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Patrick Mahomes vs Joe Burrow: Has the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback found his match in Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals?


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At look at the best plays from Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow from this season so far, ahead of the Chiefs’ visit to the Bengals this Sunday

At look at the best plays from Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow from this season so far, ahead of the Chiefs’ visit to the Bengals this Sunday

Patrick Mahomes is used to this.

It seems like every Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is involved in a marquee matchup against another talented young player in the same position looking to take his throne as the best of the bunch.

This week is no exception, with Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals the latest to try and knock Mahomes and the Chiefs off their perch.

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December 4, 2022, 9:15pm

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In the AFC, the road to the Super Bowl runs through Kansas City. Arrowhead Stadium has hosted each of the last four Conference Championship games, and through 12 weeks of the 2022 season, the Chiefs currently sit 9-2 and in possession of the No 1 seed – with Mahomes favourite to win his second league MVP award in only his fifth season as a starter.

Some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

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Some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Some of the best plays from the 2022 season by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes leads the league in both passing yards (3,585) and touchdowns (29), with the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen in second – 3,406 yards and 25 TDs – having played a game more than his competitors. Burrow is third (3,160 yards, 23 TDs).

The success of the NFL as a brand feeds off the quarterback position, and as the talents of the league’s veteran stars are starting to wane – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson all sitting below .500 this season – the league is truly in safe hands with a super talented young crop of QBs coming through.

A crop of QBs whom Mahomes has dominated on the whole. In 28 career starts (including playoffs) against quarterbacks currently aged 27 and under, Mahomes’ record is an impressive 21-7, holding a winning record against every single competitor, except one. Burrow.

  • 4-1 vs Justin Herbert (Chargers)
  • 4-0 vs Baker Mayfield (Browns)
  • 3-2 vs Josh Allen (Bills)
  • 3-1 vs Lamar Jackson (Ravens)
  • 2-1 vs Deshaun Watson (Texans)
  • 1-0 vs Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins)
  • 1-0 vs Jalen Hurts (Eagles)
  • 1-0 vs Daniel Jones (Giants)
  • 1-0 vs Kyler Murray (Cardinals)
  • 1-0 vs Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars)
  • 0-2 vs Joe Burrow (Bengals)

While the road to the Super Bowl did indeed run through Kansas City last season, it was Burrow’s Bengals who ultimately headed for Los Angeles after overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit to emerge 27-24 victors in overtime – and that was to go with an equally astonishing 34-31 triumph less than a month prior in the regular season.

Similarly, Cincinnati had trailed heavily in the teams’ first meeting, finding themselves behind 21-7 midway through the second quarter, before Burrow and star receiver Ja’Marr Chase wrestled the game away with some staggering performances.

Watch every catch made by Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase from his incredible 266-yard game against the Chiefs in Week 17 of the 2021 season

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Watch every catch made by Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase from his incredible 266-yard game against the Chiefs in Week 17 of the 2021 season

Watch every catch made by Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase from his incredible 266-yard game against the Chiefs in Week 17 of the 2021 season

Burrow finished 30-of-39 passing, for 446 yards and four TDs, with three of them – including a couple of monstrous 72 and 69-yard scores – to the rookie Chase, who returned an astonishing 266 yards on 11 receptions.

The two would combine again in that AFC Championship win, though not to quite such devastating effect – Burrow 250 yards and two TDs, Chase with six grabs for 54 yards and one score – but it was still enough to stun Mahomes and prevent the Chiefs from reaching a third-straight Super Bowl.

Highlights of the AFC championship game between the Bengals and the Chiefs from last season

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Highlights of the AFC championship game between the Bengals and the Chiefs from last season

Highlights of the AFC championship game between the Bengals and the Chiefs from last season

Ahead of their latest clash on Sunday, both Burrow and Mahomes have been effusive in their praise for one another.

Mahomes told reporters this week: “I have a ton of respect for Joe. He is a great football player, but he’s also a competitor. Those are the guys who win in this league – the guys who compete.” Burrow, meanwhile, said of his QB counterpart: “He’s the best [quarterback] right now. He’s been playing the best all year. It’s fun to watch him play. There really hasn’t been a lot of people like him come through the game.”

But despite the despite the Mahomes-Burrow love-in, there is an undercurrent to this latest meeting, one which could still prove crucial in the jostling for position in the ultra-competitive AFC.

Highlights of the Chiefs' win over the Rams from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

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Highlights of the Chiefs’ win over the Rams from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

Highlights of the Chiefs’ win over the Rams from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

The Chiefs currently lead the way at 9-2, riding a five-game win streak, but the Bengals are not far behind at 7-4, having won five of their last six, and could throw themselves into the mix for home advantage and that first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory on Sunday.

“You have a lot of bouquets being thrown back and forth between Mahomes and Burrow,” Mike Florio said on NBC’s Pro Football Talk (Sky Sports NFL, weekdays, 6pm) this week.

“These two teams, for the most part, are very careful about saying anything that could be used as the old bulletin-board material.

“But I think there’s an undercurrent of animosity there. Especially from the Chiefs, having lost to the Bengals twice last year.

“At least with the Mahomes-Allen rivalry, the Chiefs are on the right side of it when it matters. The Bills have won the last two in the regular season, but until the Bills win in the postseason, the Chiefs still own them.

“The Bengals have quietly acquired title to the Chiefs. I think there’s a lot more bubbling under the surface.”

Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger hails Joe Burrow as

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Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger hails Joe Burrow as “fearless” as the young Bengals quarterback continues to impress in 2022

Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger hails Joe Burrow as “fearless” as the young Bengals quarterback continues to impress in 2022

Making both the Chiefs and the Bengals’ form all the more impressive heading into their latest clash on Sunday has been the absence of their key offensive weapons from those two meetings last season – for differing reasons. For Kansas City, Tyreek Hill has since been traded to and is starring for the Miami Dolphins, while Cincinnati have been without Chase to a hip injury for the past month.

The loss of Hill has far from affected Mahomes. In fact, if anything, it has seen the Chiefs offense become somewhat less predictable, with their superstar QB spreading the ball around effectively and efficiently to any number of their talented receiving corps, plus titanic tight end Travis Kelce. Mahomes has topped 300 yards passing in as many as seven games this season, including six straight coming into Sunday.

Check out every Travis Kelce catch in what was a career-high four-TD game for the Chiefs tight end against the Raiders earlier this season

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Check out every Travis Kelce catch in what was a career-high four-TD game for the Chiefs tight end against the Raiders earlier this season

Check out every Travis Kelce catch in what was a career-high four-TD game for the Chiefs tight end against the Raiders earlier this season

The Bengals, meanwhile, suffered a heavy 32-13 defeat to the Cleveland Browns in their first game without Chase, but have followed it up with three-straight wins over the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.

The Browns loss had dropped Cincinnati to 4-4 on the season and there were murmurings of a potential ‘Super Bowl hangover’ following their heart-breaking defeat to the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s title game.

That has been corrected with their recent winning run, but sterner tests await than certainly the Panthers (4-8) and Steelers (4-7).

Highlights of the Bengals' win over the Titans from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

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Highlights of the Bengals’ win over the Titans from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

Highlights of the Bengals’ win over the Titans from Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season

The hard-fought win over the Titans (7-4) last weekend gave greater proof to this team’s resolve, and Burrow and the Bengals now benefit from the return of both Chase, and running back Joe Mixon, from injury this weekend. Just in time to face the Chiefs.

It’s time for people to stop sleeping on Cincinnati.

“Joe Burrow is getting it done, and is determined,” Florio added ahead of this weekend’s epic QB matchup.

“We’ve just kind of forgotten about him. We get so caught up in Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, and whoever the new flavour of the month is. “Burrow was the flavour of the month last year but we’ve just kind of moved on.

“I think we need to start paying a lot more attention to the Bengals – and we certainly will if they win at home on Sunday.”

Watch Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals host Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs live on Sky Sports NFL as part of the Sunday night triple-header which gets under way from 5pm; kick-off at 9.25pm


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