Analysis Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness: Is Deshaun Watson the biggest rival to Patrick Mahomes?

Even after Lamar Jackson was able to lead the Ravens to 14 wins and nab the NFL MVP last season, Deshaun Watson might be viewed as the biggest threat to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Week one is finally here football fans. We made it! In what seemed like the world’s longest offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs will finally get to defend their crown on Thursday night. They have the majority of their Superbowl roster coming back this season, they drafted a dynamic running back in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and most importantly, they have the best quarterback in the league.

And it’s not even close.

But if there had to be a quarterback that was labeled as Patrick Mahomes’ biggest threat, it would have to be the guy that he is squaring off against on Thursday: Deshaun Watson. I know most people probably think that it would be Lamar Jackson, but Jackson and Mahomes have faced off twice already and Mahomes won both of those games.

This was actually a debate on Good Morning Football. While Peter Schrager said that Lamar Jackson was Mahomes’ biggest rival, Kyle Brandt and Nate Burleson basically said that he doesn’t have a rival right now. Brandt, however, did say that Watson would be the closest thing.

I tend to side with Kyle Brandt just for the sake of picking somebody. It would be Deshaun Watson. Watson actually beat Patrick Mahomes back in October at Arrowhead. He had two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in that game.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, Watson got off to a hot start and had the Texans up 24-0 in the second quarter before the wheels fell off. Watson was actually pretty great in that game. He threw for almost 400 yards, had two touchdowns, and no picks. He also ran for a touchdown. Obviously, Mahomes was better and that game ended up being a blowout for the Chiefs, but that wasn’t Watson’s fault.

The Ravens were actually boasted as the hottest team in the league last year and Lamar Jackson walked away with some hardware by the end of the season. However, in the week three matchup against the Chiefs, Jackson looked somewhat pedestrian. Sure, he had his highlights, but he only rushed for one touchdown and didn’t have any passing touchdowns. Also, that score was a lot closer than the game actually was. The Chiefs were up 30-13 going into the fourth quarter. Mahomes threw for almost 400 yards and three touchdowns. Not pedestrian at all.

It also wouldn’t be accurate to label Lamar Jackson has Mahomes’ biggest rival if he can’t win a playoff game. Jackson is 0-2 in the postseason and played a sloppy game last season against the Titans. Deshaun Watson only has one playoff win to his name, but he also wasn’t on a 14-2 team. Watson was pretty consistent in his lone playoff win, completing 20 of 25 passes for 247 yards. He threw a touchdown and ran for one too.

Thursday will be Mahomes vs. Watson III with both quarterbacks having a win each. Obviously, Mahomes’ win was more important since it advanced them into the AFC Championship Game, but this game will definitely have its significance. This will be the first time Deshaun Watson hasn’t had his go-to receiver in Deandre Hopkins on the field.

The Chiefs will be without starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland, as he will be serving the first game of his four-game suspension. Mahomes does have Travis Kelce, however. Kelce had 10 catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns the last time these two teams faced off. It’s safe to say that the Texans defense will try to limit his production this week.

Deshaun Watson may be the biggest rival to Patrick Mahomes, but he has a long way to go to get to catch up to the reigning Superbowl MVP. But, don’t they all?

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