LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With only four games to go in the 2014 NFL season, the AFC has one of its tightest playoff races in history. Six teams are tied at 7-5 (CLE, PIT, BAL, BUF, KC, MIA), two tied at 8-4 (IND, SD), one at 8-3-1 (CIN) and two at the top at 9-3. The winningest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL in the final four games of the season will square off Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium – Philip Rivers vs. Tom Brady. In crunch time, Rivers has a jaw-breaking record of 29-3 while Tom Brady is at 40-8. However, Brady has the upper hand as Rivers has yet to beat Brady in any game. To show how impressive those stats are, we present you the top 5 winningest quarterbacks in the final four games of the regular season.
1. Philip Rivers (29-3): When it comes December, Philip Rivers can ball! Although he has yet to take the Chargers to the Super Bowl or win an MVP unlike the other four, Rivers is the all-time winningest QB in the final four games of the season at a whopping 29 wins and 3 losses (.906). He will be tested in 2014, as his team has the toughest remaining schedule in the league. It will start Sunday, when they face Tom Brady, who ranks second on the list. ”I’ve never played them by myself, thank goodness,” Rivers said. ”We’ve never played this Patriot team. We’re 0-0 against this group. There’s a lot of guys in that locker room that have never played the Patriots in their life. You can’t really say this team is 1-5 against them.”
2. Tom Brady: Arguably the best active quarterback in the league, Tom Brady will face the Chargers on Sunday night with a 5-0 career record against Philip Rivers. There is no surprise Brady is second on this list (.833) as his name appears all over NFL career records. “This is the strength of our team; it’s not my strength,” said Brady at practice Thursday. “I think that really speaks to the work ethic, the discipline of our guys, the mental toughness.” The California native has won three Super Bowls along with two NFL MVPs. In 2007, he was AP’s Male Athlete of the Year.
3. Roger Staubach (24-6): Hall of Famer Roger Staubach was the first of four players to win both the Heisman and the Super Bowl MVP. Staubach, who is also in the College Football Hall of Fame, was drafted by the Cowboys in 1964 but did not make his debut until 1969 due to serving the Vietnam War. He has 153 career touchdowns with 22,700 yards.
4. Joe Montana (35-12): Joe Cool Montana, who has the most Super Bowl rings as a quarterback, is one of the best quarterbacks to have ever played the game. Famously known for throwing “The Catch” in the 1982 NFC Championship, Montana has a winning percentage of .745 down the stretch. He owns too many records and awards to mention, but the highlights are: three-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time league MVP and an NCAA championship with Notre Dame. NFL.com ranks Montana as best NFL quarterback to ever play the game.
5. Steve McNair (28-10): Drafted by the Houston Oilers, Steve “Air” McNair ranks fifth in winning percentage in the final four games at .737. He led the Tennessee Titans to an AFC title in 2000 but failed to win the championship, losing to St. Louis, 23-16, in Super Bowl XXXIV. In 13 seasons, McNair, who won an MVP in 2003, threw for 31,304 yards with 174 touchdowns. On July 4, 2009, McNair was killed in condominium he rented in Nashville by young woman, who then turned the gun on herself.