NFL schedule 2024: Chiefs will host Ravens to kick off season in rematch of AFC

The  Kansas City Chiefs host the NFL Kickoff Game by virtue of being the Super Bowl champion. The team Kansas City beat on the road in the AFC Championship to get to Super Bowl LVIII will be the opponent.

The NFL announced Monday the Chiefs will host the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL Kickoff Game on Thursday, September 5 at 8:20 p.m. The game will be broadcast on NBC.

This showdown will be a rematch of the 2024 AFC title game, which Kansas City beat Baltimore on the road, 17-10. This game was Patrick Mahomes’ second consecutive road playoff victory, beating a Ravens team that had the best record in the regular season and the league MVP in Lamar Jackson.

Here’s a quick tale of the tape on the quarterback matchup:

Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes is off to the greatest start for a quarterback ever. He already has three Super Bowls at the age of 28 and three Super Bowl MVPs. He’s on that exclusive list of winning two NFL MVPs and three Super Bowl MVPs (Tom Brady, Joe Montana are the others) — yet Mahomes isn’t even 30 yet (Brady reached this feat at  33 and Montana at 34).

Going down the list of postseason accomplishments, Mahomes is already among the all-time greats at quarterback. His 15 postseason victories trail only Brady (31) and Joe Montana (16), largely considered the two greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Brady and Montana are also the other two quarterbacks with three Super Bowl MVPs (Brady has five and Montana has three).

Mahomes is the first player to win two NFL MVP awards and three Super Bowl MVPs before the age of 30. He’s just the second player amongst the “big four” American sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) to have three championship MVP awards before turning 29 (Magic Johnson is the other) and the first player in NFL history to have three Super Bowl MVPs in a five-season span.

The regular season stats will get there, but winning three championships and having two NFL MVPs at the age of 28 has merit. In six seasons, Mahomes has two MVPs, three Super Bowl MVPs, one Offensive Player of the Year, led the league in touchdown passes twice, and passing yards per game twice.

Lamar Jackson

Jackson is the youngest quarterback to win the NFL MVP award twice, capturing his second MVP during the 2023 season. He completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,678 yards for 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions and a 102.7 passer rating in the 2023 season. Jackson also had 821 rushing yards and five touchdowns, leading the league with 5.5 yards per carry.

Jackson finished with over 3,000 passing yards and 800 rushing yards for the second time in his career, the only player in NFL history to reach those numbers in a season twice.

Jackson improved to 58-19 as a starting quarterback this season, as his .753 win percentage is third-best for a quarterback in NFL history (only Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady have a higher win percentage). Hs 5,258 rushing yards are fourth-most by a quarterback in NFL history, while his 13 100-yard rushing games and 61.8 rushing yards per game are the best for a quarterback in league history.

Jackson recorded his third season with over 800 yards rushing season in 2023, breaking a tie with Michael Vick (two) for the most such seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. He is the only quarterback since the 1970 merger to reach 700 rushing yards in five consecutive seasons (2019-23) and is the only quarterback since the 1970 merger to reach 600 rushing yards in each of the first six years of a career (2018-23). No other quarterback in NFL history has more than four such seasons in a career.

Jackson is one of four quarterbacks since the 1970 merger with multiple seasons posting at least 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns in a career, joining Josh Allen (four), Deshaun Watson (two) and Steve Young (two). He has four career games with at least five touchdown passes, the third most such games by a player in his first six seasons in NFL history. Only Patrick Mahomes (six games) and Dan Marino (five) have more.

The verdict

The NFL couldn’t have asked for a bigger matchup to kick off the season, carrying off the momentum from a record-setting Super Bowl in terms of viewership. Mahomes vs. Jackson will be must-see TV, as they lead to of the  best teams in the NFL.

The path to a three-peat for the Chiefs starts with their biggest competition in the AFC. This matchup will be huge for playoff implications.

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