Saturday and Sunday’s NFL-AFC divisional games feature four of the leagues’ top passing quarterbacks, three established names, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck and newcomer Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ signal caller in his second year, who led KC to a No. 1 seed this season, and a bye in Week 1 of the postseason.
Mahomes, ranked No. 2 in passing yards, threw for 5,097 total passing yards and 50 touchdowns, a 66 percent completion rate as a sophomore. He will take the field against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts around 4 p.m.
Luck, ranked No. 5, logged 4,593 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, completing 62.3 percent of his passes during the season. The Colts (10-6) are seeded No. 6 and advanced to the divisional round by defeating the Houston Texans, the No. 3 seed, 21-7 in the opening round of wild card games this past weekend.
Game 2 Sunday features five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, the most accomplished quarterback of all those participating, leading the New England Patriots, the No. 2 seed, also a bye team, hosting the Los Angeles Chargers led by QB Phillip Rivers.
The Patriots are the defending AFC champions, losing last year’s Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33.
Ranked seventh this season, Brady threw for 4,355 yards, 29 touchdowns, a 65.8 percent completion rate. Rivers was eighth with 4,308 passing yards and 32 touchdowns, a 68.3 percent completion rate.
Rivers’ fifth-seeded Chargers team defeated the Baltimore Ravens, seeded fourth, 23-17, Sunday, holding the Ravens to a field goal into the fourth quarter before both teams posted last quarter scoring drives.
Sunday’s win was only Rivers’ 10th playoff game in six seasons of his 14-year career. Drafted in 2004 in the first round by the Chargers, the fourth pick, Rivers, 37, an eight-time Pro Bowl player, has only advanced the Chargers as far as the AFC Championship once, losing to Brady and the Patriots in 2007. Brady has led the Patriots to 10 Super Bowls since the 2001-2002 season, the first quarterback to do so.
Neither the Colts nor the Chargers, both wild card and divisional road teams, have faced their upcoming opponents during the regular season.