Each week through the 2019 season, former NFL defensive back and current BBC analyst Jason Bell will highlight five things to look out for that weekend. Watch Jason twice a week on the BBC.
Here are some key things to look out for in Week 9.
T*hank you to the fans!*
The fans have been amazing at this year's London Games. The NFL has grown so much over here and what happens over here doesn't happen anywhere else, it's like its own special thing. When teams play here it's just a different atmosphere and I can see the players responding to that. They understand how special it is. The crowd is noisy all the time, the stadiums are packed out and it's so much fun. You don't see that kind of thing at some home regular season games. It's just not like that. The games we have in London are a similar atmosphere to play-off games. They have that much intensity so let's keep it up going into the final game.
These two teams are divisional rivals which means they are always going to play each other tough. They have this hatred for one another that goes back to when I was playing. I don't know how it started but we definitely did not like Jacksonville when I was in Houston. It was always a tough game; a very physical game and this year it's just an overall great match up. Both teams are playing well and both teams have gotten their identity. In London we get to see an MVP candidate in Deshaun Watson. You'll see a guy who is playing on another level. This Jacksonville defense is great at roughing the passer. I think they are 4th in sacks. So that is a good match up. We get to watch the Jaguars try and get at Deshaun Watson and keep him from making those magical plays. Everybody wants to see Gardner Minshaw, he's playing really well. For a rookie Quarterback he is playing at an elite level. Rookies usually don't play this way. The offense is run through Leonard Fournette and that running game. He's been outstanding running the ball for them. They are 5th in rushing so that shows you how good they are. That does tend to play into the Texans strength because they are 5th in rushing and also stopping the run, but they have lost JJ Watt through injury. So how does this defense play without JJ Watt? That's what I'll be watching but overall, we're gonna have a great game. These two teams match up well against each other and they are going to play each other very tough.
Well this could be the game of the year! If any knock has been on the Patriots, it's been their strength of schedule. At this point in time they haven't really played any great team besides Buffalo. Now this is their test and it's not their fault you can only play who you play against. They are going against one of the best teams in the NFL and Lamar Jackson is one of the hottest players in the NFL with an offense that's lighting things up. Everybody talks about how good the Patriots defense is, but they are going up against the number two offense so we're gonna see how good they really are. It will also give us a chance to see how good Lamar Jackson is to adjusting his game. We now the Patriots and Bill Belichick do a great job in making you play left-handed if you're right-handed. They always take away your strengths and make you play to your third and fourth skillset. It's still going to be a battle. Usually what the Patriots do is put a blueprint for everyone else in the league to follow on how to play elite teams. I can't wait to see what the game plan is and how it's executed on both sides.
When you look at the Browns and you look at what they are going through. Being at 2-5 is tough, especially with all the talent they've accumulated and the success they were supposed to have. This is when you realise why the Quarterback position is so important and having someone who knows how to handle this adversity. The Quarterback has to have a calming nature because everyone is watching you. This is part of the position. Is it unfair? Yes, it's unfair but it's also unfair that the Quarterback gets all the glory when you win. Although this team has a lot of talent, you see that there is a culture problem. There is an issue with the culture of that team, and you see that by the outbursts of Baker Mayfield at the press conference. You would never see a Tom Brady do that; you would never see Russell Wilson do that. This is where you see why some teams are elite and some are not, it's simple things like that. How a player and leader responds to adversity tells you a lot about that team and it's culture. That being said hopefully the Browns can rally together and they can pull off a win against the Broncos. The one thing they have going for them is that Joe Flacco is hurt so they have a bit of an advantage. If they can pull off a victory down in Denver, they might be able to turn their season around.
So just like I mentioned the culture issue at the Browns there is a similar problem here where you just can't lie to players. Players and coaches are constantly in discussion to figure out, is there trust? It's just what we do when we play. I'm not sure what happen but I think they said they wanted him there forever, they wanted Jamal Adams there. He then finds out he's being shopped and obviously he got his feelings hurt with that. But you can't overact, and you can't go to the media like that. This is a professional sport. When you have a team that has a lot of needs and you're the best player, they figure they can get the most for you and they're going to ask. They're going to take those calls. I think as a young player it's hard to understand that because you think it's about loyalty and family but it's not. It's a business. I think this is his first taste of that and it wasn't fun but that's how it is. I do think he had a reason to be upset because where wasn't transparency in that discussion. However, this is the NFL and he's a great player, he's the best on their roster so teams are interested in him. Having said that, I think the Jets will win against the Dolphins in Miami this weekend. I really like the way Sam Darnold is playing and they're just a better team than the Dolphins. I see the Jets winning this game.