NFL Game of the Week: Chiefs vs. Bengals
In what will be a rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season, two powerhouses may be without key players for an all-important game.
For the past season or so, the Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) have been two of the most dominant teams in the AFC. Both teams have, at times, struggled during the season but both have started to get hot at the right time.
The Cincinnati Bengals are currently on a three-game win streak that has not come without its struggles. With both Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Mixon sidelined with injuries, the Bengals have seen some close games against both the Steelers and Titans.
Quarterback Joe Burrow has adapted well to this, however, and has mainly targeted Tee Higgins and has Samaje Perine out of the backfield. However, the possibility of Chase and Mixon coming back this week could be exactly what Cincinnati needs to pull off a huge win. Both Mixon and Chase are listed as questionable for Sunday.
Meanwhile in Kansas City, it's been a year of adjustment offensively for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Mahomes has adjusted nicely to losing Tyreek Hill in the offseason and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to injury a few weeks ago against the Chargers.
Isiah Pacheco has been lighting up the backfield for the Chiefs while Travis Kelce’s been having another banner year and furthering his cause for the Hall of Fame.
Mahomes still has plenty of targets to throw to without Hill, and may have an additional one if Kadarius Toney returns from injury. Toney had started to become a valuable weapon for Mahomes after being traded from the Giants before injuring himself again.
Expect this game to be heavily offensive and high scoring. Most of the ball movement will be done through the air as both of these generational talents at quarterback have reliable targets. This will especially be seen if both teams are without their starting running backs.
Defensively, the Bengals seem to have a slight advantage. They rank 11th both in pass and rush yards allowed on the season, while the Chiefs are 21st and 5th in those categories.
Look for Burrow to continue to exploit Kansas City’s weak pass defense with Tyler Boyd, Higgins and possibly Chase. Mahomes, meanwhile, will look more in the way of Pacheco for the check down option, or to dump it off to Kelce if Eli Apple’s able to lock down the long pass option.
In the end, the X-factor in this game will be Chase and whether or not he makes his first appearance since Week 7. Chase in the game, while not performing at his previous standards, would still prove to be too much for the Chief’s secondary and would push the Bengals to a victory.
Prediction: Bengals 31, Chiefs 21
Ethan Ellis is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
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Ethan Ellis is a first year student at Penn State University. He is from the small town of Rocky Mount in the southern part of Virginia. He is currently majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in sports studies and is work towards becoming and sports announcer for ESPN.