AFC Championship Game 2022: Bengals vs. Chiefs Comments and Stat Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2022

AFC Championship Game 2022: Bengals vs. Chiefs Comments and Stat Predictions

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs will make their fourth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship Game, but they'll be greeted by a new challenger in the Cincinnati Bengals

    Patrick Mahomes once again has the offense playing incredibly well. They may not have been consistently dominant in the regular season, but they have stepped up their game when it matters most.

    After scoring 42 in a rout over the Steelers, the offense continued to catch fire against the Bills, dropping 42 again in an overtime win over Josh Allen and the Bills. 

    The Bengals have been out to gain respect from the outset of the season. One year after missing the playoffs entirely, Joe Burrow has taken the Bengals on a meteoric rise that finds them one win away from the Super Bowl. 

    The storylines abound in this one as Mahomes and the Chiefs look to continue their AFC dominance while the Bengals try to emerge as a new favorite in the conference. 

    Here's the latest from the team's stars and some predictions for the stats we will see from the top players on both sides. 

2022 AFC Championship Game Info

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    Date: Sunday, January 30

    Time: 3 p.m. ET

    TV and Live Stream: CBS, CBS All Access

    Final Score Prediction: 38-28, Chiefs

Joe Burrow Shirking the Underdog Label

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    The Bengals are seven-point underdogs in the AFC title game, per DraftKings Sportsbook. Just don't tell Joe Burrow that. After winning the franchise's first playoff game in 30 years and toppling the No. 1 seed in the conference, the quarterback is done with the label. 

    "I'm tired of the underdog narrative," Burrow said after beating the Titans. "We're a really, really good team. We're here to make noise and teams are going to have to pay attention to us."

    The Bengals have stockpiled talent to be sure. Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are all three ranked in the top 10 of their respective positions by PFF. D.J. Reader carries that distinction on the interior of the defense. 

    There is obviously a lot of talent on the other side, too, but the Bengals shouldn't be completely discounted. The Chiefs defense isn't built to be a dominant unit, and they've already shown they could struggle to cover Chase. 

    The rookie receiver left their secondary burned to a crisp with an eye-popping stat line of 11 catches, 266 yards and three touchdowns in Week 17. It's hard to envision him not having another great outing even if the Chiefs attempt to cover him differently. 

    Stat Predictions

    Burrow: 325 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception

    Chase: six catches, 125 yards, one touchdown

    Mixon: 14 carries, 55 yards, one touchdown

Chris Jones "Preparing for a Battle" with Bengals

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    With the Bengals beating the Chiefs 34-31 in Week 17, there would be no excuse for the Chiefs to be overlooking the Bengals. 

    Defensive tackle Chris Jones acknowledged this much in his pre-game comments this week. 

    "I learned that they outplayed us," Jones said, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com. "Came to a critical situation at the end, goal-line stance. A couple bad calls. It's going to be a battle. That's what I know for sure. It's going to be a battle."

    Jones is, of course, referring to the Week 17 encounter when the Chiefs had some crucial penalties on a late goal-line stand that allowed the Bengals to take the clock down to zero when kicking the game-winning field goal. 

    Jones went on to say that winning the rematch is about preparation. The Chiefs have seen things on film that will need to be adjusted. 

    It doesn't hurt that this game will be played at Arrowhead. The Chiefs went 7-2 at home this season and have had the opportunity to play a host in both playoff games. 

    Chiefs defensive adjustments to better contain Chase and the offense continuing to roll could be too much for the upstart Bengals. 

    Stat Predictions

    Mahomes: 340 passing yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions

    Tyreek Hill: five catches 85 yards, one touchdown

    Travis Kelce: six catches, 80 yards, one touchdown

         

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