In January, Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes authored two electrifying performances as the Cincinnati Bengals bested the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17 and again in the AFC Championship Game.
Ahead of their Week 13 bout on Sunday, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd sees shades of the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry that dominated the early 2000s.
"It's going back to that quarterback fight. I look at it like Manning and Brady," Boyd said Monday, via the team's official website. "You can't stop them. It comes down to whoever excels and takes advantage of their opportunities in drives and scores points. These are the types of games that we have to take care of the football and not turn it over."
Since Manning retired, many combinations have been dubbed the next Manning-Brady (most involving Mahomes). However, we're still far from an annual rivalry reaching those lofty heights.
Burrow's Bengals are 2-0 against Mahomes' Chiefs in the infancy stage of their head-to-head competition.
Boyd smirked when asked which one was Brady and which might be Manning in this comparison.
"It's Burrow and Mahomes. I wouldn't compare them," Boyd said. "Those are two guys with records for fastest two quarterbacks to reach 10,000 yards. It's hard to stop Burrow and hard to stop Mahomes. At the end of the day, Burrow is two up. Whichever one you want to pick, whoever got the most wins, there you go."
Regardless of the comparisons, Sunday's game promises to be a heavyweight bout between two AFC postseason contenders.
The Chiefs are on a five-game winning streak, with Mahomes leading the NFL with 29 touchdown passes and 3,585 passing yards despite a retooled receiver corps. Meanwhile, the Bengals have won five of their past six games, with Burrow sitting tied for second with 23 TDs and third in passing yards (3,160) despite playing the past four games without Ja'Marr Chase, who is expected to return this weekend.
It's a pivotal matchup for AFC playoff positioning. Not only are the 9-2 Chiefs attempting to avenge a playoff defeat to Cincy, but they're also looking to gain ground on the No. 1 seed. The Bengals moved to 7-4, in a tie with Baltimore in the AFC North, and sit just one game up for a wild-card spot.