kansas city chiefs vs cincinnati bengals predictions and preview

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NFL kansas city chiefs vs cincinnati bengals predictions and preview


 

 

Image licensed from USA Today SportsIt will be a beautiful and mild day in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon when the Cincinnati Bengals roll in off a big win over the favored Titans to face a Kansas City Chiefs squad that just pulled off one of the all-time miracle wins in NFL Playoff history. What's at stake?

These teams met on Jan. 2 with the Bengals winning at home 34-31. Joe Burrow picked apart the Chiefs for 446 yards and four TDs.

One team will get a shot at NFL immortality.

 

The Bengals gutted out a surprising victory over the mighty Titans – can they do it again against the Chiefs?

The Cincinnati Bengals, led by their Joe "Cool" Burrow at quarterback, went into a hostile environment in Tennessee against the Titans and the "W," but they face an even taller task this week when they go up against the Chiefs. In the first round of the playoffs, the Bengals drew a depleted and flawed opponent in the Las Vegas Raiders, and to their credit, they got the win most people expected them to get. Cincy traveled to face the Tennessee Titans in the second round, who were healthy, rested, and got all-star running back Derrick Henry on the field again after missing the balance of the season with a foot injury.

 

That would not be enough for the titans as they fell short and lost to the Bengals on a walk-off field goal from Bengals kicker Evan McPherson who was 4 for four on field goals with a long of 54 yards.

 

The Titans generated more than 350 yards of offense and consistently moved the ball on the Bengals' defense. Still, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill threw three brutal interceptions, including one that was almost a pick-six and the interception (though this one probably not all his fault) that led to the Bengals game-winning kick. The Titans' offense could not overcome those mistakes and only scored sixteen points in the game. The Bengals during the regular season had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and led the league in points per play.

Ja'Marr Chase is a big part of that explosive offense and has 13 receiving touchdowns and 22 catches that went for more than twenty yards, and he has only 81 receptions. Cooper Kupp has 145 receptions and only leads him by three touchdowns, and besides Kupp, the only receiver with more catches for twenty yards or more is Deebo Samuel. Joe Mixon has also been a great dual-threat running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. There are multiple other players on the team that are threats in the passing game, including Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and tight end C.J. Uzomah. All of them had catches against the Titans.

The Cincinnati offensive line is a problem. Burrow was sacked 55 times in the regular season and continued taking a beating, getting sacked nine times against the Titans and setting the record for most sacks by a winning quarterback in NFL playoff history.

The Bengals defense ranked just 18th in the NFL regular season. Cincinnati gives up a lot of yards per game, especially against the pass where teams carve up their secondary with almost 250 yards per game, but they do get a lot of sacks with 42 on the regular season. Pass-rusher Trey Hendrickson, tackle D.J. Reader, and linebacker Logan Wilson are all emerging stars along the defensive front and will need to have big games if they are going to slow down the potent Chiefs offense.

 

The Chiefs are hosting another AFC Championship Game and expect to win, but are they likely to fall to the Bengals in an upset?

With just thirteen seconds left in the game, the Chiefs needed to go from their 25-yard line and get into range for a game-tying field goal. Against all odds, they did, and then they marched right down the field in overtime after winning the coin toss and scoring a touchdown to the end the Bills' season. Patrick Mahomes was everywhere for the Chiefs leading the team in passing yards, of course, but also rushing for 69 yards. Most of that yardage came on the game's first drive, where he scrambled several times for long gains and capped it with a rushing touchdown. The Chiefs are the number one offensive team in the NFL and generate 515 yards per game, and they also score 30 points per game, putting them among the NFL's best scoring offenses.

 

The Chiefs offensive line struggled to keep the Bills away from Mahomes, but when they did get close, he just scrambled away, improvised, and more often than not converted a big play. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce did most of the damage on offense combining for 19 receptions and almost 250 yards and two touchdowns between them. The Chief's defense allowed Josh Allen to pass for more than 300 yards and rush for 68 while scoring four touchdowns. Although they limited the effectiveness of the Bills' number one receiver Stefon Diggs, they allowed other receivers to run wild, including Gabriel Davis, who caught eight passes for 201 yards, a whopping 25 yard per pass average, and four touchdowns. The Chiefs might be missing safety Tyron Mathieu, who is in concussion protocol.

 

That would be a severe blow to the secondary. The Kansas City defense sacked Allen twice and was among the worst in sacks all season. The Chiefs do not pressure the quarterback consistently, which is a reprieve for the Bengal's weak offensive line.






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