5. Tom Brady
2013 PFF Accuracy Percentage – 72.4%
Tom Brady just wasn't himself this year. Was it age? Was it the fact that his top 5 pass-catching options from 2012 weren't on the 2013 roster? What was it? A combination of factors probably played into the Patriots legend having a "down" year, and that's fine.
His team won five games in the final minutes en route to a ho-hum 12-4 record and another AFC East title.
Brady was actually an Accuracy Percentage point higher while under pressure in 2013 than he was in 2012, but his 57.6% in that category was 20th out of 26th quarterbacks who took at least 50 percent of their respective team's offensive snaps this season.
He posted the lowest touchdown percentage of his career—a still respectable 4.0—and the lowest yards-per-attempt average—6.8—since 2006. Yeah, I'd say he missed Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker.
His playoff experience will help him against the Colts, but those who'll refute Brady's No. 5 ranking by pointing to his three Super Bowl rings will likely omit the following stat line, which represents his last four playoff outings, all of which have been at home:
103-of-171 (60.2%), 1,179 yards (6.89 YPA), 6 TDs and 5 INTs
Essentially, not great.
According to PFF
, Brady had the third lowest Accuracy Percentage in last year's playoffs (ahead of Kaepernick and Joe Flacco) and the worst under pressure Accuracy Percentage.
4. Russell Wilson
2013 PFF Accuracy Percentage – 71.9%
He's young and has only played in two playoff games in his career, but this is where Russell Wilson belongs. No quarterback was pressured on a higher percentage of dropbacks than Wilson in 2013 (49.3%), and his Accuracy Percentage of 61.9 in that category was higher than Brady, Luck and Kaepernick.
On deep throws, no quarterback in football (who played at least 50 percent of his respective team's offensive snaps) was more accurate than Wilson. No disrespect to Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, but it's safe to say that Wilson wasn't simply been carried by his receiving contingent this season.
Oh, and in his two playoff games last year, he completed 62.9% of his passes at 9.22 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and one interception. Don't forget…he led the Seahawks back from a 27-7 third-quarter deficit in Atlanta and took the lead with 31 seconds to play.
Add in his mobility, and its actually quite easy to see why Wilson's ahead of Brady, Luck, Newton and Kaepernick.
3. Drew Brees
2013 PFF Accuracy Percentage – 77.9%
Drew Brees isn't as good on the road as he is at home. There's no debating that. In 2013, his completion percentage was a whopping 10 points lower away from the Mercedes Benz Superdome than it was inside it. His yards-per-attempt average was almost—ready?—four yards lower on the road than it was at home. That's astronomical. To put a cherry on top, he tossed 27 touchdowns to only three interceptions in New Orleans and 12 touchdowns to nine interceptions elsewhere.
Now I'm not ranking these quarterbacks based on how I believe they'll play against their opponents this weekend, but I felt it was necessary to include Brees' away stats seeing as though he'll take the field on the road in the NFL's most raucous stadium.
Through it all, Brees was his usual ultra-efficient self this year. His Accuracy Percentage was third to only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers, and his under pressure Accuracy Percentage of 63.5 was better than Wilson, Brady, Luck and Kaepernick.
He completed 66% of his passes for 250 yards in the win over the Philadelphia Eagles, but he did throw only one touchdown to two interceptions.
2. Philip Rivers
2013 PFF Accuracy Percentage – 78.8%
Philip Rivers had an incredible, resurgent season in 2013. He was Mr. Efficiency, as he led the NFL in completion percentage, overall Accuracy Percentage and under pressure Accuracy Percentage.
His 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions made for a marvelous and underrated stat line.
Rivers did throw only 16 passes in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals a week ago, but only four of those attempts hit the turf and one went for a touchdown. Also, he does have eight games of postseason experience.
He rightfully gets the slight nod over Brees.
1. Peyton Manning
2013 PFF Accuracy Percentage – 77.0%
No argument here. Peyton Manning was the best quarterback in football this season. His Accuracy Percentage tied Brees for 3rd, only Wilson was more accurate down the field, and only Rivers was more accurate under pressure.
The Denver Broncos signal-caller was undoubtedly aided by, arguably, the most well-rounded receiving corps in football, but he made the most of it.
Manning broke the single-season passing-yard record and the single-season touchdown record. He attempted a league-high 659 passes, and only 1.5% of them were intercepted.
While I haven't forgotten about his two-interception effort in last year's division round against the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens, the Sheriff's the best quarterback left in these playoffs.