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Bengals' Joe Burrow set for first matchup with 'unbelievable' Lamar Jackson

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CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow admitted he occasionally gets distracted while preparing for his first game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Burrow can't help it. He knows he's supposed to be studying opposing defenses, but his eyes wander toward the other side of the ball. And it's hard to blame him. Ravens quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson tends to have that kind of effect.

On Sunday, the two quarterbacks will square off for the first time in the NFL as divisional opponents when the Bengals travel to Baltimore to face the defending AFC North champions (1 p.m. ET, CBS). It's a matchup of two of the most talented young quarterbacks in the NFL.

"He's obviously one of the best players in the league right now, going back two or three years," Burrow said of Jackson on Wednesday. "He's unbelievable. He's fun to watch."

Both have been somewhat linked dating back to their high school days. Burrow and Jackson were in the 2015 recruiting class and each quarterback was grossly undervalued in hindsight.

Burrow barely cracked the ESPN 300 ranking that year at No. 298 and Jackson didn't make it at all. Neither quarterback was invited to the Elite 11 finals, which is considered the top competition for high school quarterbacks.

When asked about that on Wednesday, Burrow chuckled and noted things have worked out pretty well for him and Jackson.

"I'm not the most talented guy in the world, but I put in a lot of work to be prepared for game day, and I pride myself on my play and my execution of the offense," Burrow said.

"You know, I played with a lot of guys that can throw the ball 75, 80 yards and aren't where I'm at now, aren't where Lamar's at now. So you know there's a lot of different things that go into playing quarterback."

Burrow and Jackson each went on to win the Heisman Trophy. In fact, including Cleveland's Baker Mayfield, three of the four starting quarterbacks in the AFC North all won college football's top individual honor.

Last year, the Bengals got a firsthand look at how problematic Jackson can be for opposing defenses. In Baltimore's Week 10 dismantling of the Bengals, Jackson took the ball on a fake read option and weaved and spun his way through the middle of the defense in one of the top NFL highlights from the 2019 season.

"I've seen it quite a bit," Bengals rookie linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither said this week. "(I'm) tired of seeing it."

Burrow is living up to his pre-draft hype. Last week, he became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 300 or more yards in three consecutive games. Burrow notched his first NFL victory in the 33-25 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That caught Jackson's eye as he prepared for Sunday.

"That's pretty dope," said Jackson, who likes Burrow's game. "But I don't wish him success against us. I do want to win this game."

For the Bengals to someday reign supreme in the AFC North, they likely will need to find a way to top Jackson and the Ravens.

Burrow gets his first chance on Sunday.

"I am excited to compete against Lamar for years to come," Burrow said.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.