Ahead of the highly anticipated Monday Night Football matchup between the game's most exciting AFC teams, the budding rivalry between the two young and elite quarterbacks has come to the forefront.
It's the 2019 MVP vs. the 2018 MVP. The QB with a chip on his shoulder after another early playoff exit vs. the reigning Super Bowl MVP. It's Baltimore's Lamar Jackson vs. Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes.
But if you haven't heard, Jackson has lost both times he's played Mahomes.
Though Jackson sports a 21-3 regular season record since taking over Joe Flacco's offense, two of those three losses have come to Mahomes' Chiefs.
While Jackson is downplaying the rivalry with Kanas City's dynamic pass thrower, Mahomes compared his early win-loss record against Jackson to that of another, albeit much older, elite quarterback.
"I had a very similar situation playing Tom Brady," Mahomes said in a sitdown interview with ESPN. "I won all those games my first two years, but I lost to Tom twice. So I understand he's going to be driven. Whenever you play a team that is of his caliber and our team coming off a Super Bowl win, you know it's going to be a great game."
Mahomes was phenomenal in his first full season as a starter in 2018, helping the Chiefs explode to a 5-0 start before an October visit to Foxborough. Mahomes' four touchdowns and 352 yards through the air weren't enough to avoid defeat in a 40-43 showdown in New England.
But he went on to have a historic season and help Kansas City earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. A meeting with the Patriots in the AFC Championship game ensued, and again Mahomes' impressive stats (two TD's, 295 yards) weren't enough against Brady in a crushing 31-37 overtime loss.
So, two high-scoring, down-to-the-wire losses against who many consider the greatest QB of all time is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it was a mountain that Mahomes had to climb before reaching the pinnacle himself, which he did with last year's Super Bowl victory.
Before that win, Mahomes needed a 23-16 Week 14 win at New England to overcome his greatest obstacle in Brady. That's exactly what Jackson will have to do in this prime-time game, except he'll have the luxury of playing at home in Baltimore -- even if it is without fans.
No matter the circumstances, Mahomes knows why all eyes will be on him and Jackson come Monday.
"When you go up against a player of his caliber and how skilled he is...you know you're gonna have to go out there and put up points," Mahomes said. "It's what you live for in the NFL, a prime-time game, to be on Monday Night, to be in front of the entire nation and be able to play against one of the teams in the NFL."