Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 13:37 1st quarter
Perine carries on the ground for Cincy for six yards to the 37, but of greater concern is fantastic KC corner L’Jarius Sneed who is shaken up on the play. He’s a vital defensive cog for the Chiefs secondary, so we’ll keep you updated on his status.
Bengals 0-0 Chiefs, 13:37 1st quarter
On 2nd and 7, Burrow hits Chase over the middle, up to the 30, for their first, first down. Burrow is already warm.
KC kicks off, and they’ll get the ball after the half. Let’s go!
Let’s talk about the weather…
…because we just love to talk about it. It’s -6c and 21f. And it doesn’t matter at all because it never does. Players move, keep warm, and it’s totally fine!
Retired US Navy petty officer 1st class Generald Wilson just performed a dazzling version of the National Anthem, the best I’ve heard in a very long time in fact. That is absolutely a 9.5 out of 10, the highest I’ve given in a very, VERY long time.
It sounded something like this.
So of course I’m not alone in predicting the Chiefs demise – as it turns out some 76% of folks picking this game for money like the Bengals! This is even more remarkable as CBS Sports reports that “Mahomes has been favored in all 12 of his previous playoff starts. That is the longest streak to begin a career in the Super Bowl era.”
You know what this means right? We’re all going down!
At least we all have each other! All 76% of us!
Who is going to win this thing?
As if Cincy wasn’t already bouncing off the news that the long sought after Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project would finally move forward, just wait until they book a second consecutive Super Bowl after beating the Chiefs, again, in their backyard. I like the Bengals in something of a cake walk, 31-21, with Mahomes suffering through a tough outing on one leg.
What say you? Well, reader Bill Preston writes:
I think this is going to be one of wild swings. The Bengals are going to start strongly, get a proper stomp on through the first three quarters, but the Chiefs have strength in depth, and most of all, resolve. They’ll put together wily plays, coupled with thrilling heroics and steal this one.
So we agree to disagree, and that’s fine!
The Eagles are in!
Read all about it!
Don’t ever make him mad…
Just in case you didn’t think all this “Burrowhead” stuff wasn’t making a mark out there, well, just listen to the Chiefs indomitable defensive tackle Chis Jones:
I don’t think you want to give Mr Jones something to get mad about. Especially when his impact on defense will have a lot to do with who wins this game.
Mahomes (Brittany) and the Mayor
Meanwhile, as if the tension between these two teams isn’t enough, Pat Mahomes’ wife Brittany has gotten in on the taunting of Cincinnati’s Mayor Aftab Pureval, who is catching heat for a taunting pre-game video in which he said:
”Whereas Joseph Lee Burrow.. who’s 3-0 against Mahomes has been asked by officials to take a paternity test.. to confirm whether or not he’s his father.”
That had a lead balloon effect online, and so Hizzoner asked for a something of a mulligan. Brittany was definitely not impressed.
Hi folks and welcome to our coverage of the American Football Conference Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s hard to argue against this being the best of the AFC’s best, so there’s a lot to look forward to over the next few hours. When it’s over, we’ll know who is facing the soon-to-be NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, who are currently routing the San Francisco 49ers, in Super Bowl LVII on 12 February in Arizona.
We’re incredibly close to finally learning the true health of Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes II. KC’s motor has been slow at practice this week thanks to suffering a high ankle sprain suffered against the Jaguars last week. Mahomes pushed through against a young inexperienced Jacksonville squad, but turning that trick against these Bengals will be significantly more challenging. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told the press corps that “He looks good. He’s moving around good”, but he’s not going to come out and say he’s a “useless gimp”. So here’s what we do know: they are going to pump him up with as much pain killing serum as they can to keep him on the field and functioning, and that the Bengals will take any shot they can at Mahomes’ achy right ankle. Such are the stakes.
Meanwhile, Bengals QB Joe Burrow has the momentum of a franchise record season behind him, one in which he set a Cincinnati mark with 35 touchdowns tosses this season. Burrow also owns a 3-0 record against these Chiefs and is probably one of the most confident players on the planet right now. He also has better wide receivers to throw to than Mahomes, with the capable trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Mahomes has tight end Travis Kelce, who has had a monster season operating inside the NFL’s top offense. However, it’s also worth noting what he no longer has: Tyreek Hill.
That’s the QB situation: we’ll take a look at some of the other fun factors leading up to kickoff, but for now, settle in, drink your drink, and if you like, drop me a line. Tweet me or email me your predictions, feelings and thoughts and I’ll make you famous!
David will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a preview of this evening’s game.
AFC Championship Game (Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 6.30pm EST/11.30pm GMT)
Story of the season: The Kansas City Chiefs went 14-3 in the regular season, thus earning the all-important bye week in the AFC. In their first postseason game, they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 despite the fact that quarterback Patrick Mahomes injured his ankle during the game and missed part of the second quarter. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals, who upset the Chiefs in last year’s AFC title game, had to take the scenic route after going a mere 12-4 in the regular season. They defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-17 at home and, even more impressively, took on the Buffalo Bills on the road and beat them 27-10.
What the Bengals need to do to win: The offensive line has to prove that their remarkable performance against the Bills wasn’t a fluke. On Sunday, Cincinnati’s slapped-together o-line did a masterful job protecting Burrow, who was only sacked once. It’s not certain whether either Alex Cappa or Jonah Williams will return, so their backups may need to come up with a repeat performance against a defense that will be better prepared than the Bills.
What the Chiefs need to do to win: Mahomes needs to be at least 80% of his best. It was remarkable when Mahomes returned in the second half against the Jaguars with a high ankle sprain and led the Chiefs to victory, but if he’s still hobbled it’s going to be tricky to beat a Bengals team that has been in this position before.
Key player for the Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB. Let’s not overthink this one. Burrow had 35 touchdowns in the regular season, tied for second place, and 4,475 passing yards. He’s also in just his third season as a pro even though his playoff success makes one think he’s been around longer. It’s quite possible that we are somehow underrating Burrow.
Key player for the Chiefs: Chris Jones, DT. If it comes down to the Chiefs defense v the Bengals offense, Jones could end up being the difference maker. In the 2022 regular season, Jones had 15 and a half sacks although, oddly enough, he has yet to have one in the playoffs across his entire career. Sunday would be the ideal time for his first.
Prediction: Bengals over Chiefs. If Mahomes were healthy, it would be difficult to pick against the Chiefs at home despite the fact that he is 1-3 against Burrow’s Cincinnati in his career, including that memorable collapse during last year’s AFC Championship Game. It doesn’t look as if he will be, however, so there’s a very real possibility that his record will fall to 1-4. Either way, we could be seeing one of the NFL’s all-time great rivalries blossoming in front of us.