From the moment the NFL released the 2020 regular season schedule with Ravens-Chiefs as a Monday Night Football game in Week 3, the entire league was fixated upon the tantalizing matchup of Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes.
They’re the last two league MVPs and, from a physical standpoint, are two of the most unique quarterbacks in the game. Both are young and set to lead their franchise for, one would assume, the next decade or more. Mahomes has already signed a massive extension and Jackson’s is on the doorstep.
And for all intents and purposes, Ravens-Chiefs looks to be the NFL’s next biggest and most marketable rivalry.
“I definitely think so,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said Wednesday. “Mahomes just signed for 10 years — whatever — 500 million, and (he’s an) MVP quarterback. And then we have Lamar. MVP, and he’ll be a Raven for life. So, with those two teams, I think when the NFL is picking out the schedule, they’ll always find a way to keep these two teams going at each other. When those two quarterbacks are on the field, it’s magic on both sides.”
For two years now, the Ravens have fallen just short of an upset win over the Chiefs. In 2018, they lost by three points in an agonizingly close loss in Kansas City. A year ago, they fell behind in the second quarter and a frantic rally came up just short.
Now, they’ll be favorites at M&T Bank Stadium for Monday Night Football where, for the first time with Mahomes at quarterback, the Chiefs will face Jackson wearing their road white uniforms.
“I see every week what Lamar can do, and I always see some highlight or something of what Mahomes can do,” Humphrey said. “So, when you have two superstar quarterbacks like that, it’s always going to be a fun game.”
The two teams will face in 2021 with the Chiefs set to return to Baltimore in what could be the fourth matchup in four years — another matchup assuredly destined for a primetime television slot. That doesn’t include the alluring potential for a playoff game between the two, either.
With Mahomes just 25-years-old and Jackson still just 23-years-old, the inevitable rivalry shows no signs of veering off course. The only question now is if the Ravens will be able to get by the Chiefs. This year, with just one bye in the NFL Playoffs, the No. 1 seed is that much more enticing. And the two likeliest teams to reach that mark are soon set to clash.
At the moment, Ravens-Chiefs is a game between perhaps the league’s two best teams. But a Ravens win, especially in what figures to be a close game, would only further intensify a budding rivalry between two loaded teams with star quarterbacks.
Ravens-Chiefs will never have the tradition or old-school feel of Washington vs. Dallas, or Green Bay vs. Chicago. Instead, it could develop into something completely different — the league’s two youngest stars, lighting up the scoreboard until the clock runs out on either one year after year.