Andy Reid has been right here earlier than, with a younger franchise quarterback on a group contending for the Tremendous Bowl yr after yr.
The Kansas Metropolis coach is at it once more with Patrick Mahomes, and thrilled to see equally youthful leaders among the many AFC playoff groups in what’s the greatest QB age discrepancy between conferences within the divisional spherical for the reason that merger.
How large’s the hole? Properly, for starters, a pair of 40-somethings will face off within the NFC with Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady and Drew Brees of New Orleans. Meantime, the elder statesman of AFC playoff quarterbacks is 25-year-old Baker Mayfield.
“I believe it’s nice for the sport, this inflow of recent guys on the place,” stated Reid, who went to 4 consecutive NFC championship video games with Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, beginning with the 2000 season. “It’s nice for viewers, followers, cities. It provides these completely different cities a possibility to compete.”
To Reid’s level, Buffalo gained a playoff sport for the primary time in 25 years with 24-year-old Josh Allen in cost. Cleveland ended an 18-year playoff drought behind Mayfield and humbled six-time Tremendous Bowl champion Pittsburgh within the wild-card spherical.
Reid and Mahomes, additionally 25 however 156 days youthful than Mayfield, are a win over the Browns away from their third consecutive AFC championship sport after the Chiefs gained their first Tremendous Bowl in 50 years final season.
Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, the 24-year-old 2019 MVP, has his first playoff victory in hand, over Tennessee, because the Ravens put together to go to the Payments.
“My mother-in-law despatched me one thing the opposite day saying I used to be the previous man,” Mayfield stated. “Someone despatched me simply how shut everyone is in age. It’s fairly loopy to see between Josh and Lamar and clearly Pat. Pat’s received essentially the most expertise out of all of us.”
Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay’s determination on a starter will decide whether or not all 4 AFC quarterbacks are youthful than the NFC quartet. If it’s John Wolford, the 25-year-old is 29 days youthful than Mahomes. Jared Goff is 26.
A type of two will face 37-year-old Aaron Rodgers in a go to to Inexperienced Bay, whereas Brees turning 42 on Friday means the assembly with the 43-year-old Brady on Sunday will make for the oldest pair of QBs in any sport in NFL historical past (85 years).
With Goff beginning, the typical age of the NFC quarterbacks is 37 years, 77 days in comparison with 24 years, 344 days for the AFC group. The distinction is 12 years, 98 days, which the NFL says is the most important since 1970.
“I simply suppose we’ve received an excellent group of men that got here into the league across the identical time so it simply form of ended up that manner,” Payments receiver Cole Beasley stated. “Additionally they ended up in fairly good conditions with lots of expertise round them that helped. That’s vital, too.”
Whereas the AFC quarterbacks are related in age, the opposing offenses in every divisional sport are something however the identical in type.
The Chiefs are No. 1 in passing and complete offense whereas that includes the dynamic abilities of Mahomes, the 2018 MVP earlier than profitable the Tremendous Bowl MVP final season. Mayfield’s offense leans on the operating sport with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
The Ravens have the league’s high speeding assault, largely due to Jackson’s abilities exterior the pocket, and are final within the NFL in passing. Allen quietly compiled MVP-type numbers for the league’s third-best passing assault in Buffalo.
The NFC matchups are extra concerning the resumes.
With Goff included, all 4 have began a Tremendous Bowl, and the opposite three — Brady, Brees and Rodgers — have gained a title. Brady has a QB-record six championships, to not point out the all-time playoff lead in video games (42), wins (31), passing yards (11,769) and touchdowns (75).
Brady and Brees are 1-2 in profession yards and touchdowns passing, common season and playoffs included. Between them, they’ve thrown for greater than 175,000 yards and 1,250 touchdowns going into the first-ever playoff sport matching quarterbacks of their 40s.
“It speaks to the 2 guys which are taking part in,” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians stated. “They take nice care of themselves and are two of the most effective which have ever performed the sport. Whether or not they’re 25 or 43 and 42, it’s spectacular when these guys play.”
The Buccaneers leaned closely on Brady, ending the common season second to the Chiefs in passing. Whereas Brees missed 4 video games with rib and lung accidents, the Saints counted on him a lot lower than up to now with Alvin Kamara within the backfield and Taysom Hill sending Brees to the sideline often as a run-first QB.
The Rams and Packers have essentially the most balanced offenses among the many remaining groups. Inexperienced Bay ranks ninth in passing, eighth in speeding and fifth total. LA is thirteenth, tenth and eleventh.
Nonetheless, there’s no query Rodgers’ playmaking holds the important thing to success for receiver Davante Adams (18 touchdowns receiving) and operating again Aaron Jones (1,104 yards speeding, 9 TDs).
The Rams, then again, gained a regular-season finale to succeed in the playoffs and a wild-card sport at Seattle with the QB spot in flux due to accidents. A dominant protection led the best way.
Now, LA is the outlier within the NFC divisional spherical. Positive, Goff received his first two playoff victories on the best way to a Tremendous Bowl look two years in the past. Brady, Brees and Rodgers? Strive 50 playoff wins mixed.
AP Sports activities Writers John Wawrow, Tom Withers and Dave Skretta contributed.
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