Round 4 between Mahomes and Mayfield is set for Sunday in Kansas City, this time it is for a chance to play in the AFC Championship Game. A game Mahomes and the Chiefs know very well after playing in it the last two years. Baker and the Browns, however, haven’t played in the game in 32 years or since 1989 when the Browns faced off against John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
Before Baker Mayfield was a Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma and #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, he started 8 games at Texas Tech in 2013. There was the countless drama that has been well-publicized by each side, the Mayfields and Texas Tech, and each has its own version of the story. While Baker no longer started for Texas Tech, he would go on and beat Mahomes and Texas Tech twice while in college. The Sooners QB beat Mahomes in a blowout in 2015, before narrowly winning one of the greatest offensive battles in college football history in 2016, we all remember Mahomes and his 819 total yards in that game.
The next time these two would face off would be in the NFL in a 2018 game that Mahomes would dominate with 375 yards and 3 TDs compared to Mayfield’s 297 yards and 2 touchdowns. After the Browns’ dominant win in Pittsburgh this past Sunday, Mahomes and the #1 seed in the AFC, Kansas City Chiefs will face off against Baker Mayfield and the #6 in the AFC, the Cleveland Browns, in the 4th and most meaningful game of their rivalry so far.
Check out the Guns Up Nation staff predictions below.
The Browns’ dominant win over The Steelers has to be concerning for the Chiefs but there is a reason why the Chiefs are the 1 seed in the AFC. Kansas City will not make the same mistakes on offense that Pittsburgh did, and will completely overwhelm the Browns’ defense. As long as the weather is clear the Chiefs will dominate next weekend.
Prediction: 48-27 Chiefs
With Mahomes and the Chiefs coming off of the lone bye week in the AFC conference, what better way to try and defend their Super Bowl title than with Texas Techs’ most famous son against one of Texas Tech fans’ most hated players in Baker Mayfield. Obviously, the Chiefs and Mahomes are favorites and are favorites to come out of the AFC. The Browns and Mayfield fought through unlikely circumstances when their head coach and multiple players had to miss their win against the Steelers on Super Wild Card weekend. Let’s stick to the QB matchup though. Mahomes has had the most successful start to a career an NFL QB has ever had. Including breaking multiple NFL records, winning an MVP in his first as a starter, and not to mention winning a Super Bowl MVP and title in his third season. Baker on the other hand was almost left for dead after his second year as the starter. Many wondered if Baker was more of an actor than a Qb, but to his credit, he turned things around this year and so did the Browns.
Where does that leave us for the matchup on Sunday though?
Well if everything goes right with COVID-19 protocols and everyone is available to play, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes will be out to make a statement. Mahomes and Chiefs are out to prove that last year was the start of a dynasty and not a one-hit-wonder. Mahomes and his wide assortment of weapons on offense should have a field day with a Browns secondary that has struggled at times this year. Expect a lot of Kelce and Hill per usual and don’t be surprised if Sammy Watkins makes an impact if he’s available to play. All in all, Mahomes and Mayfield couldn’t care less about the “rivalry” that exists between the two of them, but damn is it not fun to watch the “rivalry” continue and this time, Mahomes has a defense to back him and his high powered offense up.
Prediction: 38-24 Chiefs
It’s not much of a debate as to who the better player is, but for the sake of argument, let’s consider it. Tech fans watched Baker deservedly lose the starting QB job at Texas Tech and watched Mahomes light it up in a Tech uniform. Mayfield would famously transfer to OU and outright lie about why, but found success there via lucking into an absolute dream scenario for a QB. Mahomes and Mayfield would face each other later in college, once in a blowout loss in which Baker had the better day, and again in the definition of a shootout in which both players posted video-game numbers. OU ultimately won this game 66-59, but it’s far less of a feat to produce 564 yards against an abysmal Texas Tech defense than to produce an NCAA record 819 yards against OU talent. Fans of Baker also like to point to him winning the Heisman as proof of his ability, but the Heisman remains a “pick the highest-profile player on a great team” award.
Mahomes and Mayfield have faced each other once in the NFL, and it was a decisive 37-21 win in which Patrick unquestionably outplayed Mayfield. Life in the NFL with more parity hasn’t been as easy for Baker as his time at OU was. While his rookie year showed some promise, he significantly regressed in his second year in the league and threw 21 interceptions. Baker is having a rebound season in 2020, but he isn’t better statistically in virtually any category than Mahomes, and that has been the case throughout the three seasons for both players. Mahomes’ NFL prowess isn’t even really in question at this point as he’s won a well-deserved MVP award in each of his first two seasons as a starter, and he may well make it a third. Mahomes has shattered nearly every “youngest to ___ “ statistic there is and is by metrics on track to become the greatest player in the history of the game. Patrick is far better at this point than any QB has ever been, and that has been the case ever since he took the reins in KC.
The precious few Mahomes detractors left feebly attempt to discount his production because he has elite receiving weapons in Kelce and Hill, but his offensive line has also been mostly poor to average throughout his career, and the run game has been rather hit-and-miss. Baker presently enjoys protection behind the league’s best OL, and he isn’t asked to carry the offense that often because the Browns have one of the best backfields in the league. In fact, in the three games, this season featuring the most pass attempts by Baker, the Browns are 0-3. Mayfield is at his best when he gets to be a game-manager, while the Chiefs structure the league’s best offense around Mahomes and count on him to make plays and come through week after week. That should say enough in and of itself.
The Chiefs and Browns will now play each other, and much will be made about the QB battle due to the connections. It’s reasonable to assume that the Chiefs take care of business and win as they should, but it’s the NFL and there’s always the potential for a team to start a game like the Steelers did to send Cleveland to the next round. However, even if Cleveland were to win 90-0 as Mayfield plays the greatest game of his life while Mahomes plays the worst game of his, it still wouldn’t close the gap between the overall body of work of these two quarterbacks. It is far more likely that the better player in Mahomes plays like it and continues to keep the Chiefs atop the league en route to much bigger things yet again.
Prediction: 35-24 Chiefs
Mayfield: 28/47 for 240 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Mahomes: 33/44 for 327 yards and 3 TDs
NFL, and college football, fans can only dream of another performance these two put on back in 2016. Will this Divisional round match-up deliver? The Chiefs have long been viewed as the best team in football this season, but haven’t really blown a ton of teams out to cement the true dominance of the best team in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Browns are home to Mr. Momentum right now. No, the Browns cannot on Mahomes throwing 4 INTs, but there is zero doubt the belief in the Cleveland locker room is to continue its winning ways.
Don’t anticipate other eye-popping numbers from Baker Mayfield’s stat line, only because they are built to run the ball first. The defending Super Bowl champions understand just how hot their opponent is, and should come focused. If you like points (and why wouldn’t you like points) this one will have plenty. This game will stay close until the 4th quarter when the Chiefs prove to be too much for the Browns and pull away in the end.
Prediction: 45-35 Chiefs
Baker Mayfield: 20/28 for 274 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Patrick Mahomes: 40/50 for 380 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
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