Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs secured a fourth-straight trip to the AFC Championship game, but Joe Burrow and Cincinnati Bengals stand in their way of making it to the Super Bowl for the third time.
The #4 Bengals come into their first AFC Championship game in 33 years as a +7 underdog against #2 Chiefs. The Bengals will try to play the role of spoiler, just like they did last week when they picked off the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round and winning Mattress Mack won his $1.1 million bet.
The Chiefs are fresh off their win against the #3 Buffalo Bills in what is now referred to as the greatest playoff game of all time during a 78-point shootout that was decided in overtime.
|AFC Championship Game
- #4 Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) at #2 Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
- Kick-off: Noon PT
- Location: Arrowhead Stadium, KC
- Point Spread: KC -7
- Total: 54.5 o/u
- Money Line: CIN +275 / KC -350
The Chiefs are the betting favorite to win Super Bowl 56 at +125 odds on the NFL futures board over at DraftKings. The Bengals are the long shot on the board at +800 odds.
In the preseason, the Chiefs were the consensus favorite to win the Super Bowl at +500 odds. The Bengals were a moon shot to win the Super Bowl at +10000 odds.
KC Chiefs -7
The Chiefs earned the #2 seed in the AFC postseason. They didn’t sweat much in their AFC wild-card victory over the #7 Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago. The 42-21 finals score didn’t truly reflect the lopsided nature of their victory.
Last week’s 42-36 shootout against the Bills will be talked about for the next century, however. Bills Mafia think they got robbed due to the NFL’s overtime rules that didn’t even let them get the ball once in OT, which we hope will be tweaked as soon as possible.
The Chiefs lost to the Bengals 34-31 in Week 16, which is the only reason why the point spread is just a touchdown and not double digits. The Chiefs are the superior team and have home-field advantage in deafening Arrowhead Stadium. It’s supposed to be mild temperatures in Kansas City this Sunday with not much wind and zero chance of snow.
The Chiefs averaged 28.2 ppg in the regular season, but put up 42 points in both their playoff games. Mahomes has numerous weapons at his disposal, including Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Mecole Hardman.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu exited last week’s game with a concussion, but he returned to practice this week, and the Chiefs expect their defensive star to start versus the Bengals in the AFC Championship. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed the wild card with a shoulder injury, but he’s good to go this Sunday.
Cincy Bengals +7
The Bengals won more playoff games (two) with Joe Burrow as their quarterback than they had since 1990 (just one).
They’re lucky considering Burrow returned from an ACL injury last season and he takes a huge licking every week. The Bengals allowed 51 sacks this season, which was most in the NFL. Last week, the Bengals allowed nine sacks against the Titans. Despite eating turf nine times, Burrow popped back up every time.
If you want to go deep in the playoffs, you must have a hot kicker, and the Bengals have the hottest kicker in the NFL right now with rookie Evan McPherson. In the playoffs, McPherson went a perfect 3-for-3 in extra points and 8-for-8 in field goals, including two walk-off kicks to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans. No wonder his teammates call him Money Mack.
McPherson might be the best kicker in the NFL not named Justin Tucker. During the regular season, McPherson connected on 28-for-33 field goals and went 46-for-48 extra points. He was a perfect 13-for-13 inside the 40-yard line. He also connected on 9-for-11 from 50-plus yards.
Speaking of rookies, Ja’Marr Chase has been a godsend for the Bengals. Joe Burrow lobbied for the front office to draft his old teammate from LSU, where they won a national championship together. In the regular season, Chase caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns, which was third-best in the NFL.
Chase didn’t score any touchdowns in the postseason, but he caught 14 passed for 225 yards, including 111 yards after the catch. If Burrow and Chase can hook up on big plays, and McPherson continues his hot streak, the Bengals could keep this game close in the AFC Championship.