The Divisional round wasn’t a great one in the AFC, however, the teams on the right side of those blowouts get to play each other this weekend in the AFC Championship. As fun as this game will be regardless, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a wager or two. Here’s a prop featuring the two quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady — who are at opposite ends of their careers, but equally capable of putting up huge numbers.
Related: NFL Betting Guide
Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady: Which quarterback will throw for more yards?
The case for Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes’ 319 passing yards per game were second only to Ben Roethlisberger (321). Mahomes accomplished this throwing 95 fewer passes this season. His 8.79 yards per attempt were the best of any quarterback with more than 250 pass attempts.
In other words, if this game ends up being a shootout, that favors Mahomes. He threw for 278 yards last week against the Colts even though Kansas City had a double-digit lead for pretty much the entire game. This game could easily turn to a spin-off of Chiefs vs. Rams in the regular season when Mahomes threw for 478 yards in a 54-51 loss.
Mahomes also clearly has the better weapons. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are significantly ahead of Brady’s receivers, especially considering how much Rob Gronkowski has struggled. In his last four games, Gronk has just five receptions for 70 yards (17.5 per game).
When these two teams met earlier this season, Mahomes bested Brady, 352-340. Unlike this Sunday’s game, that one was on the road. Tyreek Hill torched the Patriots with 142 yards on seven receptions.
The case for Tom Brady
Brady holds two of the top three passing games in postseason history and they both came in the last two Super Bowls. He threw for 505 yards last year against Philadelphia and 466 yards the year before against Atlanta.
Brady has 38 career playoff starts and 10,569 postseason passing yards. Both are records and it isn’t close. He averages 278 yards per playoff game (the same number Mahomes threw for in his playoff debut) and, had you made this bet last week, he would have been the clear winner with 343 yards. Like Mahomes, he did this despite the Patriots nursing a big lead the whole game.
Perhaps the best thing going in Brady’s favor is the matchup. The Chiefs gave up 273 passing yards per game this year, which was the worst in the league except for Cincinnati. The Chargers defense that Brady just lit up ranked ninth, allowing 228 yards per game.
Though New England has the 22nd-ranked pass defense, they’re fifth in yards per attempt (6.9). They’ll also have fewer weapons to worry about. Kareem Hunt had 185 yards from scrimmage in their first meeting. Damien Williams has played well, but he’s not as likely to break the game open. That means Bill Belichick will spend more time and resources stopping Kansas City’s passing game. No one has shut Mahomes down this season but, if anyone can, it’s Belichick.
The bet: Mahomes. This looks like another shootout and Mahomes has thrived in those. The Chiefs haven’t always come out on top in those games, but Mahomes tends to light up the box score regardless. For all we know, the Patriots could come out with a run-heavy attack. If you can stomach betting against Brady in the playoffs, Mahomes is the way to go.
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