4. Deshaun Watson, Texans Watson led the Texans to the AFC South title for the second straight season, and his numbers are almost identical to last season. In the first round against Buffalo, Watson has a chance to erase the sting of last year’s wild card clunker in the loss to the Colts and set up a rematch against Baltimore and Lamar Jackson. That is a continuation of what was a spectacular college rivalry. The Ravens, however, won the regular-season matchup 41-7. Can the Texans rise to that level with Watson? 5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers Rodgers needs a second Super Bowl ring to silence the critics. Green Bay finished 13-3 this season and will have a first-round bye, but it will likely face New Orleans or Seattle in that game. The Packers have not had a first-round twice under Rodgers. The first led to a shocking loss to New York in 2011-12. The second was a win against Dallas in 2014-15. Rodgers had a 95.4 quarterback rating under first-year coach Matt LaFleur. He’s 36, so it’s fair to wonder how many more opportunities like this are left. 6. Ryan Tannehill, Titans Tannehill is an unrestricted free agent next season, so he’s out to prove he can be a franchise quarterback — a career-long quest that could land him on a third team in eight seasons. Tannehill got hot in the second half of the season for Tennessee. He threw two or more TDs in nine of the Titans’ last 10 games. Tennessee is just a 5.5-point underdog in New England. Could he be the one to end the Patriots’ run like we all predicted in August? (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/9a/9d/deshaun-watson-010220-getty-ftrjpg_1w6j2ytxmpvrj1xqb5924p6i2k.jpg?t=1729841591&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/ba/55/jimmy-garoppolo-110419-getty-ftrjpg_1tt8iwg55oen013kxl4jimvvq8.jpg?t=942559719&w=500&quality=80 (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/cd/f4/patrick-mahomes-101319-getty-ftr_119qz7c7v9krc1x2rh5vc3kp0h.jpg?t=-960293051&w=500&quality=80 7. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs Last year’s MVP led the Chiefs to the AFC championship game in his first playoff run. They will be expected to close the deal this year knowing they got the bye after finishing the regular season on a six-game win streak. Mahomes is healthy, but his numbers weren’t off the charts during that win streak with the Chiefs finding ways to win without being so reliant on their quarterback. New England likely will visit Arrowhead Stadium in two weeks. A loss there would be more damning for Andy Reid, but the hype around Mahomes would be dialed back a bit, too.8. Lamar Jackson, Ravens We mentioned Jackson will likely be the MVP, and he’s taken the league by storm with a season that included 3,127 passing yards and 36 TDs with 1,206 rushing yards and seven TDs. It’s an unbelievable year that continues with home-field advantage, and Jackson can show what he learned from last year’s wild-card loss to the Chargers. There is always pressure to reach the Super Bowl. Jackson often gets compared to Michael Vick, who was 2-3 as a starter in the postseason. Jackson will do better than that, but it starts with getting that first playoff win. There is more pressure on Jackson than the next quarterback on this list simply because expectations are higher. 9. Josh Allen, Bills Allen can relate to that. He was in the same draft class as Jackson, and he has the Bills back in the playoffs for the second time in three years. He’s proven his worth with a 15-12 record as a starter and led Buffalo to a 10-win season. The Bills have not won a playoff game since 1995, however, and Allen is tasked with breaking a string of five consecutive postseason losses. The feeling that Buffalo is just be happy to be there won’t last forever. 1. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers San Francisco quarterbacks are held to a higher standard in the playoffs. The 49ers have been the No. 1 seed eight times – and they won Super Bowls with Joe Montana three times and Steve Young once in that spot. The 1987-88 divisional round loss to Minnesota is still talked about. The other three bye-week QBs have MVP credentials, assuming Jackson wins the award. Garoppolo can prove he belongs with the big boys and follow the lead of those immortal San Francisco QBs. 2. Kirk Cousins, Vikings This is Year 2 of that infamous three-year, $84 million contract, and Cousins has yet to win the NFC North or a playoff game — which Case Keenum accomplished in 2017. The Vikings are stuck on the road as eight-point underdogs against the Saints — the largest spread of wild-card weekend. Cousins does not have to lead Minnesota to the Super Bowl. But if the Vikings get blown out here, the same old questions are coming in the final year of his deal. 3. Carson Wentz, Eagles Wentz is making his first playoff start, and this comes in the shadow of the last two playoff runs with Nick Foles. Of the 12 quarterbacks in the playoffs, Wentz was the highest draft pick at No. 2. He’s 32-24 as a starter, but the results have been up and down this season. A victory against the playoff-seasoned Seahawks would keep the boo birds off Wentz’s back, but at 27 years old it’s time to make that happen. All 12 of the quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL playoffs have something to prove. Whether it’s a six-time Super Bowl winner like 42-year-old Tom Brady, an electrifying probable first-time MVP in 22-year-old Lamar Jackson or any of the quarterbacks in between, a championship would silence the critics. Seven of the quarterbacks in this year’s playoff field have yet to win a playoff game. Here are those quarterbacks, sorted by age from youngest to oldest:QBsAGEMVPPLAYOFFSSUPER BOWLLamar Jackson2200-10-0Josh Allen2300-00-0Deshaun Watson2400-10-0Patrick Mahomes2411-10-0Carson Wentz2700-00-0Jimmy Garoppolo2800-00-0Kirk Cousins3100-10-0Ryan Tannehill3100-00-0Russell Wilson3108-51-1Aaron Rodgers3629-71-0Drew Brees4008-71-0Tom Brady42330-106-3Knowing that, Sporting News ranked the 12 playoff quarterbacks by those with the most to prove against those who have less on the line in these playoffs. NFL POWER RANKINGSEvery playoff team’s real chances to win Super Bowl 54 (Credit: Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/7c/bc/russell-wilson-getty-ftr-110319_kyalf3ltes413htqeef9n4nz.jpg?t=869938310&w=500&quality=80 10. Russell Wilson, Seahawks Wilson is in the first year of a four-year, $140 million deal, and now he’s tasked with leading another Super Bowl run. It won’t be easy out of the wild-card slot, and a win against Philadelphia would set up a rubber-match with the 49ers. Seattle has not advanced to the NFC championship game since the 2014-15 Super Bowl run that ended at the goal line against New England. Can Wilson get another shot with the return of Marshawn Lynch? 11. Drew Brees, Saints Brees’ contact is up at the end of the season, and he will turn 41 during the playoffs. He’s 8-7 all time in the postseason, and the Saints have endured back-to-back heart-breaking playoff losses the last two seasons. Brees has so many NFL records, but keep in mind he was a snub on the NFL 100 team. Another Super Bowl run out of the wild-card slot would prove that list wrong and perhaps keep Brees in New Orleans for another year or two. 12. Tom Brady, Patriots Brady has nothing left to prove in New England. He’s 30-10 all time in the postseason — an absurd stat no matter how many times you look at it. The six-time Super Bowl winner also will see his contract end at the end of the season, and it’s not unfathomable he ends up somewhere else if the Patriots decide to move on. New England lost three of its last five games and did not beat any of the other AFC division winners in the regular season. Can Brady pull off a run outside of the comforts of Gillette Stadium?