Wow, what a difference one year makes as this Bengals team went from a record of 4-11-1 to playing in the AFC Championship game. Even the national media wrote them off but this team never wavered from what they wanted to accomplish. The Bengals are now headed to Kansas City this weekend to take on the Chiefs for the second time this season. The last time these two teams met up it was a shootout with the Bengals coming away with a 34-31 win. The Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was so impressed by the Bengals in this game that he told Joe Burrow after the game, “See y’all in the Playoffs”.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow knows how to win because of his mindset and how he looks at the game. “I’m tired of the underdog narrative. We’re a really good team. We’re here to make noise.” Burrow said. He will need this mindset heading into Arrowhead Stadium which is one the loudest stadiums in the NFL. Communication will be key. Everyone must know their assignments, especially the offensive line who must improve from their performance from last week. The Bengals must find a way to contain Chiefs defensive tackle, Chris Jones. He had two sacks against Burrow in the first game so slowing him down will be important. The Chiefs also have Melvin Ingram and Frank Clark who will also be looking to wreak havoc in the backfield.
Given the time, Joe Burrow has the weapons to get downfield. Burrow passed for 446 yards and had 4 touchdowns in the last game and I see him having big numbers in this game. The Chiefs secondary starters had trouble containing Ja’Marr Chase last game when he had an amazing 226 yards against them so they will more than likely focus on stopping him. However, Chase is an incredible athlete who will still be a difference-maker in this game. Bengal’s other weapons in Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and CJ Uzomah will also play a major role.
Burrow is very good at reading the defense and will spread the ball around to these guys when Ja’Marr Chase is not open. To take pressure off of Burrow the Bengals will need to get All-Pro running back Joe Mixon going early. Mixon has been solid in each of the playoffs games and I see him doing it again. Controlling the time of possession while keeping quarterback Patrick Mahomes off the field is exactly how you come away with a victory.
The Bengals defense has stepped up in the last two playoff games making huge plays when they were needed most. Once again forcing turnovers will matter in a game like this. Patrick Mahomes does not make many mistakes but when he does the Bengals need to capitalize on it. The Bengals defensive tackles Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard will need to apply pressure early but play loose enough to not let Mahomes get out of the pocket. The Chiefs star running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed the first game between these two teams. DJ Reader and the rest of the Bengals defensive line will need to limit Edwards-Helaire yards forcing Mahomes to rely on his passing game.
Kansas City’s main two aerial weapons are tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Limiting the Chief’s best players in Kelce and Hill will be a big part of the game plan this week. Unlike Buffalo, the Bengals must stop these guys from having explosive plays. Bengals linebackers Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt will be called to hold down the middle of the field while cornerback Tre Flowers has the toughest job of slowing down Kelce. If the Bengals secondary all work together then Mahome will struggle to find options and may cause rush throws which in return could lead to turnovers.
Three things the Bengals must do to come out of Kansas City with a victory. Win the turnover battle, control the time of possession and limit Partick Mahomes’ big plays. There is a time for everything and now is the Bengals time to prove to the rest of the league that they are here to make some noise. WHO DEY!