AFC Championship Preview
The Cincinnati Bengals will travel to Kansas City for their first AFC Championship game since 1988, as Joe Burrow will look to topple the Chiefs for the second time this season. The first meeting earlier in the season saw the Bengals overcome a 14 point deficit to win 34-31, thanks to a last-second field goal. However, KC will be out for blood this time. The two team's Divisional Round games could not have been more contrasting. The Bengals won a gritty matchup against the first seed Tennessee Titans, where multiple turnovers set them up to win the game 19-16. Burrow was battered and bruised all game as he did an excellent job to remain composed and led the Bengals on their game-winning drive. The Chiefs had to rely on their offense as their defense did its best job to throw away the game on multiple occasions in what may have been the greatest playoff game in NFL history.
Patrick Mahomes led his team to a 42-36 win over the Buffalo Bills in overtime, but the drama came after the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter. The Bills took a 29-26 lead before Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for a huge catch and run touchdown. However, the Bills were not done, as Josh Allen found Gabriel Davis for his fourth touchdown to make it 36-33 with just 13 seconds to go. That would not be the end though, as Mahomes managed to get into field goal range in that time and then with the victory of the coin flip, drove down the field in overtime and his pass to Travis Kelce won the game. Fingers crossed, we get to see a match that can come anywhere near to reaching the levels of last Sunday night.
Kansas City Chiefs- Tyrann Mathieu has been cleared to play after suffering a concussion during the first half of the Chiefs win over Buffalo. Running back Darrel Williams was limited late in this week's practise as Andy Reid looked to manage his toe injury.
Cincinnati Bengals- Cam Sample will probably remain out with a groin injury that has seen him miss the last few games. Josh Tupou will be questionable as he continues to struggle with a knee issue that had him as a limited participant in training. Stanley Morgan is doubtful as a hamstring problem kept him out of Friday's practice.
Prediction: Bengals 34-30 Chiefs
This AFC Championship game is certainly going to be difficult to call. The previous meeting between the two teams and the horrendous Chiefs defensive showing last week really throws it up into the air. The Chiefs are in their fourth Championship game and are rightful favourites. However, this has been one of, if not the craziest season in NFL history. No one expected the Bengals to win more than six games, let alone win the AFC North. Since then, they have ended their playoff curse and are a game away from the Super Bowl. With the way Joe Burrow has played, with Jamarr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, the Bengals offense are a force to be reckoned with. The Kansas City defense knows that. However, the Bengals do not have a putrid defense anymore and they could make a huge difference. It just feels written that Joe Burrow makes it all the way after the last 18 months he has had. Sunday could cap off one of the greatest turnarounds for an NFL franchise in recent history.