The Kansas City Chiefs play in thier fourth-straight AFC Championship Game and will not overlook the up-and-coming Cincinnatti Bengals.
The AFC Championship Game is set again in Kansas City for the fourth straight season, many people at Week 7 would have never have thought the Chiefs and Bengals would be the two teams representing the AFC. The Bengals were 5-2 and had just soundly beaten the Ravens, but the holes of their team were there and were concerning, everyone thought they were the best up and coming team but posed no real threat to the conference.
The Chiefs came off of the worst loss in the Andy Reid era, losing 27-3, and were below .500 in October since 2015. It did not look bright for the Chiefs to get back into the playoff picture as they were at the bottom of the AFC West. The Chiefs needed to turn things around and they immediately did. The Chiefs went on an eight-game win streak which was one of the biggest turnarounds in the league at the moment. Kansas City became the most dangerous team in the league, winning games any way possible. They would have games where they won with their offense scoring 30, the defense holding an opponent to single digits, and by late-game special teams plays. The Chiefs and Bengals then met up in Week 17.
The Bengals and Chiefs faced off in Week 17, the Chiefs needed the win to get the number one seed and the Bengals needed this win to clinch the AFC North. The Chiefs looked really good early without their starting left tackle and right tackle who were both hurt. The Chiefs dominated early, scoring four straight touchdowns in the first half, and they looked like they were going to easily win the game. And then Ja’Marr Chase took over the game and the Chiefs offense stumbled.
Ja’Marr Chase kept getting big play after big play in the second half and the Chiefs seemed to have no answer for him. The Chiefs didn’t seem to adjust at all, letting Chase get single coverage without help from the safeties and if safety was Daniel Sorenson, they knew they would win. The Chiefs also kept sending weird blitzes on odd downs like sending a cover zero blitz on third and 27. So the Chiefs lost the game and the number one seed.
Now we are in January, where the Chiefs have had four consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances at Arrowhead. The Bengals are coming in off of their two victories over the Raiders and Titans where they had to win ugly and grind out their wins over both teams. The Bengals are a very talented team with a good QB, good wide receiver, a good running back, and an opportunistic defense.
I think the Bengals are going to come into Arrowhead with a ton of confidence but I don’t think their offensive line will help them, the Chiefs’ defensive line feasted on the matchup last time and I think we’ll see Chris Jones and Frank Clark have a great day. But Burrow doesn’t care how many times he gets hit, he will get up and make plays. I think if the Chiefs can get stops in the second half and can hold Ja’Marr Chase under 100 yards the Chiefs win. The Chiefs offense will be fine, I expect Mahomes to show out in this game, the man has been on a mission this postseason. Also, the offensive line has been bullying people all postseason, I expect some big runs from the backs.
I think Mahomes ends up having a typical day at the office for the Chiefs, but he will need to make some plays in the second half to stretch the lead out so the Bengals can’t come back. Burrow finds the end zone twice in the air with a TD to Higgins and Boyd, he struggles with the pass rush most of the day but is able to make key throws while under duress. I have the Chiefs advancing to their third consecutive Super Bowl and the Bengals should not hang their heads as they would have fought valiantly and they will be a team to watch for in 2022.
Score Prediction: Bengals 21 – Chiefs 37