By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFL Writer
Two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history — Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers — match up against two young superstars — Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes — poised to take over for the greybeards when (and if?) they retire.
But this contest is on the golf course, as the four meet in The Match golf challenge on Wednesday in Las Vegas. It’s old school (Brady-Rodgers) vs. new school (Allen-Mahomes) in a 12-hole exhibition.
In honor of that event, let’s take a look at the top 10 quarterback matchups in the NFL for the coming season. (Last week, we featured the top 10 defenses for 2022.)
10. Week 11: Kyler Murray (Cardinals) vs. Trey Lance (Niners), Nov. 25 in Mexico City
Murray made news this offseason for his public dispute with the Cardinals over his desire for a new contract. The 24-year-old Oklahoma product totaled 20 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons in the NFL. Murray was in the MVP conversation through the first half of 2021, as Arizona raced to a 7-0 record and then scuffled during the second half of the year.
The Niners appear ready to go with the 22-year-old Lance, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and trade Jimmy Garoppolo, who led San Francisco to two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl the past three seasons. Murray and Lance could be battling it out for the foreseeable future in the NFC West. One of Lance’s two starts last year was against Arizona, a 17-10 loss to the Cardinals in Week 5.
9. Week 5: Dak Prescott (Cowboys) vs. Matthew Stafford (Rams), Oct. 9
The defending Super Bowl champs host America’s team at SoFi Stadium for a Sunday afternoon tilt on Oct. 9. After leading his new team to a Lombardi trophy in his first season in L.A., the 34-year-old Stafford should be even more comfortable in Sean McVay’s offense for the upcoming year.
Stafford’s Rams face a Dallas squad trying to rebound from a disappointing 2021 season that ended with a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Niners. While Prescott has won a lot of games in Dallas (53-32 as a starter), he and the Cowboys have struggled when the games matter most (1-3 in the postseason since 2016). Prescott is 2-0 head-to-head facing teams led by Stafford.
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8. Week 8: Aaron Rodgers (Packers) vs. Josh Allen (Bills), Oct. 30
The two QBs with the strongest arms in the NFL match up when Green Bay travels to Buffalo on Oct. 30. In the only previous meeting between the two California natives, Rodgers’ Packers whipped Allen’s Bills 22-0 back in 2018, Allen’s rookie season.
However, the Packers are 0-6 in Buffalo, including Rodgers’ only game there, back in 2014.
7. Week 10: Carson Wentz (Commanders) vs. Jalen Hurts (Eagles), Nov. 14
Wentz returns to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded. The North Dakota State product was selected No. 2 overall by the Eagles in the 2016 draft, then dealt to the Indianapolis Colts last season. Wentz spent just one year in Indy, struggling down the backstretch of 2021 and then getting shipped to Washington.
Wentz will not receive a warm welcome from Philly fans, who have now moved on to Hurts. Both players are athletic and can make plays with their arms and feet.
6. Week 1: Derek Carr (Raiders) vs. Justin Herbert (Chargers), Sept. 11
The Raiders and Chargers meet again after L.A. blew a late-season contest that cost it a playoff berth. If you’re a Chargers fan, you certainly remember when coach Brandon Staley chose to go for it on fourth down from his own 18-yard line.
In just two seasons, the athletic, strong-armed Herbert has ascended to become one of the top signal-callers in the game. Carr has a new deal and will be responsible for learning a new offense under head coach and offensive guru Josh McDaniels.
The two QBs have split the season series 2-2 in two years.
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5. Week 4: Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers), Oct. 2
This is a rematch of Super Bowl LV, in which the Buccaneers got the best of the Chiefs. Widely considered the heir apparent to Brady, Mahomes did not have his usual magic touch in critical moments of games last season.
Brady is 3-2 in head-to-head matchups against Mahomes, including the Super Bowl win two years ago.
4. Week 13: Russell Wilson (Broncos) vs. Lamar Jackson (Ravens), Dec. 4
Two of the most dynamic athletes playing the quarterback position lock heads when the Broncos travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on Dec. 4. Jackson has an MVP award to his credit. Wilson has a Super Bowl ring.
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The 33-year-old Wilson is looking to resurrect his career in Denver after struggling through uneven play due to injuries in his final two seasons in Seattle. Jackson is 1-0 head-to-head against Wilson.
3. Week 13: Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) vs. Joe Burrow (Bengals), Dec. 4
This is a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game, in which Cincinnati’s defense surprisingly contained Kansas City’s explosive offense to secure a 27-24 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.
Burrow emerged as one of the top young signal-callers in the NFL last season by leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl. Expect Mahomes to play well in the rematch in Cincinnati. Burrow is 2-0 against Mahomes.
2. Week 6: Josh Allen (Bills) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Oct. 16
A rematch of the Chiefs’ epic AFC divisional playoff win, which led to changes in the overtime rules during the postseason. Mahomes and Allen are the two QBs likely to take over for Rodgers and Brady as the NFL standard-bearers.
Mahomes and Allen are prototypes of what we expect to see from quarterbacks in the future — big, strong athletes who can extend plays with their feet and make otherworldly throws from all over the field. Mahomes is 3-1 head-to-head against Allen, including 2-0 in the playoffs.
Rodgers, Brady to face off in Week 3 showdown on FOX
One of the highlights of the 2022 NFL schedule is the Aaron Rodgers-Tom Brady showdown in Week 3. That prompted T.J. Houshmandzadeh to ponder which QB will have a better season.
1. Week 3: Aaron Rodgers (Packers) vs. Tom Brady (Buccaneers), Sept. 25
Brady has a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, including a 31-26 victory in the NFC Championship Game in 2020. Brady is 44, and Rodgers is 38, so this could be the last time we see two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game face off against each other.
Sept. 25. Mark your calendar.
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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