Showtime as Mahomes, Jackson duel
>>BALTIMORE: The emerging rivalry between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson takes centre stage as the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens put their unbeaten records on the line in NFL week three.
Tomorrow’s clash between Mahomes and Jackson — winners of the 2018 and 2019 NFL MVP awards — is the highlight of a round brimming with intriguing match-ups.
Thus far, Mahomes-Jackson has shown all the signs of joining the ranks of some of the NFL’s greatest quarterback rivalries, from Joe Montana and John Elway to Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady.
Tomorrow’s game in Baltimore marks the third occasion that Mahomes and Jackson have gone head-to-head.
Both previous encounters have been high-scoring games settled by one score, with Mahomes leading the Chiefs to a 27-24 overtime win in 2018 before steering the team to a 33-28 victory last season.
With both Mahomes and Jackson already displaying flashes of the genius this season that propelled them to their MVP honours, tomorrow’s game has all the makings of another thriller.
“It’s a very exciting game, the whole world’s watching you — time to put on a show,” Jackson told reporters earlier this week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh admitted his players are chomping at the bit to have another crack at last season’s Super Bowl champions, in what could well be a sneak preview of the AFC Championship game.
“Who wouldn’t get excited for a game like this?” Harbaugh said.
“When you’re playing a team that is the defending champs, the favourites to win the whole thing again the type of players they have, the coaches they have? You’re going to get excited about it. We try to embrace it and make the most of it.”
Mahomes meanwhile heads into the game fresh from engineering another Chiefs comeback last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, leading his side to a 23-20 overtime victory.
Mahomes’ 302-yard, two-touchdown performance included an incredible 54-yard strike to Tyreek Hill, the sort of improbable, off-balance pass that is rapidly becoming his calling card.
It left Chiefs coach Andy Reid, part of the Green Bay coaching staff during Brett Favre’s 1990s glory years, comparing Mahomes to the Packers icon.
“When that football is in their hand, it’s the same thought process,” Reid said of Mahomes and Favre.
“They both have phenomenal vision, just like fighter-pilot vision. They see everything, and then they’re going to rip your heart out. Every throw they’re going to try and gut you.”