Marquee matchups come in all shapes and sizes.
However, opposing quarterbacks of the highest esteem leading their teams into confrontation are something special indeed.
As the Chiefs look to repeat and play out their reign as Super Bowl champions, Patrick Mahomes is the face of the best team in the world, arguably the finest quarterback in all the land and as the schedule makers would have it, one half of myriad marquee matchups.
Regardless of opponent, tuning in to see Mahomes the magnificent has become must-see fare, but thanks to a closer look from NFL Research, it's abundantly clear there's plenty to look forward to in terms of the Chiefs' opposition and plenty of reason for visions of quarterback firefights to dance through our heads.
Notable QB matchups for Mahomes
WK Team Possible opposing starter
1 Texans Deshaun Watson
3 Ravens Lamar Jackson
5/11 Raiders Derek Carr
6 Bills Josh Allen
8 Jets Sam Darnold
9 Panthers Teddy Bridgewater
10 Bucs Tom Brady
15 Saints Drew Brees
16 Falcons Matt Ryan
There's ample intrigue within the AFC West -- a division won by the Chiefs for the duration of Mahomes' young career -- with matchups against Derek Carr, Drew Lock and Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert likely. But Mahomes has dominated division foes, having never been defeated in head-to-head matchups with the current crop of QBs and having gone 12-1 in division matchups. His only loss came against the Philip Rivers-led Chargers in 2018.
And there's some true blockbuster battles on the horizon when the Chiefs face the Texans and Deshaun Watson, the Ravens and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, the Buccaneers and Tom Brady and the Saints and Drew Brees.
There are reigning most valuable players and former Super Bowl MVPs, Madden cover boys past, present and future, Pro Bowlers, first-rounders and some of the league's statistical standard-bearers.
Conventional wisdom is that every team brings its best when it's facing the defending Super Bowl titlists and so too will come the viewers and interest, especially with such an abundance of intriguing gunslinger showdowns.
Patrick Mahomes Opposing QBs
2020 NFL Season
(Per NFL Research)
Pro Bowlers 8
First-Team All Pro 4
NFL MVPs 3
Super Bowl Winners 2
CFP National Champions 2
Heisman Trophy Winners 2
The Texas Tech product could face two national champions in Watson and perhaps Tua Tagovailoa with the Dolphins -- it's in Week 14, so it's late enough in the season that it's most certainly feasible.
Mahomes is also set to be one-half of three MVP vs. MVP tilts as much-ballyhooed battles against Brady, Jackson and Matt Ryan await. It will be the first Mahomes-Ryan matchup, per NFL Research.
Of course, the most anticipated game might well be against Brady or Jackson. The new-look Buccaneers with Brady will host Mahomes and the champs in Week 12. It will be the fourth Brady-Mahomes encounter, with Brady owning a 2-1 advantage, including a win for him and the Patriots in the 2018 playoffs.
Before that, though, Mahomes will see Jackson in Week 3 on a Monday night in Baltimore. Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner, is the reigning MVP and the next Madden cover boy. Mahomes was the previous season's MVP and the previous man on the Madden cover.
Of course, Mahomes is also the reigning Super Bowl MVP and he holds a 2-0 record against Jackson and the Ravens.
Three weeks into the season or not, the game will be overflowing with anticipation and hype. These are the two quarterbacks who have taken the the NFL by storm and into a new age, faces of a changing frontier and producing numbers never before seen.
It will most assuredly be a game circled on NFL fans' calendars -- just like most of Mahomes and Co.'s 2020 schedule.