Week 4 of "Sunday Night Football" appeared to be an epic showdown between two of the best quarterbacks of all-time with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and new New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers set to square off. Instead, Mahomes will toe the MetLife Stadium rubber turf opposite Zach Wilson, the Jets' No. 2 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft who is on pace to rank last in the NFL in passer rating (57.0 this season) for the third consecutive year.
How differently have the careers of Mahomes, a seven-year veteran, and Wilson, a third-year passer, unfolded? Here's a quick look at some jaw-dropping numbers.
Mahomes has 19 career halves with at least three passing touchdowns; Wilson has has never thrown for three touchdowns in a game. Mahomes has even thrown for three passing touchdowns twice in one game on multiple occasions (2018 at the Steelers and 2018 at the Rams). Mahomes has more career halves with 300 passing yards (three) than Wilson has career games (two). Mahomes is the only quarterback in NFL history with a career average of 300 or more passing yards per game (301.7, minimum five games played). Mahomes' NFL-record 105.4 career passer rating is higher than Wilson's best career game (101.1). Wilson is the only player since 1970 to finish last in passer rating in back-to-back seasons (2021-22), and he is last this season, too. Mahomes has won more playoff games (11) than Wilson has won regular-season games (eight).
Number of games in career
3+ Pass TD
100+ Passer Rating
300+ Passing Yards
*19 halves with 3 pass TD
Should this game get out of hand early, don't worry. Entertainment in the form of popstar Taylor Swift cheering on Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, her , in person at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night will .
How to watch
When the Chiefs have the ball
Mahomes will be dropping back and looking to distribute the football quickly to Kelce -- who has two receiving touchdowns across the last two weeks since returning from his knee injury that caused him to miss Week 1 -- and the rest of his supporting cast while evading the Jets' potent pass rush. The Chiefs are only allowing Mahomes to be pressured on 30.5% of his dropbacks, the ninth-lowest rate in the NFL. Conversely, the Jets defense is generating a quarterback pressure on 39.5% of opposing dropbacks, the eighth-highest rate in the league. Kansas City right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who the Chiefs signed to a four-year, $80 million contract in free agency this past offseason, has been called for seven penalties this season, the most in the entire NFL. Most of the penalties stem from being called for an illegal formation penalty where Taylor is getting a head start and not fully lining up on the line of scrimmage.
"I know I definitely have to clean it up, so I wouldn't just blame the officials," Taylor said Wednesday when asked by KSHB 41's Aaron Ladd about his penalty issues this season.
Taylor and the rest of the Chiefs offensive line will have their hands full up front since the Jets have three players with double-digit quarterback pressures through three games: defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (14), 2022 first-team All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (12) and linebacker Bryce Huff (11). Mahomes will have to hang in there against the rush and pick apart the defense without the help of fewer defenders in coverage due to the blitz. He has been the league's lowest-blitzed quarterback so far this season, seeing manufactured pressure on just 13.5% of his dropbacks, and Gang Green relies on its domineering front to fluster quarterbacks, blitzing on only 20.2% of quarterback dropbacks, tied for the seventh-lowest rate in the NFL.
Look for Mahomes to be tested early but eventually find his groove as the game progresses thanks to the lack of activity on the other side of the ball.
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When the Jets have the ball
Due to Rodgers getting injured four plays into the 2023 season and thus forcing Wilson back into action, the Jets' offense has been putrid. No offense in the NFL has been less offensive than the Jets through the first three weeks of the season, as they rank dead last in the league in scoring offense (14.0 points per game), total offense (225.0 total yards per game) and third-down conversion rate (21.6%). The blame for the scoring futility can be placed at the feet of Wilson, who has been the worst passer in football, and his offensive line, which is allowing the most quarterback pressure in the league with a 53.1% quarterback pressured rate allowed.
Zach Wilson this season
*Among 34 qualified quarterbacks
That's not a great matchup for the Jets given that Chiefs second-year defensive end George Karlaftis co-leads the NFL in quarterback pressures (13) and that 2022 first-team All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones returned from his contract holdout. Speaking of Jones, his 2.5 sacks since his Week 2 return are the ninth-most in the NFL.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Jets 9
Everything about this matchup is set for Mahomes and the Chiefs to feast. Wilson leading the NFL's worst offense will lead to plenty of punts, and providing Mahomes extra possessions is not the way to go in order to knock off the reigning Super Bowl champions. Kelce will get into the end zone again Sunday night,. This game could get out of hand by the end of the first quarter.
R.J. White, our NFL expert over at SportsLine.com, has been on a roll with his Jets predictions, going 45-29-2 in his last 76 picks in games involving New York. If you want to check out White's take on this prime-time game, click here.