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Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes Highlight Cardinals-Chiefs Matchup

Two of best young quarterbacks face off in season opener

Patrick Mahomes (left) and Kyler Murray faced each other briefly in the 2021 preseason but now will play against each other in the regular season.
Patrick Mahomes (left) and Kyler Murray faced each other briefly in the 2021 preseason but now will play against each other in the regular season.

Besides being two electrifying young quarterbacks in the NFL, Kyler Murray and Patrick Mahomes have plenty in common.

Both grew up in Texas and have baseball backgrounds. Their fathers were great athletes themselves and both have spent time under offensive mastermind Kliff Kingsbury.

The two will battle for the first time in the Cardinals-Chiefs Week 1 season opener on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.

"I'm familiar with his game and watched him play." Murray said. "I've met him a couple of times at the Pro Bowl and a Dallas Mavericks playoff game. Other than that, I haven't had the chance to sit down and chop it up with him like that."

Mahomes spent three seasons at Texas Tech under Kingsbury before the Chiefs drafted him 10th overall in 2017. He has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league, if not the best, since arriving at the next level.

The Chiefs have the NFL's No.1 scoring (30.3 PPG) and total offense (404.2 YPG) since Mahomes became the primary starter in 2018. Mahomes has earned Offensive Player of the Year honors, MVP, and Super Bowl MVP in five seasons with the organization.

Entering the matchup against the Cardinals, Mahomes is undefeated (4-0 record) in Week 1 in his career, with 13 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 133.7 passer rating during that span.

"The best of the best," Murray said about the matchup with Mahomes. "That should bring the best out of you. It's the NFL."

Murray, in his own right, has had early success since becoming the Cardinals' No.1 pick in 2019 with an Offensive Rookie of the Year award and two Pro Bowl nods.

Murray finished last season with a higher passer rating (100.6) than Mahomes (98.5) and had the league's highest completion percentage (73.5) before suffering an ankle injury in Week 8 against the Packers.

"(Kyler) is a winner," Mahomes said. "He's won everywhere he's been. He's extremely talented. To go against him is a tough task for any defense."

Kingsbury understands the intriguing storyline around the star quarterbacks. The head coach said while Murray is faster and Mahomes is bigger in stature, both have quick releases and the ability to play off schedule.

Mahomes is more accomplished than Murray at this point, but that doesn't mean Murray can't reach similar levels of success. Murray believes he can, so does Kingsbury.

Sunday is another chance for Murray to show out and what better opportunity than with Mahomes coming to the desert.

"Murray has that ability," Kingsbury said. "There's no doubt. People have to remember when Patrick came in, they (Chiefs) were a playoff team. When Kyler came in, they (Cardinals) were the worst team in the league.

"It's been a different type of process. Everyone has their own story, but ability-wise there's no question he has that same type of juice."