Tune in for the sixth meeting between Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes on Sunday. While both their teams may be slumping and neither is an MVP favorite right now, make no mistake, this is must-watch TV and the NFL's best QB rivalry since Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
It may not be Manning vs. Brady yet, but it is the best rivalry *since*. Before I get into the five reasons why, here are the other notable QB rivalries that have met since the last Brady vs. Manning matchup in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.
|NOTABLE QB RIVALRIES SINCE PEYTON MANNING/TOM BRADY
Drew Brees vs. Matt Ryan
Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger
Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees
Philip Rivers vs. Ben Roethlisberger
Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes
Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning
Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers
Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes
Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes
Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes
|Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes
Those are some great rivalries between a lot of future Hall of Famers. But when you combine how good Allen and Mahomes have been, how incredible their matchups have been, and how often they meet, nobody tops them lately.
1. Historic production
Patrick Mahomes (2.5) and Josh Allen (2.4) rank one-two in NFL history in terms of total touchdowns per game. Mahomes is already one of the top five or ten best QBs of all-time, if he retired today. He is the NFL's all-time leader in passer rating and passing yards per game.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a QB who puts up video game numbers quite like Allen. He already surpassed Mahomes for the most total touchdowns (209) through six seasons in NFL history.
2. Best QBs in NFL in last four years
For the last four years nobody comes close to the production put up by Mahomes and Allen. They rank one-two in QB wins, touchdown touchdowns and yards in that span, by a mile. Allen hasn't won an MVP yet, but Mahomes and Allen have finished top three in MVP voting twice, in 2020 and 2022.
Most QB wins since 2020
- 1. Patrick Mahomes: 48
- 2. Josh Allen: 43
- 3. 2 players tied with 35
Most pass/rush TD since 2020
- 1. Josh Allen: 163
- 2. Patrick Mahomes: 146
- 3. Justin Herbert: 125
Most pass/rush yards since 2020
- 1. Patrick Mahomes: 19,334
- 2. Josh Allen: 18,736
- 3. Justin Herbert: 18,038
3. Big numbers in head-to-head meetings
The head-to-head matchups between these QBs have not disappointed, especially in terms of numbers.
Mahoms and Allen have combined for 28 total touchdowns and 3,401 total yards in their first five meetings. Both marks rank in the top three all-time for a QBs first five meetings. As you can see on the list below, the only QB rivalry to produce more yardage through five matchups was Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers and Brees. vs Matthew Stafford.
|Most Combined Pass/Rush Yards in First Five QB Matchups - All-Time
Drew Brees vs. Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees vs. Matthew Stafford
Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes
4. Frequent meetings
Despite playing in different divisions, their dominance has allowed them to meet now six times in the last four years. Only four other rivalries between QBs from different divisions featured that many meetings in that short of a span: Cam Newton/Russell Wilson, Tom Brady/Joe Flacco, Tom Brady/Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre/Troy Aikman.
5. Playoff epic
In case you need reminding, the last couple of matchups between Allen and Mahomes have been amazing, including the 42-36 Chiefs' overtime win in 2021, perhaps the best playoff game in NFL history.
- The Bills and Chiefs combined for 31 points after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, the most in playoff history.
- Allen and Mahomes combined for four go-ahead touchdown passes in that span while going 15 of 20 passing for 290 yards.
- It's the only game in NFL history, regular season or postseason, where both QBs had 300 passing yards, three passing TDs, zero interceptions and 50 Rush yards.
- Mahomes led an OT-forcing drive that started with 13 seconds left in regulation. It was the latest start time for a game-tying or go-ahead drive in playoff history.
This will be their first matchup since a Bills' 24-20 win in Kansas City in Week 6 last year. Josh Allen threw an incredible game-winning touchdown pass to Dawson Knox with about a minute left. I'd sign up for a similar thrilling finish this weekend.
What about Mahomes vs. Burrow?
There's a case to be made that Mahomes and Joe Burrow have a better rivalry than Mahomes and Allen. After all, most would say they've been the best two quarterbacks in the league for the last three years. They've also had four really good head-to-head matchups, and they've split their playoff meetings, unlike Mahomes and Allen. Burrow has also made a Super Bowl, unlike Allen.
My counter would be Mahomes and Allen rivalry has been of similar quality but been around longer. Their numbers are more historic and Burrow's injuries (both in 2020 and 2023) don't help. Plus, Mahomes and Allen both play a more entertaining brand of football with more dual-threat ability.
Debate away, but regardless there'll be another chapter added to the Mahomes and Allen rivalry on Sunday, hopefully one that will continue its trajectory as one of the best ever.