Who Were the Most In-Form Quarterbacks Heading Into the NFL Playoffs?

February 6, 2024 by Staff

The NFL postseason is nearing its conclusion with both the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers punching their ticket to contest Super Bowl LVIII inside Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium. The former are the reigning champions however, they headed into the playoffs with plenty of questions looming over them. They have answered them resoundingly however, thumping the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead before back-to-back underdog victories on the road in Buffalo and Baltimore secured their fourth trip to the Big Game in five years.

If they are to lift the Lombardi once again however - becoming the first team to successfully retain the trophy in almost 20 years in the process - then they will have to win their third straight game as underdogs. The latest football oddshave made Patrick Mahomes and Co. the +116 betting undergoes, while the NFC top seed 49ers are the short-priced -126 favorites. Brock Purdy's men have narrowly edged both the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium, and it remains to be seen as to whether they can now go all the way to championship glory. 

Throughout the last six weeks, the most important position on the field, the quarterback, has been under even more scrutiny than usual. A good QB can take a team a long way in the playoffs, while a bad one can sink a team’s Super Bowl aspirations. But who were the most in-form QBs heading into the postseason? Let's find out.

Joe Flacco

At 38 years old, Joe Flacco has stunned everybody's expectations by emerging as a standout quarterback entering the playoffs. His journey to the Cleveland Browns, which began mid-season, surprised many, given the team's initial success in the AFC North. The Ohio outfit was already flying high in their division, beating the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers in the opening weeks of their campaign to give fans hopes of rejuvenating the ailing franchise.

Even being plagued by a string of injuries couldn't halt their momentum. In fact, it catapulted them further into the limelight. Pivoting to their fifth quarterback of the season surprisingly added the missing piece of the puzzle as Joe Flacco was brought in from the doldrums after spending 12 months on the sidelines and he immediately hit the ground running, throwing for 311 yards and three touchdowns in just his second start against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the weeks that followed, he managed to notch up an impressive 1,600 throwing yards and a formidable 13 touchdowns in a mere five games.

Ultimately, however, his form meant nothing. The Browns were unable to get passed the Houston Texans in the wildcard round, with rival quarterback C.J. Stroud stealing the show with yet another blistering display.

Lamar Jackson

Much to Flacco's disappointment his Browns fell short of conquering the AFC North this season as it was the Baltimore Ravens who snatched the coveted crown. The Maryland side's electrifying performances were largely attributed to quarterback Lamar Jackson's skill, which propelled them to the Divisional Round as the AFC's leading team.

Lamar Jackson has made a significant impact in the NFL in just a few seasons. Entering the professional arena, the former Louisville Cardinal rapidly emerged as a star player for the M&T Bank Stadium team. In sophomore year with the Ravens, his remarkable performance led him to win the MVP award, with unanimous approval, becoming only the second individual to achieve such a feat.

Overcoming setbacks from subsequent seasons marred by injuries, the 27-year-old quarterback has returned in top form this season, leading his team to a stellar 13-4 regular season record and clinching the AFC North. This year, Jackson achieved personal bests by throwing over 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns, while also rushing for over 800 yards and scoring an additional five times.

His efforts have reestablished him as a prominent figure in the league. However, postseason glory still eludes him as his Ravens were downed by Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs, who ran out 17-10 victories in the AFC Championship game, sealing their spot at Super Bowl LVIII in the process.

Josh Allen

Josh Allen has made a name for himself with his fearless style of playing that involves not just accurate throwing but also strategic use of his legs. His prowess on the field has significantly contributed to the team's rise as a dominant force in recent seasons, and they cemented that status by clinching the AFC East title for the fourth consecutive year. Although Buffalo's 2023 season began with some rocky moments, their marked improvement in the past few weeks has cemented their status as a formidable challenger in the upcoming postseason.

In the current season, the former University of Wyoming standout's performance has been stellar. His recent stats reflect a passer rating of a remarkable 92.2, showcasing a mighty completion rate of 66.5% for a total of 4,306 yards - a feat that stands only second to his personal record. He's also scored 29 touchdowns through the air.

His agility and effective rush style are also apparent, with an additional 15 touchdowns scored on the ground, marking a career high, and making him a nightmare for any defense. This is particularly evident due to the Bills' strategic focus on rushing plays, contributing to Allen's multifaceted impact on the team's successes.