AFC championship game preview: Ravens-Chiefs matchup features a great QB battle

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson will make even more history on Sunday.

The two quarterbacks will meet in the first playoff matchup of former MVPs that are both under age 30, according to NFL Media's Dante Koplowitz-Fleming. It's also a matchup between last season's MVP, Mahomes, and this season's presumed MVP, Jackson. They are both on a Hall of Fame career track, but there's one big difference: Mahomes has two Super Bowl rings with the Kansas City Chiefs and Jackson hasn't been to a Super Bowl yet.

This is Jackson's time to add to his resume.

Chiefs (13-6) at Ravens (14-4)

Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, CBS

Betting line: Ravens -3.5, total is 44.5

Super Bowl odds: Ravens +200, Chiefs +350

Odds via BetMGM

Why we're watching

We'll look back at what Patrick Mahomes has accomplished and appreciate it as one of the great feats in NFL history. In Mahomes' six seasons as Chiefs starter, Kansas City has been to the AFC championship game six times. That's remarkable. With a Super Bowl win, the Chiefs would have to be considered a dynasty. That would be three championships and another Super Bowl appearance with Mahomes. We're watching history unfold with these Chiefs.

What could put us to sleep

No reason to worry, this is one of the most compelling matchups the NFL could offer us this season. If there's any concern it might be that it won't be the offensive masterpiece you'd expect from a game with two MVP quarterbacks. That's because both teams are excellent on defense. Baltimore was first in DVOA on defense and Kansas City was seventh. Both defenses did very well this past weekend against excellent quarterbacks. Defensive games can be great too. But there might not be endless points scored.

Wild card of this AFC title game

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews hasn't played since suffering a fracture in his fibula and an ankle injury on Nov. 16. He isn't guaranteed to play this week either, though it's possible after he was close last week. Andrews is one of the five best tight ends in the NFL, and if he's even close to healthy he'd have an impact on the Ravens offense. That is, if he's not too rusty. Nobody has any idea what Andrews will do. He might not play. He might look much less than 100% or rusty after more than two months off. Or he could look like one of the best players in football for an offense that loves to feature him. It's impossible to know.

Person we'll likely praise after the victory

Lamar Jackson doesn't have that many detractors. The ones he does have are relentless. Anyone still not on board with Jackson being a generational, Hall of Fame talent will repeat that his style just doesn't win in the playoffs, even if it's illogical. If Jackson wins a championship, there's not much more to say about him other than he's a great quarterback. Hard stop.

Person we'll likely second-guess after the defeat

Maybe we'll be questioning Chiefs coach Andy Reid doing something like giving Mecole Hardman a random goal-line carry like he did against the Bills? Probably not. If the Chiefs lose, there could be old criticism about their receivers, though they have played better lately, thanks to Rashee Rice's continued emergence. If the Chiefs lose, it'll just be because they went up against a fantastic Ravens team. And if Baltimore loses, it will all fall on Jackson's shoulders no matter how well he plays. We already know that.