Saturday’s AFC Divisional between the Ravens and Bills features two of the best quarterbacks taken in the 2018 NFL Draft. Josh Allen was selected 7th overall by the Bills, Lamar Jackson selected 32nd overall by the Ravens.
Both quarterbacks were highly questioned coming into the NFL, but are now two of the final eight quarterbacks fighting to win a Super Bowl this season.
“He’s just helping his team out a lot,” Jackson said on Allen. “He’s one of the key reasons they’re putting up so many points and winning games. Hats off to Josh because he’s been doing it since his rookie season.”
There’s a lot of mutual respect between these two signal callers, who became friends during the pre-Draft process.
“He’s just one of those guys you root for,” Allen said on Jackson. “It’s hard not to root for him when you play against him. We’re enemies on Saturday and we both know that.”
Jackson got his team to a 12-5 record, returning to his 2019 NFL MVP form after returning from a positive COVID-19 result. He helped Baltimore to its first playoff win since 2014 off his 136 yards on 16 carries (8.5 avg.) with one rushing touchdown, no passing TDs, one interception and 179 yards on 17 completions against the Titans.
In the regular season, he led the league’s quarterbacks in rushing yards with 1,005 yards on 159 carries. Jackson also led the entire league in yards per carry with a 6.3 average.
“I think its great for the league when you have young quarterbacks playing like these two,” Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott said of Saturday’s AFC Divisional quarterbacks.
Allen gets things done in a different way for the Bills. After much criticism on his accuracy, Allen improved 10 ticks in completion percentage. In 2020, his 69.2 completion percentage is good for fourth in the league. He turned in 4,544 passing yards with 37 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions this season.
“It’s a young Ben Roethlisberger because of his size and how he extends plays with like [Dan] Marino’s arm,” said Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
Wink thinks he has his secondary ready for the challenge. His team ranks sixth in the NFL against the pass, allowing just 221 yards per game.
Whichever quarterback wins on Saturday, it will be the player’s second playoff win of their careers and their first chance at winning an AFC Championship.
Kickoff is Saturday at 8:15 at night in Orchard Park, NY.