The Baltimore Ravens know that they are preparing to face one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL right now in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, who won the league MVP award in his first season as a starter in 2018, throwing for over 5000 yards with 50 touchdown passes. They’d like to think that the Chiefs are preparing to face one of the best as well.
That would be their own quarterback, of course, Lamar Jackson, who is entering his first full season as a starter after going 6-1 starting at the end of his rookie season last year. He’s still winning—the Ravens are 2-0—but he’s also putting up numbers this time. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes, 41-for-57, for 596 yards, 12.9 yards per attempt, with seven touchdowns (tied with Mahomes for the league lead) and no interceptions.
“Just as an NFL fan, as a fantasy owner if you will, the NFL’s in good hands with these young quarterbacks”, Baltimore defensive coordinator Don Martindale said this past week. I think you’re going to see two great quarterbacks in this game. We might be seeing the next Brady–Manning matchup. Ali–Frazier. Magic–Bird”.
That might be jumping the gun a bit, of course. Mahomes has one fantastic season under his belt and is already progressing toward another. Jackson is just beginning to show the signs of his potential to be a complete quarterback. Neither of them have yet to win anything, however, and that was a key ingredient in the other rivalries: the stakes.
“All of these young quarterbacks coming out, they can extend plays”, Martindale said of the likes of Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, etc. He said that his defense having to go up against Jackson every day helped in that end. Jackson is coming off a career-high 120 rushing yards last week, the second player ever, regular season or postseason, the pass for 250 or more and rush for 120 or more in the same game.
One thing both teams, and both passers, have in common is a speedy wide receiver. Tyreek Hill has already established himself as an elite deep threat, while Marquise Brown is just two years into his career, but has put up 233 receiving yards already. He scored long touchdowns on the first two receptions of his career. And they have the quarterbacks with the arm to get the ball to them.
While the Chiefs has Travis Kelce, however, Baltimore’s offense relies more upon its tight ends and running backs. Mark Andrews already has two 100-yard receiving games, and Hayden Hurst also caught a touchdown last week. Nick Boyle, Mark Ingram, and Gus Edwards are all crucial parts of their offense while the rest of the receiving corps looks to emerge.