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  • Ben Margot / AP

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles as San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) pursues him in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/ Ben Margot)

  • Jeffrey Phelps / AP

    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs against Green Bay Packers defense during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.


Which young quarterback in this weekend's NFL playoffs would you build a team around?

Leading Off: NFL’s 8 playoff QBs each the real deal

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 - 5:49 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 - 5:59 pm

NFL’s 8 playoff QBs each the real deal

Things can’t get much better for NFL fans than this weekend’s four playoff games.

As a friend pointed out the other day, all eight quarterbacks are top-notch talents – there’s not a Kyle Orton in the bunch – with four seasoned veterans and four younger guys just starting to blossom.

On Saturday, it’s the Saints’ Drew Brees, 34, against the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, 25, followed by the Patriots’ Tom Brady, 36, against the Colts’ Andrew Luck, 24. On Sunday, Colin Kaepernick, 26, leads the 49ers against the Panthers and Cam Newton, 24, then the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, 32, goes against the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, 37.

Not one of these eight quarterbacks is in danger of losing his job after the season, and that’s the way it should be in the playoffs – the best players in the most important games.

The 49ers-Panthers game is the only one involving two youngsters, a showdown between strong-armed quarterbacks who also can take off running. The outcome likely will come down to which one has more success against the other team’s staunch defense.

In the Colts’ dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Chiefs last weekend, Luck showed he’s as good as any of the league’s top young quarterbacks, and his game-winning throw was a daring thing of beauty. His reward? He gets to face Brady, who has 17 postseason victories and has won three Super Bowl rings.

The numbers posted by Brees and Rivers this season certainly put them among the game’s elite. Brees has passed for more than 5,000 yards four times, and Rivers completed a league-best 69.5 percent of his passes this season.

Most impressive of all is the season Manning had, statistically the greatest ever with 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.

Any two of these eight quarterbacks would be fun to watch in Super Bowl XLVIII.

What to do

NBA, Orlando at Kings,

7 p.m., Sleep Train Arena: The Magic has lost 11 in a row against Western Conference teams.

Today’s poll

Which young quarterback in this weekend’s NFL playoffs would you most want to build a team around?

• Colin Kaepernick

• Andrew Luck

• Cam Newton

• Russell Wilson

Vote above, or go to

Thursday’s poll results

Do you feel secure that the Kings will never leave Sacramento?

• Yes, I can’t wait for the new arena: 75%

• Maybe, if the arena opens on time: 18%

• No, the arena won’t ever be built: 8%

Total votes: 346

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Read more articles by Tom Couzens

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