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Cincinnati vs Kansas City prediction, game preview, how to watch and lines for the AFC Championship, Sunday, January 30
Kansas City vs Cincinnati AFC Championship How To Watch
Date: Sunday, January 30
Game Time: 3:00 ET
Venue: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
How To Watch: CBS
Record: Cincinnati (10-7), Kansas City (12-5)
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Cincinnati vs Kansas City AFC Championship Game Preview
Why Cincinnati Will Win the AFC Championship
Nah, Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase aren’t going to light up the Chiefs like they did in their 34-31 win back in Week 17 – Burrow threw for almost 450 yards and Chase went off for 266 yards and three scores – but the offense has the ability to rip apart a beaten up Kansas City secondary.
The hope is for Tyann Mathieu to be back after suffering a concussion early on in the win over Buffalo, and there’s decent depth – at least brand name-wise – in the secondary, but the same crew that couldn’t handle Gabriel Davis now has to deal with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
The Chiefs were able to erase Stefan Diggs, but Josh Allen was able to buy just enough time to get the ball to the other parts. The Bengal other parts are better.
Defensively, the secondary might be getting hit hard, but it’s forcing mistakes. Patrick Mahomes won’t make the same forced throws Ryan Tannehill did in Cincinnati’s win over the Titans, but the Bengal D has forced seven takeaways – three against Tennessee – in the last three games.
It didn’t come up with any against Kansas City the first time around and still managed to win.
Yeah, the Bengal defense has to at least pressure Mahomes and make him improvise a bit. Yeah, the run defense has been great over the second half of the season and Kansas City doesn’t have to worry that much about the running backs. But …
Again, this will come down to being able to keep up the pace. The Bengals can do that just fine, and in the playoffs so far, they’ve been able to win even when they’re not bombing away for a gajillion yards.
NEXT: Why Kansas City Will Win the AFC Championship
Why Kansas City Will Win the AFC Championship
Kansas City is running better than you probably think it is.
For all the pyrotechnics and brilliance from the passing game when everything was on the line against Buffalo, it was the ability to come up with a big run here and there throughout the first three quarters that mixed things up and ended up setting up the mid-range throws that turned into home runs.
The Chiefs have hit the 100-yard mark in each of their last five games and in seven of the last nine – including 155 yards against the Bengals the first time around – with a good mix of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, Patrick Mahomes taking off, and with a few quirky other plays here and there.
Again, it’s been lost in the greatness of the way the Buffalo game ended, but Kansas City’s offense controlled the tempo. Even with Buffalo’s epic-long fourth quarter drive to take the late lead, Kansas City still dominated the time of possession battle with the ball for close to 37 minutes – this includes overtime – and more than ten minutes more than the Bills.
The defensive side should be able to do its part.
Joe Burrow has managed to survive behind a leaky offensive line that’s getting him rocked way too much. Josh Allen took his big hits on runs. Burrow will take his trying to wait for the deep plays to develop.
Tennessee sacked Burrow eight times and popped him 13 times in all. Kansas City hit him six times in the first meeting, but it should be able to bring just enough pressure to matter.
Burrow won’t run like Allen did.
NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going To Win the AFC Championship
What’s Going To Happen, Who’s Going To Win the AFC Championship
The Bengals are in the AFC Championship for the first time since 1989, and before that it was 1982 in the epic deep freeze game against the Chargers. If you’re into the whole idea of a team’s mindset mattering, Buffalo needed that win over Kansas City – that’s the wall it can’t get through.
Obviously Cincinnati is thinking Super Bowl or Bust, but it’s – to cliché up – playing with house money.
While Buffalo is in the midst of what’s supposed to be its big run, Cincinnati feels like it’s just getting started as the Next Big Thing. It can play a little looser, it can truly roll with the “no one believes in us” thing, along with the “why not us?” mantra – because I haven’t gone cornball enough here – and it’s got the weapons and the talent to pull this off if the Kansas City secondary really is just that banged up.
But the Chiefs are playing too well.
There’s a reason why the team is 11-1 in its last 12 – and it took that monster performance by Cincinnati to force that 1 – and it’s because Mahomes has been smart, careful, and he’s not taking any unnecessary chances.
There might have been two turnovers against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card win, but that’s been about it. Mahomes’ interception in that was hardly awful.
There haven’t been any turnovers in four of the last five games, the defense should be too strong against Joe Mixon and the ground attack, and the pressure of being expected to win and go to a third straight Super Bowl will actually be a positive.
After a great battle for about 50 minutes – including a hot start by the Bengals – the big play will come to finally push ahead with some breathing room.
Cincinnati vs Kansas City AFC Championship Prediction, Line
Kansas City 34, Cincinnati 23
Line: Kansas City -7, o/u: 54.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Must See Rating: 5
5: The last five minutes of Buffalo vs Kansas City
1: NFL overtime format