Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, Frank Schwab and Charles McDonald discuss the AFC Championship Game matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs, including latest news on Patrick Mahomes' ankle and how this game could define the legacies of both Mahomes and Joe Burrow.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Cincinnati at Kansas City, the Chiefs are giving up one. Frank, tell me if I'm wrong here. I feel like this line has kind of wobbled and going back and forth, right, like a couple of times, because wasn't Cincinnati a favorite a couple of days ago?
FRANK SCHWAB: Yes. As our resident degenerate, let me tell you that for a game this big, that's going to have so much betting handle, I don't remember line moves like this, huge line moves there. And now with Patrick Mahomes, like full participant in practice Wednesday, what? What? Like, I know he's probably-- they're probably fudging a little bit. I could see you being cynical over there, Charles. But I mean, the fact that he looked to be moving well, he did practice, I think we're going to see a reasonably healthy Patrick Mahomes on Saturday.
CHARLES MCDONALD: If you're, what-- we're three, four days away from the AFC Championship game-- what does a full participant in an AFC Championship week at practice look like? That's got to be just like walkthrough. There's no way that you guys are hitting each other at this point.
CHARLES ROBINSON: No, especially not Patrick Mahomes.
CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, they're not hitting Patrick Mahomes. So a full participant in a practice at this point, like, this is-- you're doing a lot of walkthrough stuff.
CHARLES ROBINSON: It feels to me like a big part of this is going to boil down to because Patrick Mahomes is limited, or may be limited. Let's say may be limited. Let's say he looks slightly better than he looked at the end of the game last week. There seems to be a consensus that the way to attack this with the Chiefs is throw the kitchen sink at Kelce. Just whatever you got to do, do not let him have Kelce because Kelce has been too easy as an out for him, just too reliable, too automatic.
And you know, obviously, it goes back into the regular season as well. But make him, if he's limited, figure it out with other guys. And I know that sounds-- people are going to say, well, obviously, that's his number one receiver. But it's even more, I think, at least from what I was told, it's amplified so much more once a quarterback is limited because they look for comfort. And even a guy like Patrick Mahomes is going to go, that's my guy. And what Kelce is going to say is I got you. I got you. Make sure that's not real.
FRANK SCHWAB: Maybe I'm just talking myself into a story. But I honestly think Mahomes is going to be pretty reasonably healthy. Like, as crazy as it sounds, look, we've all heard this by now, but I'll repeat it for anybody who hasn't. Last time Patrick Mahomes had a high ankle sprain, week one, 2019, he has a high ankle sprain. Week two, they go to the Oakland Raiders, and he throws for 443 yards and four touchdowns a week after a high ankle sprain.
Different ankle, I get this as his plant ankle, and obviously the 2019 Oakland Raiders are not this year's Cincinnati Bengals. But I keep saying over and over this week-- I think we talked about this on Monday, Charles-- certain athletes, when you get to that highest, highest level, have this ability to just compartmentalize an injury or an illness and raise their play to overcome it.
Yes, I do believe this is Patrick Mahomes' flu game. I think he's going to be awesome in this game. I think he's just that dude. He's the baddest dude on the planet. And I don't really care that he has a high ankle sprain anymore. Maybe I'm being stupid and just ignoring the fact that, oh, we're going to get to the first quarter and be like, oh my God, Patrick Mahomes can't move. This is game done, can't win.
But I really, truly believe in Patrick Mahomes going to have 350 yards against this really, really good Bengals defense that throws a lot of looks at you. They're going to try to confuse him. They are going to try to take Kelce out of the game, which they did a really good job of back in week 13. But I just believe in Patrick Mahomes, absolutely, positively. I think this is his time.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think it's a legend game for either guy. I think for Burrow and the Bengals to be able to get in the Super Bowl again after losing and then having the offensive line injuries and working out some-- Ja'Marr Chase goes down, obviously, for a period during the season. They start off bad. The first couple of weeks, they look terrible, Burrows getting the crap kicked out of him.
It would be pretty impressive and I think would cement that we're all right when we look at him and we go, OK, this is this is going to be a dude for the next decade plus, along with all these other dudes. He belongs. And then I think Mahomes, like you said, I think this is part of the GOAT moment for him. If he gets back into another Super Bowl, I mean, how many AFC title games can you play in? It's ridiculous.
If he can get back into another Super Bowl, if he can win another Super Bowl at this point, and he can do it on an injury, it's, like you said, it's Jordan. It continues that arrow for either these guys. And frankly, this is another game too. I think either of these guys loses the game, nothing, doesn't do anything to me. I'm just like, nah. To me, it's like Brady and Peyton Manning. Somebody was going to lose that game. And I'm not going to sit there and rail on whoever the loser is.