With the NFL playoffs upon us, we're breaking down key questions to help you select the best Playoff Challenge team possible. So why not start where most offenses begin -- the quarterback position? Aaron Rodgers has been phenomenal this year and the Packers are a Super Bowl favorite as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. But with an extra game on the playoff schedule and lots of momentum, is Drew Brees a better play?
- Michael Fabiano NFL Network
All Saints, all the time
I am all in on the New Orleans Saints going to the Super Bowl, so I'm going with Drew Brees over Aaron Rodgers. If we have learned anything, it's that No. 1 seeds are no lock to reach the title game. It's often the hot team that reaches the finals, and that hot team this season is the Saints. New Orleans has won eight straight games and faces the Lions at home in wild card weekend. The last time Brees faced Detroit (Week 13), he threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and scored 25.68 fantasy points. Just one No. 1 seed from the NFC has reached the Super Bowl since 2007 -- ironically, that was the Saints in 2009. March on!
- Dave Dameshek NFL.com
Don't believe the Saints hype
As tempting as it would be to take the short-term gratification Drew Brees is sure to provide in the dome against Detroit's woeful pass defense (last seen getting torched by the less-than-legendary Matt Flynn), gimme the reigning Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers. Brees and company will be traveling to San Francisco for the divisional round, where the league's top-rated defense awaits. Rodgers, meanwhile, will see either a good-but-great Giants team or a good-but-great Falcons team, followed, presumably, by the Saints and their mediocre defense in Lambeau. Matter of fact, what makes everyone so sure New Orleans (which lost to the Bucs and Rams!) is gonna roll past Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson?
- Elliot Harrison NFL Network
Team effort boosts Brees' value
I take Drew Brees, but not because of Drew Brees. In fact, he's in for a stiff challenge at the 'Stick in the divisional playoffs. That said, Gregg Williams' defense hasn't allowed more than 24 points in a game since October. The Saints gave up 17 points or less in four of their last five games. Combine that performance with what Brees and the wide receiver-by-armada can do, and you have a team that can go all the way. Give me Brees, who will earn triple points in the NFC Championship and, possibly, quadruple points in Super Bowl XLVI.
- Adam Rank NFL.com
Big Ben chimes in
Quarterbacks, I'm going to pass on Drew Brees, but history shows that the Saints don't win outside in the playoffs, as evidenced by last year's debacle in Seattle and a few years back in the NFC Championship Game in Chicago. So I'm going to shy away from him. If you're looking for a true wild card, give Ben Roethlisberger a chance. The Steelers could be making a Super Bowl charge from the No. 5 spot, and in a wide-open AFC, anything is possible.
- Jason SmithNFL Network
Then there's option "C"
I'm going to go in the opposite direction from most people. I don't think it's about Rodgers or Brees, I think it's about taking Tom Brady as your QB. The Packers or Saints have a better chance of being knocked off before the Super Bowl than the Patriots do. So I'm going to take the path of least resistance, because I am almost sure I'm going to get Brady in the Super Bowl. The only concern I have is that New England might run up against Baltimore in the AFC Title game, but the Ravens are less worrisome than the field in the NFC. Brees is going to be a popular pick, but the Saints have never won a road playoff game. It's hard to pick against Rodgers, but because I think most people will go with him, if I pick Brady, New England makes it to the Super Bowl and the Packers are knocked off, I'm winning the playoff challenge, guaranteed.
- Matt "Money" Smith NFL.com
Double your points, double your fun
I'm taking Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are the prohibitive favorites to make the Super Bowl out of the NFC, but I can't wager double points from A-Rod against the opportunity to play Drew Brees in the dome, on the fast track, against a Detroit team that just gave up six touchdowns to Matt Flynn. Let's not forget the weather; right now, the forecast calls for the Packers to play in 21-degree temperatures in their first contest. Brees in Week 1 should have the most prolific quarterbacking performance of the postseason.
- NFL.com Staff NFL.com
Protect the football
It's simple. Take Aaron Rodgers all day and twice on Super Bowl Sunday (if the rules allowed). Yes, Drew Brees is currently hotter than black leather car seats in an Arizona summer, but people have ignored his one bugaboo -- turnovers. Brees tossed 14 interceptions this season, a notable drop-off from the 22 he threw last year, but still far more than the six (!!!) that Rodgers threw all year. If there's any team not named the Packers that can match New Orleans offensively, it's the Detroit Lions. And in the event that this wildcard game turns into a shootout, giving Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson extra possessions isn't recommended.