FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cam Newton will oppose Patrick Mahomes for the first time in his career when he leads the New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS), but he says he has enjoyed watching Mahomes from afar.
"Man, he's changing the game," Newton said Thursday. "I think he's shining light on the new wave of quarterbacks. It's just fun to watch."
Mahomes, 25, has led the Chiefs to a 3-0 start. He has completed 82 of 121 passes for 898 yards, with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. He also has rushed for 80 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.
One obvious link between Mahomes and Newton is that both have been named NFL Most Valuable Player -- Mahomes in 2018 and Newton in 2015.
Newton, 31, said part of what stands out to him about Mahomes is that he has "a lot of merit to what he does."
"It's not like he's just back there and it's an arcade game," Newton said. "Sometimes it looks like it, but he knows exactly what he's doing and how he's manipulating the defense. That's the same thing that the Dan Marinos used to do. Obviously the Tom Bradys. The Aaron Rodgers. Those guys really have so much command of the offense that you dictate to the defense. That's what he's doing. He's playing the game at a high level."
Newton is, too, helping the Patriots to a 2-1 record while completing 62 of 91 passes for 714 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has rushed 35 times for 149 yards and four touchdowns.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Mahomes reflected on watching the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton.
"I wish I could do some of the things he does, as far as how physical he is, and the way he's able to make plays happen. He's a great football player, someone I watched when he was at Auburn," Mahomes said, also referencing how he has seen Newton's highlights from his time at Blinn College in Texas. "He's in a great spot now and he's playing really good football."
Newton said he was flattered by Mahomes' comments.
"We all have our own platforms and I play this game for multiple reasons," he said. "A lot of those reasons kind of come off the backs of somebody empowering me. It's pretty neat to hear that, but at the end of the day we all have a responsibility to empower others, to motivate others, and to impact others. And through it all we just all have to use our influence in a positive way."