After coming up short last year against the Bengals, the Chiefs would love to avenge their foes and make it to their third Super Bowl in four years. What should we expect in this AFC Championship clash against Burrow and the Bengals?
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are looking to get their first win against Joe Burrow and the Bengals since Burrow got into the league. After losing last year in the regular season, and postseason the Chiefs would like to get their first victory in the most important game, the AFC Championship game.
Defensively, the Bengals have been able to contain the Chiefs’ offense and shut them down in the second half to win each victory they had against the Chiefs. What will Kansas City have to do on both sides of the ball to ensure a victory and go to their third Super Bowl in four years?
In each matchup, the offense had a pretty solid first half, but in the second half, they would go flat and stall out on drives. The problem in each game is the Chiefs would go away from the run game when the Bengals are showing they do not want you to beat them in the air. Dropping 8 in coverage to take away the big play ability from Mahomes, Pacheco, McKinnon, and even Jones will need to be able to feast in the running game.
Another extension of the passing game will be implementing those quick screens and getting the ball to your playmakers like Hardman, Toney, and Moore. The Bengals’ defense is a stout front that relies heavily on their defensive line and linebackers to interrupt the QB read and force a mobile Mahomes to play more inside the pocket. Everyone knows Mahomes is phenomenal outside of the pocket, but being able to make quick decisions and keep the ball moving will be key to interrupting the momentum that the Bengals like to move on.
The Bengals will blanket Kelce the entire game, so it will be big for Juju, MVS, Hardman, and Toney to get open quickly and help their QB who is playing on a bum ankle. This offense can be explosive even when minimized, but it will be essential to take whatever the defense gives you and avoid turnovers.
The keys for the defense are quite simple going into this matchup. They will need to limit the big plays Chase and Higgins can produce, but they have to get Joe Burrow to the ground this game. With 3 starting offensive linemen out this game, Jones, Clark, and Karlaftis will have to come up big for the defensive line. If they are able to be disruptive against the front seven, they will be the task easier for our young corners who will be put in a big moment.
Watson who was unavailable in the last matchup, and also made some of the biggest plays this season defensively with two clutch interceptions, he will be tasked with matching up against the best young WR duo in the league. The moment is never too big for him after a one-handed pick that pretty much clinched the AFC Divisional game against the Jaguars. This defense has kept quiet this time around not trying to feed bulletin board material to the Bengals offense who always love to prove the doubters wrong, but this time the defense is locked in.
They will have to force some turnovers this time around to keep this offense in check, but lately, this defense has been able to answer the call and pick up the offense when they can’t get anything going.
This will be a hard-fought championship game as the Bengals are trying to redeem themselves from last year falling short of a Super Bowl victory, which would have been their first, and the Chiefs trying to cement the dynasty that is on the verge of being one of the greatest if they can make it to their third in the Mahomes era. The prediction for this game is the Chiefs coming out on top 31-27 as they overcome their demons and get their first victory against the Burrow-led Bengals.