Bengals vs. Chiefs Preview and Prediction: Can the Bengals steal another from the Chiefs?

Cincinnati tries to steal a second win against Kansas City. Here is our Bengals vs. Chiefs preview, along with a prediction.

A few short weeks ago, we watched the Cincinnati Bengals topple the Kansas City Chiefs 34-31. However, the Chiefs now appear to be in playoff mode. Last week, against Jeffery Simmons, the Bengals allowed 9 sacks, which will almost certainly be a death blow if they repeat that performance against the military-grade offensive firepower in Kansas City. Can Joe Burrow play another near-perfect game and lead his team to an unlikely Super Bowl run for a franchise that hadn’t won a playoff game in 31 years? We break down his chances in this Bengals vs. Chiefs preview, take a look at the NFL odds, and make a prediction.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs preview

Dwelling on the past can be overrated. Every game is unique. Every environment is different. The Bengals beat the Chiefs in Cincinnati, and it took a Herculean effort from Burrow and star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase to accomplish that. Burrow finished 30 of 39 for an eye-popping 446 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chase was responsible for 266 yards and scored 3 TDs of his own.

But there are some matchups and storylines that could dictate the outcome of their playoff game.

Chiefs need Tyrann Mathieu back from his concussion

After being booted in the dome by Josh Allen on a scramble on the seventh play of the game, the Chiefs lost their star safety for the rest of the contest. And it was evident in how painfully easy things were at times for the Bills’ passing attack.

Stefon Diggs wasn’t even a factor in the matchup, and it didn’t matter. Gabriel Davis was the one to break a playoff record with 4 receiving touchdowns.

We all saw what happened in Week 17 when Daniel Sorensen played as a split-field safety to Chase’s side. It’s tough to distinguish whether he botched the coverage or simply took the worst angle in the history of angles, but the result was the same.

Aside from his leadership and physical ability as a player, what makes Tyrann Mathieu unique is his mind. He’s almost exclusively in the right place at the right time. This becomes even more important in the red zone when things get tight, and the ability to effortlessly communicate switches becomes paramount.

Bengals right side must protect Burrow

After suffering 9 sacks against the Titans, the biggest question concerning the Bengals’ ability to make the Super Bowl lies with their offensive line. Maybe Burrow should have his headset go out again.

After all, the plays he called in that period of time in the Divisional Round worked like a charm.

Simmons proved he was a monster against Cincinnati’s offensive line, and Chris Jones is an even more accomplished interior pass rusher. After having zero sacks and just 4 pressures in two playoff games, Jones had to be licking his lips watching Simmons bully Trey Hopkins and Hakeem Adeniji.

Jones is no stranger to massive individual game performances. He had 8 pressures and 4 sacks against the Cowboys and generated 10 total pressures against the Raiders. In their first matchup against Cincinnati, Jones had 6 pressures and 2 sacks. He can wreck a game all by himself.

Tackling could decide the outcome

Against Buffalo, Tyreek Hill almost had 100 yards receiving after the catch alone. Jerick McKinnon has 170 in two games, and Mecole Hardman can house a catch or run at any time. Cincinnati will play most of their snaps from a two-high shell. They will force Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to find underneath windows to attack.

McKinnon wasn’t part of Kansas City’s game plan the first time around. His ability out of the backfield is an element that Cincinnati didn’t have to account for in their last contest.

Chase is averaging 73.2 receiving yards after the catch over his past five games. Additionally, he’s averaging nearly 11 yards after the catch per reception over the same period. Cincinnati finds ways to get him the ball, and Chase’s strength and burst allow him to shake tackles and delete pursuit angles.

He had 151 yards after the catch last time he played the Chiefs. He even had a post-catch scamper reminiscent of CeeDee Lamb’s run against Texas when he was at Oklahoma. Chase had no business scoring, but his feel, vision, and athleticism allowed him to find a crease and leave everyone behind.

Bengals vs. Chiefs prediction

  • Spread: Chiefs -7 (Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Moneyline: Chiefs -350, Bengals +270
  • Total: 54.5

If the Chiefs play clean football in this game, they’ll win it. They’re the more talented overall roster and have the far more consistent offense. They had 10 penalties for 83 yards in their first matchup. That probably won’t happen with Bill Vinovich and Co. officiating the game. No crew called fewer penalties for fewer yards than his crew in 2021.

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Nobody complains about a lack of officiating. It makes games way more fun and free-flowing. In their last matchup, one of Kansas City’s 10 penalties negated a kick return for a touchdown. They allowed Chase and Burrow to hook up on a third-and-27. In fact, six of the Chiefs’ 10 penalties led directly to Bengals’ first downs.

Anything can happen in any given week, but Mahomes looks locked in and incredibly limber. I find it hard to believe the Bengals will thwart his efforts of following up Tom Brady by going to three consecutive Super Bowls. But man, Burrow has that unquantifiable it factor that we try to bestow upon so many.

Bengals vs. Chiefs Prediction: Chiefs 31, Bengals 28

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