Legendary Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson is going with his former team in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, and he thinks newly named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase is going to be the player to watch.
Johnson, 44, spoke to Fox News Digital about Chase’s rookie season, during which he caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns, surpassing Johnson’s 1,440 yards for the franchise record. Johnson also spoke about Chase’s remarkable chemistry with former LSU teammate Joe Burrow.
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“The funny thing about their WiFi – I’m not going to say connection – their WiFi is what it’s always been. Think about what they did at LSU,” Johnson said. “There’s a reason Burrow went to the table and said I want Ja’marr Chase to come in. Make sure we draft Ja’Marr Chase and not the lineman (Penei Sewell).”
“I think Chase being a Bengal is part because Joe Burrow wanted to have him here so they could pick up right where they left off at LSU, which is why they’ve been so stellar in just his rookie season,” Johnson continued.
Chase vs. Ramsey
Johnson also spoke about the possible matchup between Chase and Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey, saying it would be hard to predict who might have the edge if those two are paired up Sunday.
“It’s hard to say. It’s one we’re going to have to watch,” Johnson told Fox News. “It’s one we’re going to get to enjoy, but to say who’s going to win, you can’t do that. Jalen is one of the best in the game at his position – maybe the best — and Ja’Marr, just coming off a historic rookie season, we’re going to have to watch to see what happens.”
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Johnson predicted the Bengals will walk away Super Bowl champs with a 20-17 win and says fans shouldn’t expect to see the large scoring gap they did when Cincinnati took on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
“I think the fact that the game got away from the Bengals, and they were able to come back in the second half … I think you make certain adjustments to make sure that doesn’t happen because in a game of this magnitude you don’t want to be climbing from behind. You want to keep it even or you wanna go ahead, you wanna play smart.”
Johnson spoke to Fox News just hours before Chase was named the 2021 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. He predicted Chase would win. When asked if Chase could be the first NFL rookie to win Super Bowl MVP, the former wideout said Chase had a legitimate shot.
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“I’m going to go out on a limb and say not only is Ja’Marr Chase going to win the NFL Rookie of the Year award, but I’m going to say that he’s going to win the Super Bowl MVP. Can I do that?” Johnson said with a laugh.
“You know that I’m going to say it, and if it comes true and comes to fruition I’m going to play the lotto right after.”
Chase was also named the 2021 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year, an honor Johnson accepted on his behalf.
The Bengals and Rams meet at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.