How the Chiefs can handle the red-hot Bengals as they try to go to three-straight Super Bowls.
The Kansas City Chiefs are showing up for their fourth AFC Championship in a row, after a crazy whirlwind of a divisional game against the Buffalo Bills, where the Chiefs won 42-36 in overtime.
But with the memory of the loss to the Bengals will the Kansas City Chiefs be better prepared to handle the Bengals this time around?
The Bengals, to win, need to do everything perfectly, they cannot allow any mistakes on that field on Sunday. It all starts with quarterback Joe Burrow taking better care of the ball and his offensive line protecting him much better. Against the Tennessee Titans, Burrow was sacked nine times. That is an indication that the pass rushers could have a feast tomorrow, giving away plenty of big Macs the next day!
Joe Burrow has a big tendency to refuse to throw the ball away under pressure, maybe a lack of experience that could give some advantage to the Kansas City team. And the Chiefs will have the will to get revenge on their last-minute loss against the Bengals this season. It should be a very entertaining game.
However, to stop the Bengals’ adventure to the AFC Championship, the Chiefs must stop their amazing offense. And to do that, we need the defense to do a lot better than last week. Ruling out Mathieu at the beginning of the game certainly threw off the whole unit, but given that his presence is not guaranteed yet, let’s hope the secondary is preparing for a tough battle. Chase, Higgins, Mixon, and Co. are very dangerous and showed it numerous times during the season. Rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase is in the midst of an incredible debut campaign, earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
Additionally, Mixon’s role in the passing game has been on the rise, he’s collected at least five targets in each of his past four games and secured at least 28 receiving yards in each of them (40-plus in three of the four). Kansas City’s pass defense against running backs has ranked poorly all year but over the past three weeks specifically, so the defense needs to step up drastically.
But in the end, this will a battle of the quarterbacks once again. Who will come up on top? The new gunslinger Joe Burrow, calm and confident, or Grim Reaper Patrick Mahomes who can make any miracles happen? Well, needless to say, Mahomes has more experience now in playoffs although he only came into the league in 2017. Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns in the win 34-31 during week 17 against Kansas City, so surely he will not be starstruck by the Chiefs team.
The big difference this time is the intel both teams have on each other, after their first game, and the Chiefs will certainly not let the Bengals freeze their offense one more time.
The observers are split between the Bengals and the Chiefs for the win this weekend. Some say the Chiefs are underdogs and that is not bad news. They usually do well when nobody expects them to crash their opponent.
And obviously, the kingdom will show up and support their team, Arrowhead is one of the loudest environments to play such an important game, and that could be a key factor to not underestimate.