OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale thinks Sunday’s quarterback showdown between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes can become the next great sports rivalry.
“Just as an NFL fan, as a fantasy owner, if you will, the NFL is in good hands with these young quarterbacks,” Martindale said Thursday. “And I think you’re going to see two great quarterbacks in this game. We might be seeing the next [Tom] Brady–[Peyton] Manning matchup, [Muhammad] Ali-[Joe] Frazier, Magic [Johnson]-[Larry] Bird. You don’t know, but the excitement of it [is undeniable].”
The spotlight is on the quarterbacks Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Ravens (2-0) play the Chiefs (2-0).
Entering their second seasons as starters, Jackson and Mahomes are the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL right now. They are the only quarterbacks of the Super Bowl era to have recorded better than a 70 percent completion rate with seven touchdowns and no interceptions over the first two games of a season.
Their 14 combined touchdown passes without an interception are the second most in NFL history heading into a quarterback matchup, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It trails only Fran Tarkenton and Craig Morton in 1969 (18 touchdown passes, no interceptions combined heading into Week 6 meeting).
Jackson downplayed the buzz about Sunday’s game being about him and Mahomes.
“It’s Ravens vs. Chiefs,” Jackson said. “I don’t really look at it like I’m competing against him. I’m competing against his defense, if anything. I depend on my defense to do a great job of stopping him, and my job is to score points. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Jackson lost his only meeting to Mahomes. In December, the Chiefs beat the Ravens 27-24 in overtime. Jackson and Mahomes combined for 588 yards of total offense and four touchdown passes.