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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow admitted this week to hearing comments from Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who called for not considering Burrow as a contender for a Hall of Fame spot if early in his career.
Burrow responded with 525 passing yards in a landslide victory over their rivals in the North American Association.
He could have an equally stellar performance on Sunday, when the Bengals host Western American Champions Kansas City Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“I think no matter who the opponent is we will be excited to play,” said Burrow, refusing to reduce the clash to a clash between the two quarterbacks.
“It’s a big opportunity for us, whether it’s the Chiefs or any other team. We have the chance to win and secure our place in the playoffs. “
The Bengals (9-6) can secure their section title by beating the Chiefs (11-4) on Sunday. They would free themselves from a big burden for their last game of the season against the Cleveland Browns, in addition to giving their coach Zac Taylor a rare opportunity to give Burrow and the other stars a week off. team in preparation for the first knockout round the following week.
But beating the Chiefs might just be the hardest thing to do in football right now.
After a remarkable start to the season that left the team with a losing record with seven games played, Mahomes and his gang turned the tide in spectacular fashion. They notched eight straight wins, most recently 36-10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, to secure a sixth straight section title.
The Chiefs have also recovered from a COVID-19 outbreak and are back in peak form.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s an important game,” said Taylor. We want to finish at the top of the section and move on to the playoffs. The Chiefs are simply the adversary that separates us from this goal. They are a spectacular team and they have had a lot of success in the last few seasons.
“We understand it, but we don’t think about it too much. It’s up to us to do our job. “
But it’s not just among the Bengals where the stakes will be high.
The Chiefs start the weekend one game ahead of the Tennessee Titans in the race for the top spot of the American. This position is accompanied by a pass for the first playoff game and home field advantage for the duration of the playoffs.
“The job is not finished,” said Mahomes. We want our first place. “
And regarding his clash against Burrow on Sunday:
“He’s not only a great football player but also a great point guard,” said Mahomes. He can lead anyone, no matter where he is. He is still confident.
“But we’re going to win anyway. It takes a lot of experience to make it happen and it has to be done for people who believe in it. “
The Chiefs-Browns duel will take place at 1:00 p.m. Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Burrow must complete 38 passes by the end of the season to break the Bengals team record. Carson Palmer had scored 373 in 2007.
The quarterback also needs 129 aerial yards and four touchdown passes to eclipse the 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns marks set by Andy Dalton in 2013.