The two teams featured in last year’s AFC Championship Game cruised to easy victories in the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, and did so effortlessly enough that excitement is mounting for the rematch next weekend. The Buffalo Bills thoroughly stomped the New England Patriots while the Kansas City Chiefs shook off a slow start to annihilate the Pittsburgh Steelers. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes shined in both blowouts.
Bill Simmons discussed the happenings on his podcast released this morning and dove into the debate of whether he’d rather have Mahomes or Allen for the next 15 years. After watching Allen do whatever he wanted against the Patriots’ defense for 60 minutes over the weekend, it was perhaps predictable that Simmons said he’d “probably” take the Bills QB over Mahomes because Allen is more durable (29:35 mark of the podcast):
“Who would you take between Allen and Mahomes over the next 15 years? I would probably take Allen because I think he’s more durable… He’s a year younger than Mahomes. I think he’s one of those LeBron-like guys. He’s just built differently. Mahomes is built in a way that if people land on him, there are going to be injuries, which we’ve already seen. Allen’s 6-foot-5, 240.”
Simmons is objectively correct in his durability argument. Mahomes has missed two starts due to injury in four full seasons as starter while Allen hasn’t missed one in three seasons. I don’t know if Allen is a LeBron James-level athlete who is inhumanly durable but given how often the quarterback runs the ball and the hits he’s taken without consequence it can feel like it.
But while durability is important, Mahomes is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and Allen isn’t. That’s what matters over the long run and the short run. When Allen is feeling it, he’s as good as anybody in the league. He led the Buffalo offense to the first perfect game in NFL history, scoring a touchdown on every single possession against New England on Saturday night before it was time to kneel and run out the clock. He was accurate, extended plays, and did a ton of damage on the ground. It was as good as we’ve ever seen Allen.
The big problem is that version of Allen doesn’t show up every week. This season is a perfect example. Some weeks, Allen looked spectacular, and others he looked stunningly bad. The same Bills offense that scored 47 in a playoff game against Bill Belichick scored exactly six points against the Jacksonville Jaguars three months ago.
Mahomes has had his own issues with consistency this year but his lows don’t get anywhere near the depths Allen’s does. His best is just as good if not better than Allen’s. That’s really what it comes down to.
We’ll get to see the pair duke it out with everything on the line again and it’ll be a blast. But for now, it’s safe to assume that the guy who won an MVP and a Super Bowl already is a better bet over the next decade-plus than Allen.