Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes are far and away the best quarterbacks the AFC has to offer in terms of both sheer talent and production. Joe Burrow represented the conference in the Super Bowl this year but it is not unreasonable to believe he's still No. 3 in the power rankings behind those two.
Mahomes and Allen are two generational talents the likes of which we've never really seen before. Mahomes makes throws that are downright impossible while Allen is a human tank who can throw a football 60 yards on a rope without exerting much effort. The playoff battle between the two in this year's Divisional Round will go down as one of the best in postseason history and an unforgettable duel.
Whether one prefers Mahomes or Allen will be a long-term debate, but as of now only one of those two has won a Super Bowl and an MVP award so it's not at the same level the Brady-Manning debate once was last decade. That will not stop the engine of grand argument, though, and Chris Simms made an entry himself while at the NFL Combine this week when he said he believes Allen has outplayed Mahomes over the last two seasons.
Let's check the numbers, shall we?
Mahomes in 2020: 4,740 yards passing, 38 touchdowns, six interceptions; 308 yards rushing, two touchdowns
Allen in 2020: 4,544 yards passing, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 421 yards rushing, eight touchdowns
Mahomes in 2021: 4,839 yards passing, 37 touchdowns, 13 interceptions; 381 yards rushing, two touchdowns
Allen in 2021: 4,407 yards passing, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions; 763 yards rushing, six touchdowns
Much closer than one might think. Allen is predictably more dangerous on the ground but more prone to mistakes in the passing game. Mahomes had what we saw as a very bad year in regards to his interception count this season and Allen still threw two more. Yet Mahomes is also seen as a far more talented passer and didn't blow Allen out of the water in terms of his production through the air, both in terms of yardage and touchdowns.
It is still ultimately difficult to proclaim Allen has outplayed Mahomes over the last two seasons because of their win-loss records. Mahomes led the Chiefs to the top seed in the AFC in 2020 and the No. 2 seed in 2021. He made it to the Championship Game in both seasons and got to the Super Bowl in 2020. Allen lost in Kansas City in his lone Championship Game appearance in 2020 and didn't make it past the Chiefs in the Divisional Round this season, although he did literally everything he could to change that outcome.
These sorts of arguments come down to one simple question: if you had to win one game in either of those seasons, who would you pick? Mahomes is going to be the popular answer because when he's at his best there is nobody better. Allen was at his best in the playoffs this year and it still wasn't enough. But after 2021, the margin between the two is far slimmer than anyone would have anticipated.