Bengals vs. Chiefs: AFC Championship 2022 Odds and Over/Under Predictions
If you're a fan of young, elite quarterbacks, this year's AFC Championship Game is for you.
Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller Patrick Mahomes is a known commodity and a legitimate star at this point, but he's still only 26 years old. His Cincinnati Bengals counterpart, Joe Burrow, is only in his second season, but he's already one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
When these two foes faced off in Week 17, Burrow threw for 446 yards and four touchdowns. The Bengals won on a last-second field goal 34-31.
We may see another shootout in this one, not unlike Kansas City's divisional game against the Buffalo Bills. Mahomes worked magic late in that one, orchestrating a game-tying field-goal drive with only 13 seconds in regulation. He then tossed a walk-off touchdown to Travis Kelce in the fifth quarter to win it.
Will Mahomes engineer the impossible once again? Will the Bengals shrug off their underdog role and make their first Super Bowl in over 30 years? We'll find out in Kansas City on Sunday.
Here's everything you need to know for this year's AFC Championship Game.
Game Info and Odds
Date: Sunday, January 30
Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV and Live Stream: CBS, Paramount+
Money Line: Chiefs -335 (bet $335 to win $100), Bengals +260 (bet $100 to win $260)
Line: Chiefs -7
*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Preview and Prediction
The Bengals won at home in the regular-season meeting. This one will be played in Kansas City, which does give the Chiefs a sizeable advantage. However, the Chiefs are not going to take Cincinnati lightly.
"They beat us. It wasn't a fluke," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, per ProFootballTalk's Myles Simmons. "They beat us, so they're a good football team, and it's important that we have a great week of preparation here, and that's one reason why the urgency level is there even yesterday once the game was over to get busy."
Kansas City will need to stay focused and continue adapting throughout the game if it hopes to reach a third consecutive Super Bowl. The Chiefs fell flat the last time, scoring only three points after halftime.
The Chiefs will also have to find an answer for rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase. The Bengals' star receiver gashed the Kansas City defense for 11 catches, 266 yards and three touchdowns.
The connection between Burrow and Chase is a big reason why Cincinnati can pull off the upset here. An opportunistic defense is another. The Bengals picked off Ryan Tannehill three times in the divisional round to send the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans home for the year.
The Bengals cannot expect Mahomes to make the same mistakes, though. They can expect to see heavy pressure from Chris Jones and the Chiefs pass rush. That's a problem. Burrow was sacked nine times against the Titans, and if not for Tannehill's miscues, Tennessee would probably be here instead of Cincinnati.
The Bengals' poor pass protection—Burrow was sacked more than any other quarterback in the regular season—will be a huge factor in this game. With weapons like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman and Jerick McKinnon, the Chiefs can put up points where the Titans did not.
Expect more of a score-fest than a defensive struggle and a game that hinges on one or two key plays.
This is a matchup that could easily go either way, but beating Mahomes and the Chiefs twice in a year is hard. Beating them at home in the playoffs could prove to be even harder.
Prediction: Chiefs 36, Bengals 31
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