By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
The Josh Allen-Lamar Jackson AFC divisional playoff matchup in Buffalo Saturday night is another stark reminder for the league as well as for the Jets.
They easily could have drafted either quarterback with the third overall pick of the 2018 draft. Allen went seventh, and Jackson was 14th.
Allen and Jackson were red-flagged as being a “high risk” for their own reasons –erratic arms, maturity, etc. –, while Sam Darnold — at number three –was regarded as a safe selection.
So far, those critics don’t have much of a case left. One of them deservingly will try to get to Super Bowl XV through likely Kansas City next weekend.
Allen and Jackson will take another major step in their development toward bringing home a crown for their respective cities, as they square off in what should be the most entertaining game of the weekend.
Their running abilities will dictate the outcome of this one — what defense can best put the clamps on the opposing quarterback.
More importantly, though, this dual outshines the Tom Brady-Drew Brees matchup Sunday night.
Allen and Jackson (along with Patrick Mahomes, of course) have taken the torch from Brady and Brees.
You can add fellow playoff signal callers Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff to the mix
Both Brady and Brees are in the twilight, while Allen, Jackson, Mayfield, and Goff are in the spotlight.
The age of the run-pass option quarterback officially has been stamped.
Allen has recorded MVP-line numbers and has taken the Bills to next level to slide into a perennial AFC East titleist. He has matured and avoided the costly mistakes of his first two seasons, and has carried them on his back.
Against Indianapolis last week, Allen’s 54 yards rushing with a touchdown proved to be the difference in a tight, 27-24, contest until the end. He threw for 324 yards with a pair of scores, and is the first quarterback to surpass 4,500 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in a season.
Because of Allen, Jackson hasn’t received the fansfar and has been under the radar most of this season after his MVP campaign last year. Still, his numbers (2,757 yards passing, 26 touchdowns, 9 interceptions) can’t be disputed.
Jackson jarred everyone’s memory of his talents when he single handedly beat Cleveland in a wild 47-42 in a late December pivotal Monday night game, and he took care of Tennessee last week.
Against the Titans, Jackson threw for 179 and ran for 136, It was another of his productive dual threat afternoons that have flashed reminders of Michael Vick. Yet, Jackson looks better.
If Baker Mayfield can continue to ride the huge wave from their stunning win in Pittsburgh last week, either the Bills or Browns would be the top seed.
So Allen or Jackson will meet Mahomes or Mayfield next week in one of the many anticipated future showdowns of the new age of quarterback.
As for the Jets, Darnold can still join the crowd.