Could Mahomes vs. Herbert be this Generation's ‘Brady vs. Manning?’

Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert match up in Week 15 in a rematch from Week 3 when the Chargers beat the Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.
Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert match up in Week 15 in a rematch from Week 3 when the Chargers beat the Chiefs on the road at Arrowhead Stadium. /

Patrick Mahomes' path to stardom in Kansas City has been well documented through his four-year career, but Justin Herbert wasn't even supposed to play the first time his name was called in an NFL game.

It was Week 2 of the 2020 season, and the Los Angeles Chargers' team doctor accidentally punctured the lungs of starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor in an attempt to recover from cracked ribs. Herbert was supposed to sit behind the veteran, learn from the bench, and eventually take over midway through the season.

Instead, minutes before kickoff, L.A. had to go to their backup in Herbert, a first-round rookie to make his first start of his career against Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. While the Chargers fell 23-20, Herbert stepped in and impressed; going 22-of-33 for 311 yards and two all-purpose touchdowns.

Now, both quarterbacks not only find themselves amongst the top of the leaderboard for NFL MVP this season at WynnBET Sportsbook, also appear on a collision course for the AFC West division.

The Chiefs are currently 3.5-point favorites at WynnBET when they travel to L.A on Thursday Night Football. The spread opened at K.C. -2.5, jumped all the way to -4, but has dipped back down a point following the news that Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones has been placed in the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list.

Meanwhile, the total currently sits at 51.5, with even action on both the OVER and UNDER.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert is the NFL's Next Great Quarterback Rivalry

With a win, the Chargers would overtake the Chiefs for the division, having swept the season series. If Kansas City walks away with a victory on the road, they'd claim a two-game lead, almost assuredly giving themselves another AFC West championship.

With the stakes as high as they are, along with both quarterbacks near the top of their respective games, one can't help but wonder if this is the next generation's equivalent of the epic Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady battles from 2001-2015.

Each regular season matchup between the two felt heightened compared to the rest because of what was on the line. If the Colts won, it would keep Manning and the Indy offense possibly on their home turf in the postseason. If Brady and the Pats got the job done, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC ran through New England, where Manning struggled in the cold weather. This was evidenced in the five games they played in the postseason, with each team going undefeated at home.

Brady went on to go 11-6 vs. Manning in his career. Right now, the series between Mahomes and Herbert is tied at 1-apiece, with both quarterbacks winning against each other on the road.

Herbert is 2-1 vs. Kansas City in his career, but didn't face Mahomes in Week 17 of the 2020 season as the Chiefs had locked in the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Mahomes is 3-0 in his career vs. the Chargers on the road.

Regardless of who wins on Thursday, NFL fans of terrific quarterback play can celebrate the next coming of one of the great quarterback rivalries for years to come.