do, watch out.  Ben and Flacco are two of the NFL’s best big game tossers with Ben at 10-4 and Flacco at 9-4.   Since the Patriots were busted for cheating they haven’t been very good.  Brady is 4-6 in the post-season when he doesn’t know the defenses play calls.  He’s lost to every “clutch” quarterback he’s faced including twice to Eli, twice to Flacco and once to Sanchez.  If the Patriots get someone other than the Steelers or Ravens, they will probably win.  Otherwise, they lose.   Denver and Peyton?   They will not win the Super Bowl in spite of having the NFL’s most talented roster top to bottom.  As with Brady, if the Broncos don’t come up against a clutch tosser they could make the Super Bowl.   Is Andrew Luck the second coming of Peyton?  Colts fans hope not, but so far Luck is looking somewhat suspect.  He’s 1-2 in the post-season with a terrible passer rating of 70, but then again he led the Colts to an amazing second half comeback versus the Chiefs for his only playoff win.  The jury is still out, but we have a sneaky suspicion that Luck will turn the corner and be a great post-season player.  Whether it’s this year or next, we’ll see.

                So there you have it.  The only tossers who could potentially make the playoffs who have a winning record in the post-season (in order of winning percentage and we exclude Brady’s cheating years) are Wilson, Big Ben, Flacco, Sanchez, Rodgers and Brees.  When all the dust settles and Peyton wets the bed, look for one of the above to be talking about a mouse in Florida.