For the second time in as many years, a young quarterback in his second season claimed the MVP Award. In 2018, it was Patrick Mahomes, who threw for over 5000 yards with 50 touchdown passes. While Lamar Jackson didn’t put up similarly gaudy numbers, he still led the league in touchdown passes in 2019 with 38 despite the Ravens having the fewest passing attempts. Meanwhile, he rushed for over 1200 yards, showing himself to be the most dynamic dual threat in perhaps the history of the game.
For the third time in as many years, both of them will be on the field together today when the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson as the reigning league MVP, Mahomes as the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
And it will make history, as according to Elias Sports Bureau, it will be the first game played between former league MVPs at the time that they are 25 years or younger, as the Mahomes-Jackson rivalry shows inklings of being the next Brady-Manning.
Mahomes, who turned 25 just 10 days ago, has his Chiefs out to a 2-0 start in defending their Super Bowl, even without the outlandishly gaudy numbers. He has completed 51 of 79 pass attempts for 512 yards, with five touchdown passes. He hasn’t thrown an interception, and he has 54 rushing yards on six rushes.
Jackson has only attempted 49 passes so far this season, which is the lowest of any quarterback in the league so far who has played two full games. He has, however, completed 38 of them for 479 yards and four touchdown passes. Like Mahomes, he also has not thrown an interception, and has 99 rushing yards on 23 attempts so far.
What’s more, the Ravens and Chiefs also bring into the game the two longest active regular season winning streaks. Baltimore has won 14 straight games in regular season play, while Kansas City can lay claim to eight in a row. It’s the first matchup against two teams with active winning streaks of eight games or more since 1969.
This type of game is appointment viewing, and that’s why the schedule makers have seen fit to put these two teams up on the primetime stage, as the game will take place tomorrow on Monday Night Football, the Ravens’ first primetime game of the season.
Of course, primetime games don’t have quite the same feel this year—no games do. Even the few stadiums that have been allowed to admit some fans have only been allowed a few thousand at most, and it can never match the feeling of tens of thousands of people going nuts in unison.