Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson
Since both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson became regular starters for their teams in 2018, Kansas City and Baltimore have the best records among all NFL teams Jamie Squire/Getty Images

ALABAMA - Arguably two of the best quarterbacks of their generation, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have taken the NFL by storm, each in their own way. Catalogued as a "heavyweight fight" by Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, their AFC Championship clash will be the first time in NFL history that two MVP quarterbacks under the age of 30 face each other in the playoffs.

In a press conference ahead of their AFC Championship game, Jackson revealed he doesn't like competing against Mahomes. "He's a great quarterback...I believe it's two up-and-coming greats going toe to toe, like a heavyweight fight, a heavyweight matchup. That's what I see."

Just like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier's blockbuster heavyweight bouts, this will be the fifth installment of Mahomes vs Jackson, but the first in a postseason setting. In their previous four matchups, Mahomes and the Chiefs resulted victorious in three occasions.

But this season, the Baltimore Ravens seem like the team to beat. They posted the best record in the regular season (13-4) thanks to Jackson's MVP-caliber season. He threw for 3,678 yards and 24 TD's while also running for 821 yards and five rushing TD's. These stats put him as one of the five finalists for this year's AP NFL MVP Award, one that he already won back in 2019.

The winners will be announced at the 13th annual NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 8, 2023, which will air live on CBS and NFL Network and stream on Paramount+ and NFL+.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
A freak of nature, Lamar Jackson has set all sorts of NFL records since entering the league in 2018. He is the only QB in NFL history with multiple seasons rushing for 1,000+ yards Rob Carr/Getty Images

Since entering the league, Jackson has reinvented the QB position thanks to his athleticism. After just six seasons in the league, Jackson is less than 1,000 yards away from breaking Michael Vick's NFL record for most rushing yards by a QB. Jackson's talent to control a game through his arm -or his legs- have allowed head coach John Harbaugh to build a dynamic offense around a dual-threat passer.

Lamar Jackson’s Top Plays with the Ravens via NFL's official YouTube channel

In 2019, his MVP season, he led the league in touchdown passes (36) while also setting a record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single NFL season (1,206).

If Baltimore wants to reach its first Super Bowl since 2012, they will have to go through the Kansas City Chiefs dynasty -and- Patrick Mahomes.

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have reached the AFC Championship game in six straight seasons, the 2nd longest streak behind the NE Patriots' eight appearances Kevin C. Cox/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

Since becoming a starter ahead of the 2018 season, the Chiefs have the best record in the NFL (75-24) and a lot of it has to do with their generational quarterback. Just like Jackson, Mahomes has reinvented the position thanks to his abilities to throw the football, extend plays and -at times- pull off the unthinkable.

The Chiefs, who finished the regular season with 10+ wins for the ninth season in a row, did not secure home-field advantage for the AFC Championship game and will now travel to Baltimore. In the previous five seasons in which Kansas City reached the AFC Championship game, they played at home in all five games (3-2 record).

Patrick Mahomes top 28 plays (so far) via Kansas City Chiefs official YouTube channel

If Mahomes wants to emerge victorious and reach his fourth Super Bowl, he will have to beat a Baltimore team with Lamar Jackson and an elite defensive core. During the 2023 regular season, the Ravens became the first team in NFL history to lead the league in fewest points allowed (16.5), most sacks (60) and most takeaways (31) in a single season.

A matchup so hard to predict, even most moneymakers in Las Vegas see the Ravens only as a four-point favorite over the reigning champions Kansas City.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.