Sunday’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs is a 2022 AFC Championship rematch when the best two teams in the AFC meet at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, January 28, at 6:30 pm.
Cincinnati enters this matchup riding consecutive playoff victories over the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills. Kansas City ended the regular season with the best record in the AFC and defeated Jacksonville last week after receiving a 1st round bye.
Bengals-Chiefs Betting Preview
Cincy opened as a +1.5 underdog, and that number has shifted to Bengals -1.5. That’s a big jump and most likely has to do with the uncertainty surrounding Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and the ankle injury he sustained in last week’s victory over Jacksonville.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow has Joe Namath-type swagger–from the clothes to the shades, and the guy is vintage but, more importantly, is probably the best QB in the game, and his Bengals are 3-0 against the Chiefs when Burrow is behind center. The Bengals’ signal-caller will likely have to sling it behind a banged-up offensive line, and whoever is in the trenches will need to play well against a Kansas City defense that was 10th in sacks.
Cincinnati has reeled off eight consecutive victories and is 13-4-1 ATS this season. Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase has snagged a TD reception in each of his last three games and, along with TE Hayden Hurst, WRs Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd form a powerful WR room that allowed Burrow to throw for a 2nd best 35 TD passes and 5th best 4475 passing yards.
Burrow and the boys face a defense that has been solid this season. The Chiefs have allowed 91 points over their past five, but three of those games were against hapless offenses like Houston, Denver, and Las Vegas. Kansas City allowed the 15th most points per game (21.5), and the defense produced a 24th-best 18 takeaways per game.
If you believe for one second that Patrick Mahomes won’t play on Sunday, then maybe you shouldn’t be betting. That man is one of the greatest QBs of all time, and he’s led Kansas City to five consecutive AFC Championship games and one Super Bowl victory. Mahomes was injured in the 2nd quarter against Jacksonville but returned for the entire 2nd half and threw a 4th-quarter TD pass to stave off a surging Jaguars offense.
Let’s not forget that Chiefs QB2 Chad Henne replaced Mahomes and immediately led the Chiefs to the longest TD drive in Chiefs playoff history, and he’s more than adequate if something happens to Mahomes.
Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce have connected for a dozen playoff TDs, and Kelce is coming off a two-TD game. Kelce is the primary weapon–JuJu Smith-Schuster was 2nd on the team in targets and yardage but saw two targets against the Jags. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling hauled in the game-winner last week but was 7th in the league in dropped passes.
The Bengals’ defense allowed the 5th-fewest points per game and allowed 18 points or less in each of their past four games. They held Buffalo to 10 points last week and are an aggressive bunch of cats with 24 takeaways and 10th in sacks.
Bengals-Chiefs: Best Bet According to Phil
NFL fans will be in for a real treat Sunday when two of the best offenses in the game meet for the 2nd time this season. The “who dey” boys defeated Kansas City in Cincinnati 27-24, covering the +2.5 spread, and they’ll do it again and cover the -1.5 Sunday.
Burrow has more weapons with a better defense, and while I expect Mahomes to play and have a good outing, a big part of the Chiefs’ offensive success is due to Mahomes’ ability to make plays with his feet–the future Hall of Famer may want to haul ass, but he won’t have his usual success.
The Bengals’ defense stymied Josh Allen and the Bills in Buffalo last week, and they will get enough stops for Burrow and Cincy to outscore Kansas City and cover the 1.5-point spread.
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