PREGAME AFC Conference Championship - Bengals at Chiefs

  • To unlock all of features of Rams On Demand please take a brief moment to register. Registering is not only quick and easy, it also allows you access to additional features such as live chat, private messaging, and a host of other apps exclusive to Rams On Demand.

CGI_Ram

Hamburger Connoisseur
Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
45,597
Name
Burger man
This thread is for general discussion about the AFC Conference Championship.

Sunday January 29, 2023 - (3) Bengals at (1) Chiefs: 6:30pm ET
 

CGI_Ram

Hamburger Connoisseur
Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
45,597
Name
Burger man
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2

AFC Championship Game

(3) Cincinnati Bengals at (1) Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, Jan. 29, at 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

Opening line: KC -2.5 (49.5)
FPI projection: KC, 65.2% (by five points)

What to watch for: Chiefs. Bengals. Patrick Mahomes. Joe Burrow. Arrowhead Stadium. Super Bowl berth on the line. It feels a little like déjà vu, doesn't it? But though the circumstances are similar, these two teams are hardly the same groups that met a year ago for an overtime thriller in which Cincinnati rallied from 18 points down to clinch its first Super Bowl trip in 33 years. Including the Bengals' 27-24 win in Week 13, these two teams have played three times since the start of the 2021 season, and Cincinnati has won by three points each time.

Mahomes, who is 1-3 in his career against the Bengals, has a high ankle sprain (confirmed by an MRI), per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Even with limited mobility, he still went 22-of-30 for 195 yards and two touchdown throws in the second half of Saturday's divisional round win over the Jaguars, and he said he expects to play against the Bengals. In the December meeting between Cincinnati and Kansas City, the Bengals' defense held Mahomes to 16 completions on 27 attempts (223 yards and a touchdown pass), his fewest completions of the season.

Burrow, meanwhile, completed 25 of 31 attempts for 286 yards, two passing TDs and one rushing TD -- and he became the first quarterback to beat Mahomes three games in a row. Burrow got a big boost in that game from a 106-yard rushing performance by running back Samaje Perine. Against the Bills in the divisional round, Joe Mixon was the hot Bengals rusher with 105 yards and a touchdown. But we also need to call out the Cincinnati defense, which held the Bills to just 10 points and 8 first-quarter yards.

Why the Chiefs will win: A banged-up Mahomes is still a top-10 quarterback. Yes, the injury will limit him. But Mahomes will still have an elite pass-protecting line helping him, along with head coach Andy Reid's playcalling and tight end Travis Kelce -- who caught 14 passes against eight different defenders in the Chiefs' playoff victory over the Jaguars -- being seemingly uncoverable right now.

With a two-high-heavy defense, the Chiefs can limit the threat of Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase catching deep shots down the sideline. But the real defensive key will be defensive tackle Chris Jones, who recorded 79 pass rush wins in the regular season, 26 more than any other defensive tackle. Can he blow up the lackluster Bengals offensive line, which ranked 31st in pass block win rate this year entering Sunday?

Why the Bengals will win: The Bengals have an advantage no one expected -- the better quarterback. Burrow is superior to an injured Mahomes, and that shifts the offensive edge toward Cincinnati. Chase and Tee Higgins have the advantage over the Chiefs' corners, too. Chase recorded 97 receiving yards in the Bengals' win over Kansas City in December. And in Sunday's win over the Bills, Burrow demonstrated once again that he can overcome his offensive line by getting the ball out quickly (2.5 seconds on average, per NFL Next Gen Stats).

And if the Bengals are the better offensive team with a limited Mahomes on the opposite sideline, that would give them the advantage in all three phases. The Bengals ranked ninth in EPA per play on defense before shutting down Josh Allen and the Bills, while the Chiefs are 15th. And Kansas City has had the worst special teams efficiency of any team this season.
 

RamDino

Rams On Demand Sponsor
Rams On Demand Sponsor
Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
2,087
I hope Mahomes plays ok, although I know he is still hurting. I just want to see a good game. Both teams are good.