Cam Newton vs Colin Kaepernick. Tom Brady vs Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning vs Phillip Rivers. Russell Wilson vs Drew Brees. Wow. The Divisional Quarterfinals looks like a Home Run Derby of QBs.
The AFC matchups don’t figure to lend much credence to the theory that defense wins championships. The NFC is a different matter. Three great defenses and one great offense. Should be interesting who’s still standing come Monday.
The NFC has three young QBs playing this weekend and one old guy, while it’s just the opposite in the AFC. One new guy and three gray beards. The NFC also has a couple of QBs of note who didn’t get this far — Aaron Rodgers, Nick Foles, Matt Ryan, and Eli Manning. If QBs win SBs, then we could be looking at a run of NFC dominance in the coming years.
The Panthers beat the 49ers 10-9 back in early November, but the Niners played that game without Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree. And it was one of the poorest games of Colin Kaepernick’s brief career. If the Panthers win again anyway, Jim Harbaugh’s team will enter the offseason looking upwards at two NFC teams — the other being Seattle — that are better than his team.
The TV networks are all huddling in their greed rooms praying voraciously for victories by Seattle, SF, Denver, and New England. The ratings for the Championship round would go through the roof. The Chargers, Colts, Saints, and Panthers are all lesser draws from smaller markets with fewer star power personalities. Panthers vs Saints III would be a total yawner. Chargers vs Colts would be all about Luck.
With the exception of the Saints, the NFC teams are all young, with bright futures and no particular playoff history to fondle. Both AFC games are loaded with morbid curiosity, though. Can Peyton Manning finally get out of the first round? Will Tom Brady throw down another 14 point clunker? Is Phillip Rivers really cured of being Phillip Rivers? It’s going to be an interesting weekend.