Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson will share the field Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Baltimore Ravens. It figures to be an exciting matchup between AFC contenders and two of the NFL’s most electrifying quarterbacks.
But could the much-anticipated clash be the first major step toward something even bigger?
Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale wondered Thursday whether Mahomes vs. Jackson might evolve into the league’s premier quarterback battle, much like the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning rivalry that existed until the latter retired following the 2015 season.
“Just as an NFL fan, as a fantasy owner, if you will, the NFL is in good hands with these young quarterbacks,” Martindale said, per ESPN.com. “And I think you’re going to see two great quarterbacks in this game. We might be seeing the next Brady-Manning matchup, (Muhammad) Ali-(Joe) Frazier, Magic (Johnson)-(Larry) Bird. You don’t know, but the excitement of it (is undeniable).”
This isn’t the first time Mahomes and Jackson have gone toe to toe, as the Chiefs and Ravens played each other in Week 14 last season, with Kansas City winning 27-24 in overtime. That blemish marks Jackson’s only loss since taking over as Baltimore’s starting quarterback, and you can bet he’d like to exact some revenge Sunday in a game in which each team — and QB — has something to prove.
Obviously there’s much more to this week’s contest, which pits two 2-0 teams against each other. But the Mahomes vs. Jackson storyline has dominated headlines, and understandably so. Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, has continued his dominant ways, whereas Jackson keeps silencing those critics who said he’s nothing more than a running quarterback.
The Brady vs. Manning comparison seems a little farfetched at this point, simply because those legendary quarterbacks engaged in many epic showdowns for the better part of two decades. But Mahomes vs. Jackson II should be fun, nonetheless, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the two young signal-callers square off in even more meaningful games down the road.
Thumbnail photo via Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports Images