AFC Championship Preview: Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs

Before you begin to read this, get up and get a cold glass of water, then proceed to throw it in your own face. If you’re not at home, pinch yourself. That’s right – you’re completely awake. This isn’t a dream.  The Cincinnati Bengals are playing a football game on Sunday that determines who will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

The Bengals will travel to Kansas City coming off of one of their best defensive performances of the season. They’ll be tasked with trying to stop the best offense on the planet, who just played their best game of the season as well. 


It just doesn’t get any better than this. It’s Burrow. It’s Mahomes. It’s Championship Sunday. And the two guys I just mentioned are what this game is going to come down to. 

“Near perfect” is how most would describe Burrow’s week 17 performance against the Chiefs, when he threw for 466 yards and 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. And still, the Bengals walked away with just a 3 point win at the leg of Evan McPherson as time expired. On top of that, they held the Chiefs to 3 points in the second half. Realistically, that isn’t happening again. But a better question to ask yourself is this – can they prevent a 28 point explosion the Chiefs put on in the 1st half earlier this month?

Patrick Mahomes may be playing the best football of his career right now and that’s something I don’t say lightly. He’s stopped turning the ball over, he’s not settling for field goals and he needed just 10 seconds last week to send their game to overtime. Now that the Chiefs are also running the football well, look out. 

As I mentioned, the Bengals defense is coming off of what I thought was their best performance of the entire season. Certainly the most clutch performance if nothing else. They always say the two things that always travel in football are a good defense and a good run game. While the Bengals may not be effective running the football as of late, their defense is going to need to one-up the display they put on in Nashville a week ago. 

X-Factor: Preventing the big play

Preventing the big play is a lot easier said than done when lined up against Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for 3 hours. But it’s possible, and the Bengals know it’s possible because they’ve done it. 

Prediction: I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m ready. And yet, I have next to no clue how this game is going to turn out. I’ve had an optimistically eerie feeling about this game since the moment the matchup was set. But then I find myself second guessing. There’s no way the team that just picked 5th overall is going to go into Kansas City and beat the class of the AFC, right? Oh boy, here goes nothing. I’ve been scared to say it. I didn’t want it to come to this. The Joe Burrow-led Cincinnati Bengals are going to go into Arrowhead stadium and beat the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a gut feeling. I have nothing to back this statement up other than the week 17 game. Chiefs’ DC Steve Spagnuolo is very stubborn and I’m not sure he quite understands just who Ja’Marr Chase is. Or Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and CJ Uzomah. The defense wearing red and white will be the reason the city of Cincinnati is in a frenzy about a Super Bowl rematch with the San Francisco 49ers. The Bengals defense will play a ton of two-high and build off of the formula they perfected in the second half of the week 17 win. 

I hope your fingernails have grown back from last week, because you’re going to need to bite them all off again. A Tyler Boyd touchdown with under a minute left sends the Bengals to Los Angeles, knocking off the Chiefs 38-31. 

Logan Vaughn

I write about Cincinnati sports in my free time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *