NFL Series – Football: Against all odds: the surprise against « Mr. Irrelevant »


Watch the Seahawks-49ers duel on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on RDS and RDS.ca.

Going back to before the start of the 2022 NFL season, a majority of pundits and fans would have ranked the Seattle Seahawks among the favorites to get the first pick in the 2023 draft. The Hawks will indeed speak in the top-5, but that’s thanks to the choice obtained from the Denver Broncos in the trade involving Russell Wilson.

From the fifth pick to the next draft, we step back to the very last of the 2022 auction to discover the name of Brock Purdy, the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, opponents of the Seahawks, on Saturday, as part of the first round of playoffs in the NFL.

The Niners entered the season with the goal of going 100% into the Trey Lance experience. Injured in the second week of activity, Lance gave way to a luxury substitute, Jimmy Garoppolo… who was also injured for the rest of the season. Enter Brock Purdy, a quarter unknown to amateurs (and experts!). Purdy has been nothing short of excellent since taking the field on Dec. 4. Purdy quickly earned the nickname « Mr. Irrelevant » as the last player selected in the draft is nicknamed every year.

The least we can say is who has just celebrated his 23rd birthday, has made sure that we know he is not useless. Six starts, six wins. Five games of two touchdowns to start his career, one of three to end the year. All with the assurance of a 10-year veteran.

Ten seasons is exactly what Geno Smith just completed in the NFL. A journey that is abnormal to say the least, which leads him for the first time in his career to the playoffs as a starting quarterback. We weren’t giving much of Smith and the Seahawks this season, but in one of the best stories of the season, Geno rewrote the Seahawks record book with a season of 4,282 passing yards. The quarterback was so impressive, his name is mentioned as an MVP contender.

The Niners are certainly starting favorites due in particular to their imposing defense, possibly the best in the NFL and their dominance in the two games between the two teams this year. On the other hand, the Seahawks have made absolutely everyone lie this season, will they still have a little magic in store?

Prediction: 49ers win 24-14.

Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Jackson… Herbert and Lawrence!

Follow the Chargers-Jaguars duel on Saturday at 8 p.m. with the Blitz pre-game show on RDS and RDS.ca.

If fans were asked to name the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now, you’d probably see the names of Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson come up very often. Not far behind, however, should be the names of Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence.

Herbert is coming off possibly his toughest season in his third season on the Goodell Tour. We obviously can’t talk about a bad season with a ratio of 25 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions and more than 4,700 yards yet. Simply, without star receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for a long time this season, Herbert has had to supply the aerial game with players of a lower caliber.

Injuries are the theme of the Los Angeles Chargers seasons year after year. So you’d think head coach Brandon Staley wouldn’t have put his starters all game against the Broncos in Week 18 with absolutely nothing to gain. But that would be misunderstanding Staley. Thus, Mike Williams hurt his back and could be absent against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If he manages to put on the uniform, he will probably not be 100%, enough to handicap the dangerous air attack of Los Angeles.

In a collision between two future stars, Herbert will be confronted by Trevor Lawrence, he who has made giant strides in his progress under Doug Pederson. Lawrence and the Jags were in a bad position behind Tennessee before stringing together five wins, while the Titans suffered seven straight losses to conclude the season. Against all expectations, the Jags completed this great push by carving out a playoff spot for the first time since they came within a hair’s breadth of making the Super Bowl…against Doug Pederson and the Eagles!

Under Pederson, Lawrence went from a quarterback who raised questions to one of the brightest stars at the position. Week after week, the first pick of the 2021 auction has shown progress in his game and a chemistry with his receivers that, before the season, represented a very questionable unit. Zay Jones, Evan Engram and Christian Kirk all had the best season of their careers with the Clemson alum. Last year, T-Law threw 17 interceptions for just 12 touchdowns, this season his game has honed to throw just eight interceptions for 25 touchdowns. Best of all, the rising star finished the season with 15 touchdown passes and just one interception in his last nine games.

We knew the Jags were on the rise, but maybe not as strong this season. To say that the team can count on Calvin Ridley as a receiver next year. It’s encouraging! The Chargers most likely have a much more complete and experienced team than Jacksonville, but in a duel of young quarterbacks who want to interfere in the conversation of the big ones, why not a little surprise from the band in Lawrence?

Prediction: Surprise Jaguars win 23-20

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