Mahomes & Burrow set for compelling quarterback battle in Cincinnati

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  • Cincinnati Bengals
    Cincinnati Bengals
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  • Kansas City Chiefs
    Kansas City Chiefs
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  • Patrick Mahomes
    Patrick Mahomes
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A regular season dominated by questions and doubts surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs is likely to end with them in a familiar position as the number one seed in the AFC.

It is a spot they have occupied in each of the past three seasons, though only once has it resulted in Super Bowl glory.

The Chiefs can clinch the top spot in the conference in Week 17, though to do so they must come through a huge test on the road as they face the Cincinnati Bengals.

There could also be a piece of history for superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is looking to become only the third quarterback to throw for 150 or more touchdowns in a four-season span.

Should he throw three passing touchdowns over the next two games, Mahomes will join Peyton Manning and Drew Brees in that exclusive club.

The Chiefs are on an eight-game winning streak and, while Mahomes may not have produced his brilliant best on a consistent basis this season, he has been one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL since Kansas City's Week 12 bye.

Over the last four weeks, Mahomes is third in yards per attempt (8.54) and passer rating (108.8) and tied fourth in passing plays of 25 yards or more (10).

The only player above him in each of those categories is the player he will look to outduel on Sunday, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

Burrow is arguably the hottest quarterback in football and heads into the game having thrown for 525 yards and four touchdowns in the Bengals' rout of the Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati's signal-caller has delivered the highest percentage of accurate, well-thrown balls in the NFL among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 attempts. His percentage of 86.5 over three full points better than his nearest challenger Ryan Tannehill (83.1).

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow

He will put the ball in harm's way, though with his pickable pass rate of 3.65 per cent the 14th best among the 32 quarterbacks to have attempted at least 200 throws, Burrow is still on the right side of the ledger when it comes to turnover-worthy throws.

Burrow will need to be careful to avoid giveaways against an opportunistic Chiefs defense that has improved throughout the year. The Chiefs are fourth in the NFL in takeaways (28) and sixth in points off takeaways (90). They are 9-1 in games where they force two or more turnovers.

Even with their dominance last week, the 9-6 Bengals still only hold a one-game lead in a tight AFC North, though they have the tiebreaker over the Ravens, and can ill-afford a slip-up.

The blowout of Baltimore saw the Bengals score 31 points in the first half for the second time in five games. The Dallas Cowboys and the Chiefs are the only teams to score 31 points in a half even once in the same span.

It is a game that is high stakes and should also be high scoring. With two quarterbacks that are both the present and the future of the league in superb form, this critical matchup promises to be a must-watch.

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