The NFL playoffs begin this weekend with Super Wild Card Weekend, which will consist of seven playoff games. It’s a football fan’s dream as we look to crown a champion in a month. Here are our top five melanated signal-callers who advanced to the postseason.
1. Patrick Mahomes — Chiefs
Mahomes is the gold standard for NFL quarterbacks now. An NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP, Mahomes is the betting favorite to take home his second league MVP after leading the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record and the top seed in the conference.
With K.C. having a bye week, Mahomes and his teammates get a chance to nurse some nagging injuries before they begin their quest to play in three Super Bowls in four seasons.
This season Mahomes broke the single-season total yards record with 5,614 total yards, which included 5,250 passing, 358 rushing and 6 receiving.
Patrick Mahomes' regular season is over.
His final statline:
– 435/648 (67%)
– 5,250 passing yards (career-high)
– 45 TDs (41 passing, 4 rushing)
– 12 INTs
– 14-3 record
– No. 1 seed in the AFC
He's the favorite to win MVP honors. pic.twitter.com/7D9VQmdlXr
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 8, 2023
2. Jalen Hurts — Eagles
The second-year signal-caller was in the thick of the MVP race until a late-season shoulder injury forced him to miss a couple games. When he went down, Philly boasted a 13-1 record, they went 0-2 with him on the mend. Hurts returned for last week’s season finale win over the Giants, which secured the NFC East title and homefield throughout the NFC Playoffs.
What Hurts’ injury did was show everyone that Philly’s “system” isn’t as explosive without him.
This season, Hurts displayed his dynamic dual-threat ability as he directed one of the league’s best and most explosive offenses.
Hurts posted 3,701 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 760 yards and 13 more touchdowns.
3. Geno Smith — Seahawks
After not starting a game for five seasons, Smith won the starting job in Seattle vacated by the trade of Russell Wilson last offseason. All Smith did was go out and lead the Seahawks to a surprising 9-8 season and a playoff spot. He also earned his first Pro Bowl nod after passing for nearly 4,300 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His nearly 75 percent completion percentage was tops in the league.
Smith also broke Wilson’s franchise records for completions, attempts, completion percentage and yards.
Geno Smith has officially set the Seahawks’ single-season passing yards record, surpassing Russell Wilson 👏 pic.twitter.com/G8RB0oCXbF
— ESPN (@espn) January 8, 2023
4. Lamar Jackson — Ravens
While we don’t know if we’re going to see Jackson, who hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee 38 days ago in a win versus the Broncos, his presence is vital if the Ravens are to have any chance at winning in Cincinnati. He just missed his 16th straight practice for a Ravens offense devoid of big play weapons. It’s imperative that Jackson suits up and is effective.
How important is Jackson? In his 70 career starts the Ravens are 49-21, a 70 percent winning percentage. Without the 2019 unanimous MVP, they’re 4-8, including a six-game losing streak to end the 2021 season, which saw them go from first in the AFC to 8-9 and out of the playoffs.
5. Dak Prescott — Cowboys
Will we see good Dak or bad Dak? One doesn’t turn the ball over, and the other has a career-high 15 interceptions this season. He’s lost his poise and must get it back quickly if the Cowboys hope to avoid their yearly choke job in the postseason.
Team owner Jerry Jones doesn’t seem too worried about his $40M-per-season QB.
In fact, during Jones’ weekly radio spot with 105.3 The Fan, Jones was blunt:
“It’s in Dak’s DNA to not turn the ball over.”
We shall see how that plays out Monday night down in South Florida.