Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes? Kryptonite? Depends Who You Ask

QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson has beaten nearly everybody he's faced. His 30 regular-season wins since taking over as the Ravens' starter was the most in the NFL entering the year – better than Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

But that Mahomes guy and the Kansas City Chiefs have been a real thorn in Jackson's side the past three years.

In three meetings, Jackson and the Ravens are 0-3 – one loss in each of the past three seasons. After a Week 3 loss to the Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium last year, Jackson went as far as to call the Chiefs the Ravens' "kryptonite."

So how is Jackson approaching the Chiefs this time around? Head on.

"I said that because they did beat us three times," Jackson said. "So it's like, 'Man, we've got to find a way to win.' And hopefully this Sunday night coming up it will be different."

This Sunday night's rematch in Baltimore has been billed as one of the best games across the entire league since the schedule was released. The Chiefs and Ravens entered the year widely seen as Super Bowl contenders once again.

The Ravens and Chiefs have seemed on a crash course toward a playoff matchup the past three years, but Baltimore hasn't held up its end of the bargain. Thus, the regular-season matchups have felt like mini playoff games themselves.

And at the center of that matchup is the two young quarterbacks – Jackson and Mahomes, two of the most exciting players in the entire league. Mahomes won the MVP in 2018, then the Super Bowl the following year. Jackson won MVP in 2019, but has fallen short in three playoff trips.

Mahomes is a gunslinger, frequently pulling miraculous plays out of the bag to rally his team to wins. Jackson is the most unique quarterback in the NFL, challenging defenses with his running ability unlike any quarterback ever before.

Everybody watching wants to see which star shines brighter, but Jackson has never viewed himself and Mahomes as having some kind of personal rivalry.

"It's not about me and Mahomes – not to me, probably to everyone else," Jackson said. "It's the Ravens vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. They did beat us three times or whatever, but that's in the past. We have a better opportunity this time to come around, and we'll take the advantage and win at our home stadium. But I'm not dwelling on those losses; come Sunday night, we're going to play."

Ravens wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has been Mahomes' teammate for the past three years, isn't buying it.

"I think those guys definitely view it that way," Watkins said Thursday. "You can say you're not, but the world is watching two of the best, youngest MVPs in the league and very talented guys. I'm definitely looking at it that way like, man, Lamar needs to win.

"He's been doing a great job in this league with how he's carrying himself as a teammate and as a guy that does the right things off the field. I just think it's time for him to take that next hump and try to get a win. And I hope this team, we prepare and the coaches prepare to do our best to will a win for the organization and him."

In his three games against the Chiefs, Jackson has completed 53 percent of his passes with an average of 170 yards passing per game, while throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions (78.8 QB rating). He's run for 196 yards and a touchdown.

In his three games against the Ravens, Mahomes has completed 70 percent of his passes with an average of 379 yards passing per game, while throwing nine touchdowns to one interception (116.2 QB rating).

Jackson has crossed so many items off the doubters' lists. Standing toe-to-toe with Mahomes and winning, especially after Baltimore's litany of injuries, would give Jackson a bright Sharpie to cross off another.

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said he's seen no change in Jackson's demeanor this week. He's the same guy each and every week, regardless of the last result or the opponent ahead, Roman said. Jackson and the Ravens are taking on the challenge with excitement.

"The way you go about changing it is addressing it how it is: looking at it head-on and go into the game and just try to beat them," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "It's a great opportunity for us to go out there Sunday night and show we belong on the field with them."

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