Our weekly focus on quarterbacks under Center of Attention for Wild Card Weekend.
BreesDrew Brees must be salivating at the chance to carve up the Seattle Seahawks like he did in the New Orleans Saints’ Week 11 victory. On pass attempts thrown more than 10 yards, Brees was 12-of-15 for 242 yards with three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 158.3. It was his most completions, touchdown passes and his highest passer rating on attempts thrown that distance in any game this season. The Seahawks had trouble with passes of 10 or more yards all year, ranking 27th in opponents’ passer rating at 97.2.
ManningPeyton Manning gets another shot at the New York Jets in the playoffs in a rematch of the 2009 AFC Championship Game. Manning led the Colts in a second-half comeback as they scored 24 unanswered points to overcome an 11-point second-quarter deficit in a 30-17 win. In that game, the Jets tried to rattle Manning with an aggressive pass rush which worked in their first two playoff games.
Manning wasn’t fazed. Using a seven-step drop against six-or-more rushers, Manning completed 8-of-10 passes and averaged 16.0 yards per attempt. When the Jets decided to blitz with secondary rushers, he was deadlier, going 15-21 for 252 yards with two touchdown passes. Will the Jets try the same philosophy in the rematch?
Matt Cassel at Home This Season
By Number of Pass Rushers
There has to be no doubt in his mind he'll see some pressure in his home playoff battle against the Baltimore Ravens. But considering the way he’s played when he faces the heat, he might be saying, "Bring it on!". Only Tom Brady had a better passer rating when facing five-or-more rushers in home games during the regular season than Cassel's 124.5.
He was the only quarterback with at least nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions when facing that kind of pressure this season. He might continue that trend in this game because the Ravens ranked 23rd in the NFL in passer rating on the road when sending five-or-more rushers during the regular season.
VickLook for the Green Bay Packers to make Michael Vick throw towards the right side of the field when they face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. This season, Vick picked apart defenses with short and medium range throws to the left side of the field. On passes thrown fewer than 15 yards to the left, Vick completed a whopping 76.4 percent of his passes while accumulating a passer rating of 112.9, both of which led the NFL during the regular season.
However, the Packers defense tied for the NFL lead with 10 interceptions and led the NFL with a 70.0 passer rating on passes thrown to the left, regardless of distance.