Former NFL star Jason Bell provides his thoughts on the latest events in the National Football League as we enter the Divisional Round of the postseason...
Brady On The Move
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football and I do think that was Tom Brady’s last game in Tampa Bay.
However, I don’t think it was his last game in the NFL and as I said last week, the Las Vegas Raiders look a good fit.
He’s done pretty much all you can do in the NFL, but has really nurtured and developed a quarterback? I don’t think he really has, and at the Raiders he has the opportunity to do that.
He can help Las Vegas with their culture and with what Josh McDaniels is trying to do, so that in the seasons to come they can be a force again. It’s almost his time to give them a parting gift and show them how the quarterback position is played.
The last year of his career, in my view, will be more of a ‘let me give back’ scenario.
No reason to suggest Jones and the Giants can’t keep rolling
There were plenty of standout performances during the Wildcard weekend, but the player that really stood out for me was Daniel Jones.
Alongside Dak Prescott, he was the player that really excelled and they were the two that really upped their level of performance compared to what we thought they’d produce. Jones really staked his place for having a future with the New York Giants.
They take on the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend and they can definitely cause another upset, particularly if Jones turns up again.
Their defensive line, led by the brilliant Dexter Lawrence is a match for anyone and if you’re going to beat Philly then you’ve got to get past their offensive line which is their big strength.
The strength of the Giants’ defense is certainly their defensive line, so they have the arsenal to hurt the Eagles, it’s just a matter of whether they can execute on the day.
Having said that, I’d just favour the Eagles here. I can see AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith both having big games and feel that might end up being the difference. It will be tight, but I’d just favour the Eagles, particularly at home, to get the job done.
Brian Daboll for Coach of the Year
Win or lose this weekend, Brian Daboll certainly has my vote for Coach of the Year. He’s done a really amazing job with the franchise and the fact he’s done it with largely the same people as the old set-up had shows that.
If you didn’t really have anything to compare it to it would be hard to judge, but the way he’s coached these guys to get them to play at their best is a real achievement.
Offensive line issues a worry for Cincinnati but don’t count them out
You have to be worried about the injuries to the offensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals ahead of their encounter with the Buffalo Bills because in all honesty, I’d be all in on them if they were fit and healthy.
However, Joe Burrow has had these problems before, and he finds a way to mitigate the pressure and get the ball out fast enough to avoid getting sacked in the NFL.
He sees it like one of the elite players do and he’s playing really well, which you can certainly say isn’t the case with his opposing quarterback Josh Allen.
Allen isn’t performing at his best right now and he comes up against a much better defense this week than he did against Miami.
Bread and butter 🤞 pic.twitter.com/KjBqwCeYi5— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 19, 2023
He won’t be allowed to throw those bombs downfield with such ease here, simply because Cincinnati just won’t let him, and they’ll make him fight for every inch.
Does he have the offensive weapons to deal with it? I’m not sure and if anything I’d probably come down on the side of no.
I see this game coming down to the fact that if the Bengals beat-up offensive line can protect Joe Burrow, we know he has the weapons to do serious damage.
In contrast, if they can slow down the Bills’ run game and make him throw, does he have the same weapons? I’m not so sure.
Rodgers will stay put
I think Aaron Rodgers will stay with the Green Bay Packers, especially if he wants to. He’s got plenty of leverage with the contract situation at Green Bay and I’m not even sure he wants to start over anywhere anyway.
Those cryptic messages, in my opinion, are all a bit of a play to get him what he wants, so I don’t think see him going anywhere.
He just likes the scare tactics and I think he’s too invested in the franchise and the city to up sticks and change it all, particularly at this stage of his career.
I’m not sure he wants to do what Brady has done, so I’d expect him to be in Green Bay come the start of the next campaign.