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Lamar Jackson Sees a 'Heavyweight Fight' in Historic Playoff Matchup vs. Patrick Mahomes

From left: QB Lamar Jackson, Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes
From left: QB Lamar Jackson, Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes

Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes for the first time in the playoffs is a historic matchup.

It will be the first time in NFL history that two MVP quarterbacks under the age of 30 go against each other in the postseason. Get your popcorn ready.

The two have faced four times previously, with Mahomes winning three. But Jackson was the victor in the most recent installment in 2021, pulling out a 36-35 victory at M&T Bank Stadium. Jackson scored three touchdowns in that game, throwing one and running for two more.

"I don't like competing against him at all," Jackson said with a laugh. "He's a great quarterback, definitely a Hall of Famer. It's a no-brainer, he's definitely a Hall of Famer. 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."

In his four games against the Chiefs, Jackson has thrown for 750 yards, tossed four touchdowns to two interceptions, and run for 303 yards and three more scores.

In his four games against the Ravens, Mahomes has thrown for 1,479 yards, tossed 12 touchdowns to two interceptions, and run for 35 yards and a score.

But this is a new season, and they're both different quarterbacks, with different weapons around them, and different defenses they'll face Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Jackson threw for a career-high 3,678 yards this season and Mahomes has thrown twice as many interceptions as Jackson. Mahomes threw for more than 1,000 fewer yards (4,183) than he did last year – the second lowest total of his career since becoming the starter in 2018.

"He's going to be the MVP for a reason," Mahomes said of Jackson. "He goes out there, he leads his team, he scores, he runs, he throws. He does whatever it takes to win, and that's what the greats do.

"We've been able to play in a couple games, not in a few years now, but I've admired watching him from afar and know that it's gonna be a great challenge for us every time we go up against him."

Like Mahomes said, Jackson will likely win his second MVP this season, matching Mahomes' total (2022, 2018). But Mahomes is also a two-time Super Bowl champion. That's where Jackson aspires to get, and he'll have to beat Mahomes to get there.

"To be a champion, you gotta go through a champion," Jackson said. "That's pretty much the mindset."

While it will be a sixth straight AFC championship for Mahomes and the Chiefs, it's the first for Jackson. In his first three trips, Jackson fell short of the ultimate Super Bowl promise he made when the Ravens drafted him.

Heading into Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium – the biggest football game in Baltimore in over 50 years – Jackson said he's not looking ahead to Las Vegas and he's not putting pressure on himself to do too much to get there.

"The mission isn't complete," Jackson said. "No different feeling. It's another game – a higher-level atmosphere game. That's about it."

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