Had he not been traded to Buffalo two months in the past, Payments operating again Nyheim Hines is aware of precisely the place he would have been on Monday night time.
Hynes could be glued to his TV watching the primary of what may very well be many-more-to-come duels between two of the NFL’s rising star quarterbacks in Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow.
“Completely,” Hines stated. “Allen versus Burrow, two nice quarterbacks, high 5 in my league and I may even say larger for both man, it’s undoubtedly something the world is watching and one thing that as a soccer fan like myself is worked up to see.”
Hynes won’t solely take pleasure in a ringside seat for a late-season showdown that can go far in figuring out who finishes first within the AFC, he additionally has some inside perspective on each quarterbacks.
“Most likely how he was in highschool is probably how he’s now, very calm,” Hines stated of Burrow, whom he performed with within the All-American highschool sport in California in January 2015.
“He was sort of like my head coach, Frank Reich,” he added , referring to his former coach in Indianapolis, who was fired after Hines was dealt to Buffalo. “Very stoic. Chilly-blooded. By no means panics. I see Joe the identical means.”
Hines’ respect for Allen has grown tremendously since joining the Payments.
“By any means obligatory. If it’s third-and-10, he’s gonna soar within the air, put his physique on the road to get that first down,” he stated. “After which one factor that individuals don’t notice about him is how good he’s. … I knew of his playmaking potential, however his playmaking potential overshadows his mind.”
Allen has the Payments (12-3) holding the within observe to ending first within the convention, and having already clinched their third straight AFC East title — their greatest run since a four-year stretch spanning 1988-91. The fifth-year participant ranks fourth within the league with 4,029 yards passing and third with 32 TDs passing coming into Week 17.
Burrow has the Bengals (11-4) a win or tie away from clinching their second consecutive AFC North title — one thing they’ve not performed since profitable consecutive AFC Central titles in 1981 and ’82. And the third-year participant ranks second within the NFL in each yards passing (4,260) and TDs passing (34) coming into Week 17.
Collectively, because the begin of the 2021 season, they’re tied for second with 68 landing passes, trailing solely Kansas Metropolis’s Patrick Mahomes (’74) coming into Week 17.
“I can’t wait to look at,” stated Ryan Fitzpatrick, the ex-journeyman quarterback who performed for each Buffalo and Cincinnati and now works as an analyst for Amazon Prime on “Thursday Night time Soccer.”
“What will get me excited concerning the Payments is that they have discovered methods to win with out solely counting on Josh,” Fitzpatrick stated. “However Josh has confirmed repeatedly he has broad sufficient shoulders to hold this staff on his again.”
As for Burrow, Fitzpatrick believes the Bengals quarterback may work his means into the NFL MVP dialog ought to Cincinnati vault each Buffalo and Kansas Metropolis (12-3) to win the AFC’s high seed.
Irrespective of the end result, Fitzpatrick stated he foresees “matchups between Burrow, Allen and Mahomes will probably be deciding the highest seed within the AFC for a few years to return.”
What’s charming about Monday night time’s sport is it being the primary between Burrow and Allen. The groups haven’t met since 2019, a 12 months earlier than the Bengals chosen Burrow with the No. 1 choose within the draft.
Burrow, meantime, is 3-0 in opposition to Mahomes, together with a win within the AFC championship sport final season. Allen is 2-3 in conferences in opposition to Mahomes, together with playoff losses in every of the previous two years.
Each quarterbacks performed down the hype focused on their particular person matchup, whereas acknowledging they’re mates and have a wholesome respect for each other.
“Everyone watches Josh. There’s no secrets and techniques about why he’s so good,” Burrow stated. “He makes throws no person else could make.”
Allen returned the praise.
“The dude’s all ball. He loves soccer. Actually, he’s a heckuva expertise, a heckuva participant,” Allen stated. “It’s been tremendous spectacular to look at and see his entire story, too. Going to Ohio State, transferring out, spending two years at LSU and arguably having one of many best seasons in faculty historical past.”
Each hail from small cities, Burrow is from The Plains, Ohio, and Allen from Firebaugh, California. And their faculty trajectory is comparable within the challenges they’ve needed to overcome.
Whereas Burrow was neglected at Ohio State, resulting in his transfer to LSU, Allen was ignored by most each Division I college earlier than touchdown a scholarship at Wyoming.
“I believe adversity hit them each,” stated ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. “There’s humility there with each of those guys. And on the similar time, there’s this uber confidence that’s so infectious and contagious that your teammates are like, ‘Let me simply be round you.’”
To Hasselbeck, it’s much like what he noticed throughout his years backing up Brett Favre. Not solely did Favre’s competitiveness present the Packers confidence, his mere presence influenced opposing groups particularly in how they approached the ultimate minutes of an in depth sport.
“There’s one thing about that type of competitiveness that opposing defenses and opposing coaches say, ‘Ah, shoot, we left an excessive amount of time on the clock,’” Hasselbeck stated. “Each these guys have captured that, which is fairly particular.”