Bengals / Chiefs Preview: Ready For a Repeat?
by NFL analyst Thomas Quaynor for Wannamakeabet.com
For the second year in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals will go on the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. Last season, the Bengals upset the heavily favored Chiefs, 27-24 in overtime, to advance to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are a 1.5 point favorite and the total is 47.5. The Bengals also beat the Chiefs 27-24 in Week 13 on December 4th, and have won three straight games against the Chiefs with Joe Burrow as their quarterback. The Bengals advanced to the AFC Championship after a convincing 27-10 win at Buffalo last week, while the Chiefs held off Jacksonville, 27-20, last week at home.
THE SKINNY ON CINCINNATI
The Cincinnati Bengals headed into last week’s game at snowy, emotionally-charged Buffalo without three offensive lineman in Jonah Williams, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras, and it appeared as if they would have a very hard time protecting Joe Burrow, but on the game’s opening drive, Burrow led the Bengals on a 6-play, 79 yard drive in just over 3 minutes that ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase. That opening drive set the tone for the game as the Bills were never able to get anything going offensively or defensively. Burrow finished 23/36 for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. Burrow is now 5-1 in the playoffs and he truly has resurrected the Bengals franchise after being selected #1 overall in the 2020 draft.
Prior to Joe Burrow’s arrival in Cincinnati, the Bengals hadn’t won a playoff game since January 1991 (41-14 vs. the Houston Oilers) and hadn’t been to a Super Bowl since the 1988 season (a 20-16 loss to the 49ers in January/1989), they are now on the verge of going to back-to-back Super Bowls. Running back Joe Mixon rushed for 105 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown in last week’s win at Buffalo. Star wideout Ja’Marr Chase and tight end Hayden Hurst also caught touchdowns from Joe Burrow in that game. The Bengals also got a tremendous performance from their defense who held a high-powered Bills offense to a season-low 10 points.
THE SKINNY ON KANSAS CITY
Patrick Mahomes ankle injury!! The MVP favorite had to leave the game briefly after a Jacksonville player fell on his ankle early in the second quarter. Backup quarterback Chad Henne was able to come in and lead a 12 play, 98 yard drive, Mahomes came back in the 3rd quarter and led his team to a win on a gimpy ankle. Mahomes injury has influenced the point spread as it fluctuates based on how healthy Mahomes is percieved to be, it goes back and forth from Cincinnati being a 1 to 2 point favorite to Kansas City being a 1 to 2 point favorite based. We know Mahomes won’t miss the game, but how much will he be limited by the ankle injury? Superstar tight end Travis Kelce was Mahomes and Henne’s safety valve in Saturday’s win over Jacksonville as he finished with 14 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco finished with 12 carries for 95 yards against Jacksonville.
The uncertainty of Patrick Mahomes ankle and Joe Burrow’s early career playoff clutchness leads me to take the 1.5…Bengals 28, Chiefs 21!!
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