ESPN analyst says Lamar Jackson will have to deal with Tua Tagovailoa in playoffs: ‘Miami’s gonna win the AFC East’

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One ESPN analyst is predicting a big year for the Miami Dolphins, stating his belief that the team will again make the NFL playoffs.

Louis Riddick invoked Tua Tagovailoa’s name during a discussion about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and the quarterbacks that Jackson will have to get past during the upcoming season.

“He has to school with these other guys, with these other killers that are in the AFC as far as the quarterbacks are concerned,” he said of what Jackson will face in the playoffs. “Whether that means meeting Joe Burrow again, whether that means dealing with Patrick [Mahomes] again, whether that means dealing with Josh Allen, whether that means dealing with, and yeah, Aaron Rodgers, and yeah, I’m gonna say it: whether that means dealing with Tua — ’cause you’re gonna deal with Tua — because Miami’s gonna win the AFC East. So, yeah, he’s gonna have to deal with all these guys.”

Tagovailoa watched his third season in the NFL come to an abrupt end after he suffered a concussion in the Dolphins’ Christmas Day loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Concussions were a major problem for Tagovailoa last season, though he put up notable numbers when healthy. He ended his 2022 season by throwing for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns, while keeping mistakes to a minimum with just eight interceptions.

Riddick named some superstar quarterbacks, and it’s a big compliment that he included Tagovailoa.

Mahomes has led the Kansas City Chiefs to two Super Bowl titles in the past four years, and Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to one championship while with the team. However, Rodgers was dealt to the New York Jets this offseason and turns 40 in December, which puts pressure on him to deliver them a title as quickly as possible.

Allen, Burrow and Jackson, meanwhile, have all posted fantastic numbers in the NFL, but they’re all searching for their first Super Bowl title.

The chances of Tagovailoa fulfilling Riddick’s prediction depend on a number of different factors, most notably the need for the quarterback to stay healthy. In addition, more fantastic production from the receiving tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle would make Tagovailoa’s life easier.

Finally, an improved running game to take some of the pressure off of Tagovailoa would help Miami’s playoff chances. The Dolphins attempted to address the running back position in the draft by selecting running back De’Von Achane, who is confident in his own abilities.

Even so, dealing with the rest of the AFC is going to be a challenge no matter what. Dolphins fans are hoping that Riddick’s crystal ball is working well.

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Brad is a freelance writer for and has been around long enough to remember the 1972 perfect season, and even when Don Shula was coaching the Colts. He still follows the Dolphins and other happenings in the NFL, so he can offer a little perspective when it comes to the ups and downs of each season. Some of his opinions may end up differing from the people who read them, but that's par for the course when it comes to life in South Florida.