The Cincinnati Bengals are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. That's right, the NFL season is nearly over, and the team that comes out on top will advance to the big game. On the other side, the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship.
Like last week against the Tennessee Titans, the Bengals are underdogs against the Chiefs. After all, it isn't easy being the away team at Arrowhead Stadium (just ask the Buffalo Bills).
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Regardless of whether you are a die-hard Bengals fan or just an NFL fan whose team went 4-13, this is a must-watch. Will Joe Burrow and the Bengals continue their historical playoff run, or will Patrick Mahomes and the dominant Chiefs advance? Here are my top four predictions for the Sunday afternoon matchup.
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Bengals AFC Championship Predictions
4. Early deficit for Cincinnati
The Bengals hosted the Chiefs in Week 17 and were able to pull off a 34-31 win. However, the win didn't come easy. Cincinnati trailed the Chiefs 28-17 at halftime before finally pulling ahead in the fourth quarter.
The AFC Championship Game is going to be eerily similar. While the Bengals' defense may have learned their lesson, the atmosphere at Arrowhead is going to automatically give the Chiefs early momentum. Expect the Bengals to trail by at least one possession going into halftime.
For more insight on the Bengals' AFC Championship matchup against the Chiefs, listen below:
3. Huge passing game
Last week in the Bengals win over the Titans, Joe Burrow threw for 348 yards. In the Bengals vs Chiefs Week 17 game, Burrow threw for a whopping 446 yards. For the Bengals to have any chance against the Chiefs, he is going to have to continue throwing the football.
There will be limited rushing for the Bengals this weekend, mostly done by Joe Mixon. Expect at least 375 yards of the Bengals' offense to come from pass completions.
2. Split passing between Chase and Higgins
Wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase has been hot all season, but his most successful game was Week 17. He recorded 266 yards and three touchdowns against the Chiefs.
More than likely, Andy Reid has been preparing his defense for Chase all week. However, the majority of Burrow's passing attempts last week went to wide receiver Tee Higgins. He had nine targets and seven receptions, while Chase only had six targets and five receptions.
With all of this in mind, expect the passing game to be split between the two wide receivers.
1. Bengals W
When the fourth quarter ends, expect the Bengals to be the AFC Champions. Their determination, as well as the leadership and talent of Joe Burrow, will ultimately earn them the win. They will come into the second half a brand new football team and put up big numbers to take the lead. Finally, my boldest prediction yet: Bengals win 41-37.
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