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Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning was must-watch TV for 14 years. Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes has taken that mantle.
Bengals-Chiefs on CBS Sunday drew 23.4 million viewers, the best number for a Week 13 game on CBS since 2014. That 2014 game, by the way, was Tom Brady’s 9-2 Patriots vs. Aaron Rodgers’ 8-3 Green Bay Packers.
Burrow vs. Mahomes is the best NFL rivalry since Brady/Manning
Joe Burrow’s Bengals defeated Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs, which means the Cincinnati signal-caller is now 3-0 against the Kansas City QB.
The Brady-Manning rivalry actually started out quite similarly. The known commodity, Manning, started 0-6 against Brady — including 0-2 in the playoffs. Brady’s first career start came in 2001, which was Manning’s fourth season in the NFL.
Burrow started his first game in 2020, his rookie season, when Mahomes was in his … fourth season. Now, the major difference here is that Mahomes has already won a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, of course, didn’t win a championship until 2006.
Brady and Manning ultimately faced one another 17 times, including playoffs. Brady held a distinctive advantage, 11-6, but Manning was slightly more successful in the postseason at 3-2. Four of the five playoff matchups came in the AFC Championship, and three were won by Manning.
Burrow has already defeated Mahomes in the AFC Championship. Could they meet again this season? Currently, the Bills and Chiefs are favored to be the matchup. Buffalo is +175 to win the AFC and the Chiefs are just behind them at +250; Cincinnati is a distant third at +650.
However, the Bengals weren’t supposed to make it to the AFC Championship last season, yet that’s exactly what happened.
If the TV ratings for last year’s AFC Championship and last Sunday’s game are any indication, everyone is hoping for history to repeat itself.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ