Josh Allen vs. Patrick Mahomes: NFL superstars and the game's next great rivalry
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) take on Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills (4-1) in a rematch of last year's epic playoff matchup, which the Chiefs won 42-36 in overtime. All Sports NFL will broadcast the Bills vs. Chiefs game live beginning at 9:25 p.m. on Sunday.
The NFL's success as a brand is dependent on one position more than any other sport. Quarterbacks get the most attention, and none have more star power than Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen right now.
"It's a titanic clash, an AFC Championship game preview. That's what I'm hoping for, "Former NFL quarterback Chris Simms stated this week on NBC's Pro Football Talk.
"It's the sport's marquee matchup right now."
"He [Mahomes] is aware of who is visiting town. He understands that he is the only real threat to his throne as the greatest quarterback in the game right now."
The two teams will meet for the fifth time in two years on Sunday, with Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs currently holding a 3-1 advantage over Allen's Bills, including victory in their most recent meeting, an epic 42-36 overtime victory in the divisional round of the playoffs last season.
An incredible 25 points were scored in the final one minute and 54 seconds of regulation alone, as Allen and Mahomes repeatedly (and with some speed) drove their teams down the field and into the endzone, causing the lead to change hands yet again.
Allen and the Bills appeared to have taken the lead for good with his fourth touchdown pass of the day to Gabe Davis with only 13 seconds remaining. However, that was still enough time for Mahomes to engineer a game-tying field goal opportunity for Kansas City.
The kick was good, and the Chiefs won in overtime as Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for the game-winning touchdown, with Allen not getting the chance to possess the football under the old 'golden goal' overtime rules, which have since been amended for the playoffs.
The Bills, who had their Super Bowl hopes dashed the year before by the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, strengthened in the offseason, most notably at linebacker with the addition of veteran pass rusher Von Miller, who had just won the Vince Lombardi Trophy with the Los Angeles Rams.
As a result, Buffalo were many people's favorite heading into the 2022 season. And the Bills' four-game winning streak has done nothing to dispel that notion, with the team leading the league in total offense (440.4 yards per game) and passing offense (324.0 YPG). They are also second in scoring (30.4 points per game), trailing only the Chiefs (31.8).
It means that Buffalo is actually favored by the bookmakers heading into Sunday's meeting, with Mahomes and the Chiefs underdogs at home for the first time in his five-year career as an NFL starting quarterback.
"That's the kind of thing he'll shrug about, but you know it'll be gnawing at him, that he's not considered the favorite to win a game in his stadium," Pro Football Talk host Mike Florio said. "That will give him a little extra kick."
"In public, Mahomes would say, 'I don't care.' But, in private, he'll find a way to use it to get himself pumped up for the upcoming challenge."
The only blemish on Buffalo's record this season came in Week Three, when they were defeated 21-19 by the Miami Dolphins in a bizarre game in which they otherwise dominated, finishing with 497 total yards of offense to Miami's 212.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have a 4-1 record and have also slipped up in Week Three, falling 20-17 to the then-winless Indianapolis Colts. They have recovered fairly emphatically since, putting up 41 points on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week later before beating the Las Vegas Raiders last Monday night.
The stage is now set for another classic matchup between the two teams on Sunday, live on All Sports NFL at 9.25 p.m., with Allen and Mahomes reprising their roles. And it won't be their last epic encounter, possibly not even this season.
Is it finally their time, as Allen and the Bills look to avenge their previous playoff heartbreak? Jeff Reinebold, Sky Sports' resident coach, certainly believes so.
"As my friend Ric Flair always says, 'to be the man, you have to beat the man.' And now is the time for the Bills to beat the man.
"To do it in Kansas City will be difficult - it will be difficult in that stadium - but I truly believe it is Buffalo's time now."
Neil Reynolds, co-host of Reinebold's Inside The Huddle podcast, agrees: "The Bills are on the rise. I believe this is their year."
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game, the NFL's future is in good hands, with Allen and Mahomes leading from the front a crop of exciting young quarterback talent that includes, but is not limited to, Joe Burrow and the AFC champion-Cincinnati Bengals, Jalen Hurts and the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles, and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers.
It comes as a welcome relief to the sport, especially since Brady's two-decade dominance of the NFL appears to be coming to an end.
The now 45-year-old has a Super Bowl record seven titles to his name, and while he could still add to that haul this season, the expectation is that he will retire in the offseason before changing his mind a few weeks later, and that this will be his final go-round.
And, it should be noted, at the heart of Brady's unwavering success over the years was a truly great rivalry.
"Mahomes-Allen is like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were for the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots back in the day," former NFL defensive back Will Blackmon said this week on Sky Sports.
"Or, like in the 1990s, when the NFC was dominated by the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys." One of those teams was always going to make it to the Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will face Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills live on All Sports NFL on Sunday at 9:25 p.m.