Bengals vs. Chiefs: Updated Odds, Predictions for AFC Championship Game 2022

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2022

Bengals vs. Chiefs: Updated Odds, Predictions for AFC Championship Game 2022

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals arrive at the 2022 AFC Championship from opposite ends of the NFL world.

    The Chiefs are hosting their fourth consecutive AFC title game. The Bengals are in their third AFC Championship ever—and first since 1988. A Super Bowl win would be Kansas City's second in three years and Cincinnati's first in franchise history.

    In terms of track record, the clubs couldn't be more different. In terms of current credentials, though, the similarities are easily spotted.

    Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow are two of the league's top quarterbacks, and each has a wealth of explosive playmakers around him. Both teams operate better on offense than defense, though the gap isn't as wide with Cincinnati.

    So, are the Chiefs about to add to Mahomes' legacy with a third straight trip to the final round? Or can the unflappable Burrow continue to separate the Bengals from their historic misery? Let's lay out the latest line and dive into the matchup to find out.

AFC Championship Schedule, Odds

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    Who: Chiefs vs. Bengals

    When: Sunday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m. ET

    Where: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

    TV: CBS

    Spread: Chiefs -7

    Total: O/U 54.5


    All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Matchup Breakdown

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    Chris Unger/Getty Images

    Sunday's forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-40s, but this game will feel like it's being played in July with the amount of fireworks each offense can create.

    Mahomes is 26 years old and already feels like a living legend. He is 7-1 with 23 touchdowns and one interception in eight career AFC playoff games. No lead is ever safe against him, as the Buffalo Bills were forced to learn last Sunday.

    He's probably electric enough to perk up any group of playmakers, but Kansas City still surrounds him with some of the best in the game. Tyreek Hill has blink-and-you-missed-him burst. Travis Kelce is an all-time great tight end and still in his prime. That trio is about as good as it gets in this league.

    Saying all of that, Cincy's offense might be equally electric. In Burrow's last four games—a stretch that included his first two career postseason contests—he has thrown for 1,563 yards on 76.3 percent passing with 10 touchdowns against a single interception.

    His top target (and college teammate) Ja'Marr Chase is a home run waiting to happen. Receivers Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and tight end C.J. Uzomah can wreak their own havoc through the air. Dual-purpose back Joe Mixon routinely burns defenses with his legs and his hands.

    Kansas City's defense has a tendency to leak. So does Cincinnati's offensive line. If the strengths of these offenses cancel each other out, this might come down to which club can best mask its biggest weakness.


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    David Eulitt/Getty Images

    Believing in the Bengals is easier than it should be.

    They have no history of being in this spot. Their sophomore quarterback was just sacked nine times in the same game. They were a single game above .500 14 weeks into the season.

    And yet, if Burrow wasn't rattled by all those hits, he must be rattle-proof. Cincinnati's current core is not at all bound by the organization's history. The Bengals won five of their last six—including a Week 17 matchup with these same Chiefs—and their lone loss was a Week 18 game played by their backups.

    Cincinnati is no joke. But Kansas City has controlled this conference for a reason.

    You don't bet against Mahomes this time of year. He just won a playoff game after his team allowed the opposition to score the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left in regulation. He is a world-class magician who just happens to be good at spinning the pigskin.

    Add home-field advantage to the equation, plus good news on the injury front with playmaking safety Tyrann Mathieu, and you have the recipe for Kansas City's third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

    Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bengals 30


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