NFL Playoff QB Breakdown: Drew Brees vs. Case Keenum

Last Updated: 2018-01-12

The divisional round of the NFL Playoffs has an interesting dichotomy on hand when it comes to quarterback play. On one hand, four veteran quarterbacks have reached the Super Bowl. Drew Brees is one of the quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl title. Meanwhile, Case Keenum has never started a postseason game in his NFL life.

After a three-year hiatus from the postseason. Brees is back with a new and improved offensive repertoire. The New Orleans Saints finished (11-5) in the regular season and won the NFC South. Brees led the Saints to a Wild Card win over the Carolina Panthers in the best game of the weekend. Now, the Saints have to do the rest of their damage on the road unless they advance to play the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. However, Brees has to battle against the best defense in the NFL on Sunday evening.

During Brees’ lone Super Bowl run, he completed 70-of-102 passes for 732 yards and 8 touchdowns. Brees didn’t throw a single interception, while completing 70 percent of his pass attempts in that 2009-10 season. Since then, Brees has not had the most success in the postseason. He’s (3-3) in his last six playoff games, including the win over the Panthers last weekend. Brees was right around his regular season average in the win. He was 23-of-33 passing for 376 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interceptions.

However, this playoff performance was far different than the Brees we’ve been accustomed to seeing in prior playoff runs. For example, he completed 39-of-60 pass attempts in the loss to Seattle in 2010. The Saints split a pair of playoff games against Detroit and San Francisco in 2011. He was 33-of-43 in a win over the Lions. However, Brees connected on 40-of-63 passes in the loss to the 49ers. The 2013 season ended with a postseason split as well. Brees was 44-of-73 passing in the two combined games. In all, Brees has a (7-5) playoff record, however, he has never won a playoff game when he attempted 40 or more passes. Therefore, everybody knows the limit of Brees’ right arm.

There isn’t much to know about Case Keenum and his playoff history. First of all, he doesn’t have any playoff history. Fortunately, Keenum has been a blessing for the Vikings’ offense in 2017. Remember, Keenum came into the season with 24 regular season starts. He was (9-15) as a starter with stints in Houston and St, Louis/LA Rams. Yet, Keenum flourished with an (11-3) record in his first season with the Vikings.

By far, this was Keenum’s most productive season. He accounted for 22 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions, while completing 67 percent of his pass attempts. Due to better accuracy, Keenum amassed 10.9 yards per completion and threw for 3,574 yards.

Keenum didn’t face the Saints in the season-opener back in September. Therefore, this will be the first time the Saints and Keenum get acquainted on Sunday. Unlike the other inexperienced playoff quarterbacks, Keenum is favored to win the game. The Vikings are five point home favorites as of Thursday night and that number doesn’t seem inclined to change prior to kickoff. Therefore, Keenum might have more pressure than usual. How he handles that pressure will be key if he is playing in the NFC Championship game or looking for a potentially looking for a new football home.

The Vikings scored 23.9 points per game, while the Saints scored 28 points per game in 2017. Yet, the question remains, does Keenum have the juice to win a shootout with Brees? Both offenses have skill positions worthy of a Super Bowl run. Yet, Keenum is the one that has to prove he can win on the biggest stage. Furthermore, the Saints would love to dominate in the ground game to give Brees a break from the Vikings’ pass rush.

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