2022 AFC Championship Preview: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
The Cincinnati Bengals are traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, after a phenomenal display against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC divisional round defeating them 27-10. Joe Burrow and company are looking to make it back to the big game this year, but there is one more challenge left. The star-studded Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes will be the final task in Burrow’s revenge tour.
With Mahomes beat up, will Cincinnati once again beat the Chiefs to punch their ticket to Glendale, Arizona, this year? Or will it be Mahomes back to the Super Bowl once again?
Here are three predictions why each team will win this 2022 AFC Championship matchup, including my prediction at the end.
14-4 Cincinnati Bengals @ 15-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Three Reasons why the Kansas City Chiefs will win
- The Bengals’ pass defense just isn’t good enough
In the past with these teams, it has been the battle of the quarterbacks and it will continue this week. Cincinnati’s pass defense just hasn’t been up to a Super Bowl-caliber defense this year even if they have been a very good this entire season.
They have been a good unit in 2022, but especially below average in pass defense. In their past three games, the Bengals have given up an average of 250 passing yards per game. Now imagine what Mahomes will pull out of his bag of tricks when he faces them — I wouldn’t want to imagine it.
The Chiefs offense is too good to be stopped in a halt once more against the Bengals. Their passing has only gotten more spread out and more diverse. So, it will be a tall task for the Bengals this week.
2. Travis Kelce is going nuclear right now!
This year Travis Kelce is the man for the Chiefs and in the NFL. He is having his career-best year in his 10-year career. He has posted 110 receptions for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which are career highs in each statistical category.
If the Chiefs want to win and help big man Andy Reid win another ring, Mahomes needs to feed him the rock. Kelce is automatic this year, sling him the pigskin. You will win this game.
3. If Eli Apple talks trash on Twitter, you’re going to Win
Eli Apple has become one of the most confusing individuals in the NFL over the past few years. One, because he talks the most trash on Twitter and it’s surprisingly funny, but when he talks trash, he doesn’t back it up. He is awful. He got entirely blamed for the Bengals Super Bowl loss last year.
Funny enough, to the viewers, Apple got burnt by Cooper Kupp for almost the entire Super Bowl, after Apple tweeted a copious number of times on Twitter and ran his mouth to the league.
So, for me personally, I had to include this as one of the reasons why the Chiefs would win this AFC Championship this year. This is because, you guessed it, Apple tweeted after the Bills-Bengals game.
Three Reasons Why the Cincinnati Bengals will win
- Joe Burrow is healthy and back for Revenge
Burrow has been amongst the best quarterbacks in the league ever since he stepped onto an NFL field. Now, with Burrow back with revenge against his presumed AFC rival in Mahomes and the Chiefs, I don’t see anyone stopping him in his tracks.
Burrow has put on a masterclass against Mahomes in his career. He is 3-0 against him and will look to continue that mark on Sunday in the AFC Championship game. In his career against the Chiefs, Burrow has posted nine touchdowns, one interception, and 1,063 total yards.
He is the Chiefs kryptonite. Watch out Mahomes because there could be a new king of the AFC.
2. Ja’Marr Chase has been cooking the Chiefs
Ja’Marr Chase has been burning Chiefs players for his entire young career at only 22 years old.
In only two games against the Chiefs, Chase has put up jaw-dropping stats. He has 18 catches for 363 yards and three touchdowns — that’s basically what Eli Apple gives up every game.
For this AFC Championship game, expect Chase to have game-changing catches and keep your eye on him because you never know when he will break loose for a score.
3. Get to Mahomes
This is probably the biggest reason why the Bengals will win the AFC Championship, it’s getting after Mahomes.
After we saw in last week’s AFC Divisional game against the Jaguars, Mahomes got injured with a high ankle sprain and was sent to get examined mid-game. Chad Henne replaced him for a few drives, in which he led the Chiefs to a touchdown.
But beside the point, when the Jaguars rushed Mahomes after his injury, the drives started to weaken and weaken for the Chiefs. The Jaguars forced four punts and held him to only 10 total points in the second half.
Bengals I’m telling you, get to Mahomes and you will punch your ticket to Glendale, Arizona.
Prediction for the 2022 AFC Championship
As a wise man once said, “Vegas knows all.” I am that wise man. But on Sunday, Las Vegas will be wrong, and the Bengals will take home the victory in a close matchup with an injured Mahomes.
Even the greatest players play great through injuries, but I just can’t see Mahomes beating Burrow when injured. I think it will be a really close game, though both quarterbacks will put on a show.
At the end of the day, the Bengals have been the better team and have been battle tested the last few weeks. Give me the Bengals as my prediction. They will be marching to Glendale with doubters in tow.
Score Prediction: 34-31 Bengals
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