Bengals @ Chiefs AFC Championship preview

George Harrison was in the top ten with Got My Mind Set On You and George Michael was at number with Faith the last time the Bengals played in an AFC Championship game and Joe Burrow wasn’t even born, that happened 6 years later!  Mahomes and the Chiefs are playing in their third Championship game in the last three years and that would appear to be all you need to know about who is going to win this game; however, the Bengals have their own quarterback who appears to have a similar character arc to Mahomes.  This is Joe Burrow’s first complete season as a starter after he suffered a brutal knee injury against the Washington Football Team in week 10 of his rookie season but just like Mahomes he’s taken to professional football like a duck to water and as the pressure rises he grows a little bit taller.  The Titans put more pressure on Burrow than any normal quarterback could cope with but as they sacked him 9 times and hit him another 13 times he seemed to become more determined to do everything within his power to single handedly won the game.  Burrow threw for 34 touchdowns during the regular season and notched up 4611 yards from 520 pass attempts, the Chiefs defiance were the 7th worst pass defence in terms of how many yards they allowed with 4273 over the 17 games of the regular season and the 27 touchdown passes they allowed was the 3rd highest number of any of the teams who made the playoffs behind the Packers and Eagles.  Mahomes was slightly better than Burrow during the regular season, he threw 37 touchdown passes and managed 4839 passing yards but he threw 658 times (about 21% more often than Burrow), the Bengals allowed 26 touchdown passes and 4222 passing yards during the regular season so freakishly similar to the Chiefs but ever so slightly better.  One are where the Bengals appear to have a clear edge s in terms of pass rush, the Chiefs only managed 31 sacks in the regular season which is good news for Burrow (last weeks opponents the Titans had 43) while the Bengals recorded 42 in the 17 regular season games.  37.3% of the Chiefs opposition’s drives ended with them scoring points which would be a problem for a normal team, it ranked them 8th in the league and only 1 other team in the top 11 qualified fir the playoffs (the Raiders) but it’s not an issue when Patrick Mahomes is your quarterback, the Bengals allowed points on 33.6% of their defensive drives, the 7th best number in the league.

 

Bookmakers have Kansas City as favourites to win by less than one touchdown which is completely understandable after Mahomes heroics last week and it’s difficult to imagine he won’t produce some magic this week too but I think the Bengals will be doing everything possible to avoid the Chiefs being within 7 points going into the last minute of the game and if both defence’s continue on similar trajectories as they did during the regular season Cinci should be able to provide too many obstacles for Mahomes to single handedly overcome.

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