NFL playoffs: Previewing the Bengals at Chiefs AFC Championship Game
Easily the most anticipated game of the weekend, the AFC Championship Game will be a rematch of last year’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. There are two major storylines for this game, the first of which is Cincinnati’s success against the Chiefs. For Kansas City, the Bengals are one nut the Chiefs have yet to crack.
Under quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals are 3-0 against the Chiefs, including in the AFC Championship last season. Cincinnati trailed the Chiefs 21-3 at Arrowhead, yet ultimately prevailed 27-24 in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl.
The second biggest storyline is the health of Patrick Mahomes, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional round. Mahomes was also injured in last season’s divisional round. While Mahomes will certainly play on Sunday, his mobility will be in question. Mahomes is not known for his speed, but rather for his ability to move around, extending plays and punishing defenses. If Mahomes is hobbled, it would be a huge advantage to Cincinnati’s defense.
The Bengals may not have a glorious playoff history, but they are 3-0 in AFC Championship Games. Given the matchup issues they present to the Chiefs, Mahomes’ health, and the leadership of Burrow, I predict they will make it 4-0.
Prediction: Bengals over Chiefs 26-21
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