Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers – the NFL’s final four quarterbacks

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Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms discusses Patrick Mahomes’ concussion and the likelihood he’ll play on Championship Sunday, while also looking at the four star QBs set to feature as a whole.

The NFL’s final four heading into Championship Sunday is certainly not lacking in headlines, particularly at the quarterback position.

At the ‘semi-final’ stage of the NFL season, we have the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Buffalo Bills, who go in search of a first-ever title, while there’s also a meeting between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers and their future Hall of Fame QBs.

Tom Brady (Buccaneers) has won a record six Super Bowl rings already, while Rodgers (Packers) goes in search of a second to cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats. As for the other matchup, there are concerns over the availability of reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes after he suffered from concussion in the Chiefs’ win last weekend.

To look ahead to Championship Sunday and assess all of the various storylines surrounding each quarterback clash, we drafted in the help of former NFL QB Chris Simms from Pro Football Talk – click on the video above for more and read on below…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers

Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, 8.05pm

Tom Brady vs Aaron Rodgers

Background: Brady’s Bucs beat Rodgers’ Packers in their Week Six regular season meeting, with Rodgers picked off twice in a 38-10 loss.

This is the pair’s first-ever postseason meeting, with Brady currently having the edge in their career head-to-head record with two wins from three.

1:03 Aaron Rodgers throws a pick six interception in the Packers’ loss to the Buccaneers earlier in the season.

Stats: Brady (43) and Rodgers (37) will be a combined 80 years and 227 days old on Sunday and have combined for 147,740 passing yards and 1,112 passing touchdowns in their careers (including playoffs). All three of those are records for opposing QBs entering a head-to-head Conference Championship matchup.

Simms: “This is the matchup we’ve all wanted for years and years in a Super Bowl but, nonetheless, we’ll take it. I can’t wait to watch this!

“Brady is widely considered the GOAT. He is so clutch, he always wins, with 14 Championship Game appearances. And he now goes up against the guy who I think is the greatest quarterback of all time.

“If you ask me who is the greatest quarterback I’ve seen in my life, I will answer Rodgers every single time. I know he doesn’t have the Super Bowl rings and everything like that, but it’s a team sport and he needs some help.

2:47 Relive some of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ best plays for Green Bay as they beat the Rams to reach the NFC Championship Game.

“I’d like to think that if Rodgers was in New England, they would have won six Super Bowls too – maybe more.

“That’s always the debate here. That’s part of this great rivalry and what we’ll see on Sunday.”

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

Background: This is Rodgers’ fifth appearance in a Conference Championship game, but the first one that will be hosted in Green Bay after they clinched the NFC No 1 seed with a 13-3 record this season. He is looking to return to the Super Bowl for just the second time, having won it last time out to end the 2010 season.

Stats: Rodgers led the NFL in completion percentage (70.7), pass TDs (48), TD-INT ratio (48-5) and passer rating (121.5) in the 2020 regular season.

2:03 Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was proud of his Green Bay side as they secured their spot in the NFC Championship Game.

Simms: “He always amazes me. With everything he does.

“He is the quickest to 300 touchdown passes, quickest to 40,000 yards, he is a gunslinger and yet he has the greatest touchdown-interception ratio in the history of football, as well as the greatest quarterback rating in history. He is the greatest single talent I’ve ever seen at the position.

0:53 Aaron Rodgers says he ‘went to the kitchen and poured a tequila’ after Green Bay’s selection of quarterback Jordan Love with their 2020 Draft first-round pick.

“In a year where they drafted a quarterback for the future [Jordan Love] and did all of these odd things in the offseason, he told them ‘I’m still really good’.

“Rodgers is definitely going to win the MVP – a very special year for him.”

Tom Brady (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Background: After his offseason move from the New England Patriots, Brady inspired the Buccaneers to an 11-5 record in 2020, resulting in a first trip to the postseason for the franchise in 13 years.

Stats: Brady has won an NFL-record six Super Bowls. This will be his 14th appearance in a Conference Championship game and first in the NFC.

Brady has more Conference Championship wins (9) than any other QB has starts, with Joe Montana’s seven appearances the next best – but only half of Brady’s tally.

2:04 Watch some of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady’s best plays from his three-touchdown win over New Orleans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Simms: “This is why they got Tom Brady. It has been a long time; they’ve only had one Super Bowl appearance, it has been a long time since they’ve been in the playoffs – I was on the team then, back in 2007, so it has been forever.

“Brady is no longer one of the top four or five best quarterbacks in football, but he is still really good. And the fact that he has delivered and played so much in these moments too, it gives the whole organisation confidence – ‘we’ve got a guy in here who has been there, done that’.

“Nothing is going to make him nervous. He’s as clutch as can be. That gives great confidence to the guys in the locker room and the coaches as well.”

0:26 Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees took time to catch up after their divisional playoff battle, and Brady even threw a touchdown pass for Brees’ son.

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, 11.40pm

Josh Allen vs Patrick Mahomes

Background: Mahomes’ Chiefs beat Allen’s Bills 26-17 in their Week Six regular season meeting, with Mahomes 21-of-26 passing, for 226 yards and two TDs. Allen completed just 14 of 27 throws for 122 yards, two TDs and one pick.

5:54 Highlights from Kansas City’s 26-17 win over Buffalo from Week Six of the regular season.

Stats: Allen and Mahomes were the only QBs to average 300+ total yards per game and account for 40+ total touchdowns this season.

If Mahomes starts, the 2020 AFC Championship Game will be the first playoff game in NFL history between opposing starting QBs that averaged 300+ total YPG, accounted for 40+ total TD, and had a 100+ passer rating in that regular season.

Simms: “Mahomes is very special, and that’s why I’m excited to see this matchup, as you’ve got a guy in Josh Allen, who is a lot like him.

“You watch them both and go, ‘Woah, he made that throw! Are you kidding me? That must be luck.’ But when they do it 70 times in a row, you start to see it’s not luck and they’re just that good.

“That’s where it’s amazing because against both of these guys, you can have the perfect defense, stop the play that has been called, get pressure on the quarterback, and they can still overcome all of those things, get out of the pocket and throw a laser. That’s why they’re so awesome; they’re special enough talents to make up for those issues.

“This is the ultimate matchup.”

Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)

Background: Mahomes is in the concussion protocol after leaving the Divisional Round win over the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter. Mahomes must complete a five-step process, which includes sign off by an independent neurological consultant, for him to be cleared to practice in full and play on Sunday.

Stats: If healthy, Mahomes will be the first QB in NFL history to start in three Conference Championship games prior to his 26th birthday.

Mahomes is 5-1 in his postseason career (lone loss: 2018 AFC Championship vs New England).

3:09 Relive some of Patrick Mahomes’ best plays for Kansas City in the first half against Cleveland before the star quarterback suffered an injury.

Simms: “It’s certainly the big story in the US, as far as sports is concerned [whether Mahomes will play].

“It’s the final four; he is the best player in our sport – and we all want to see the best football on Championship Sunday.

“I want to see Allen vs Mahomes, two of the most talented guys we have in the game.

“Mahomes is the most magical, creative-with-the-ball player in the NFL right now. He is the best player this league has to offer.

“Everybody is holding their breath. I will say this; over the last few years in the NFL, it’s rare that guys stay in concussion protocol and miss a game.

“I’m never going to lack sensitivity towards someone’s head, but it wasn’t the most egregious, worst-looking hit we’ve ever seen before, so I would think that when Sunday comes around, he’s ready to go and ready to roll.

“Otherwise, first of all, I’m going to cry on Sunday morning! I’m so excited to see this matchup that I’d feel cheated.

0:49 Backup quarterback Chad Henne’s crucial third-down run late on saw Kansas City close in on victory over Cleveland in the Divisional Round.

“Of course it will be a different game [if Mahomes doesn’t play]. I don’t say that they definitely lose if Chad Henne plays, but it would have to take something special for that not to happen – their defense might have to get an interception or strip-sack fumble of Allen.

“Let’s just keep our fingers crossed.”

Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)

Background: Allen, the No 7 pick from the 2018 Draft, has seen the sharpest leap in his game this season, throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 TDs – breaking both of Jim Kelly’s franchise records – and steering the team to 13 wins and their first division title and playoff successes since 1995.

Stats: Allen was not born yet the last time that the Bills went to the Super Bowl (1993 season).

Simms: “I think Josh Allen this year hit the stratosphere of Mahomes and Rodgers, as far as talent and a guy who can win games almost by himself at times.

“There has been a portion of our country who have been haters on Allen, they didn’t want to get behind this no-name guy from this no-name college in Wyoming – who didn’t really do anything special there.

“I think people who really follow the sport already think that Allen has arrived, but to the casual fan, they probably think Allen is good but has not quite got there yet.

“If he gets to the Super Bowl, winning a game like this, on the road, against Mahomes, everybody will be unified that he’s awesome as there will be nothing else you can say about him.”

Who makes the Super Bowl?

“My early lean right now is Kansas City – I’m not going to pick against them until I see them lose a game like this – and then the other matchup, I’m still not sure. I’m going back and forth on this one.

“I do think the fact that it’s in Lambeau, in Green Bay, makes me lean their way just a little bit. But I don’t feel that comfortable with that and, full transparency, that could change between now and Sunday. That’s a tough one to call.”

Watch Championship Sunday in the NFL playoffs – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs – live on Sky Sports NFL from 7pm, Sunday

Sourse: skysports.com

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