Predictions for the Bengals against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Roundtable
We’ve arrived. The Cincinnati Bengals were still in the running in late January. Many of us would have had butterflies in our stomachs if it weren’t for the crew led by Joe “Cool” Burrow. Yes, the Bengals defeated the AFC’s top seed last week, but we all know that the Kansas City Chiefs, who struggled in the regular season, are the team to beat. They also have one of the league’s finest home field advantages.
So, what are the media pundits predicting for the AFC Championship Game, in which Kansas City is a 7-point favourite according to DraftKings? Let’s take a closer look:
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio believes the Bengals are the team of the future. The Chiefs are living in the present. On Sunday, Kansas City will beat any team that enters Arrowhead Stadium. Dolphins in 1972; Bears in 1985. Any of these will do. And expect the Bengals to go out with a bang; the last thing they’ll want to do is modify who they are. Because who they are has the potential to propel them to the Super Bowl as early as next year. Chiefs 24, Bengals 41
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith: These teams played four weeks ago in one of the greatest games of the regular season, a 34-31 Bengals victory in Cincinnati. Joe Burrow seemed to be the superior quarterback on that day, racking up 446 yards and four touchdowns versus Patrick Mahomes’ 259 yards and two touchdowns. I anticipate Burrow to have another strong game on Sunday, but I believe Mahomes will match him drive for drive, and this time the Chiefs will win in the last minute. Chiefs 38, Bengals 34
Bill Bender, Sporting News: Mahomes is 7-1 in AFC postseason games, with 23 touchdowns and one interception, and home-field advantage will be crucial. This will again be a tight game, with the Bengals demonstrating their ability to be a force. Kansas City, on the other hand, made one more major play in the final seconds. The Chiefs defeated the Bengals 31-28.
CBS’s Pete Prisco predicts that this game will be decided by the two quarterbacks. Both will have success with it and will rack up high statistics. In the end, the Chiefs will be the superior team, but it will be a tight call. It will come down to the wire, but Kansas City will win. Chiefs 34, Bengals 32
NFL.com‘s Gregg Rosenthal: In an offense-first league, I don’t expect either of these defences to produce many stops, as they did in the previous Chargers-Chiefs, Bengals-Chiefs, and Bills-Chiefs games. All of the games were decided on the last possession, and two of them went to overtime. That’s why I’m rooting for the Bengals +7 this week… Bengals 33, Chiefs 32
In the meantime, just one of ESPN’s eleven “NFL Experts” projected a Bengals victory.
Okay, let’s get to the genuine selections, those chosen by our Cincinnati Jungle staff:
Ethan DeWitt: After a slugfest in Nashville last weekend, the Bengals must prepare for a track meet at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. It’s been discussed all week, but if the offensive line allows nine sacks for the second week in a row, they won’t be able to keep up with the Chiefs a second time, particularly in a playoff game on the road. The Bengals defeated the Chiefs 28-34.
Sheeran, John: Betting against Joe Burrow is a risky bet; it’s almost as if you’re confronting fate. Still, there are certain fundamental realities that pervade sports, such as the fact that the better team typically wins. When contrasted against the Bengals, the Chiefs, more than any other team still in the playoffs, seem to be the superior club. Not only that, but they get to play at home, making Burrow’s first appearance in the Super Bowl doubtful (it would be a shame if he heard about this before the game). The Bengals defeated the Chiefs 31-35.
Marcum, Jason: I anticipate another shootout coming down to the fourth quarter, as we’ll be treated to the latest of many Burrow-Mahomes battles. But this time, Mahomes has a home field advantage, which I believe provides him an advantage. Cincinnati has a 33-point lead over Kansas City, which has a 37-point
Nathan Beighle (no relation): Call me cynical, but I believe last week’s game was more about the Titans’ stupidity than the Bengals’ greatness. I still believe this game will be tight, particularly with Cincinnati’s weaponry. For Cincinnati to win, the Bengals’ offensive line will have to play their finest game of the season, which I don’t see happening. In any case, it should be close. The Chiefs defeated the Bengals 28-24.
Cosenza, Anthony: Kansas City comes in with the sizzle, the skill, a relentless assault, a loud home stadium, and the momentum of overcoming playoff juggernauts like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills in the past and present. Meanwhile, the Bengals are the underdogs after two impressive—albeit “ugly”—postseason victories. They’ve defeated teams in shootouts and grind-it-outs, and they radiate a lot of confidence. Every reasonable fibre of my being tells me that Kansas City is the better option for the reasons stated above. Despite this, the Bengals have repeatedly shown that they will not back down. This crew stinks like “destiny,” despite the fact that they are still ahead of schedule. The Bengals defeated the Chiefs 27-23.
Judis, Patrick: The playoffs are different, but Mahomes usually finds a way to keep things intriguing. I believe we will see a reenactment of the Week 17 pyrotechnics, with Burrow grabbing the ball last once again. Bengals 45, Chiefs 41
I anticipate that the Chiefs will struggle to get going early, falling down by a couple of scores, becoming frustrated, committing a vital turnover, and then running out of gas on a late comeback effort. Bengals 24, Chiefs 21
Let’s put an end to the foolishness about the Bengals’ being unable to keep up with the Chiefs. Cincinnati scored 30 points or more in seven regular-season games (including one against Kansas City), but has yet to do it in the playoffs. That suggests a breakthrough game is on the way. And, although the defence isn’t perfect, they make huge plays when they’re required. Burrow and his pass catchers will be adequate enough to enable him and Burrow to annihilate the Chiefs’ secondary. Cincinnati wins, 37-28, against Kansas City.
Do you still need additional forecasts? Watch our preview with Eric Warfield, Jason Dunn, and Shaun Smith, three former Chiefs: