CINCINNATI, Ohio — Joe Burrow and the Bengals can go to their second straight Super Bowl if they beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year. Kansas City kicks off at 6:30 pm Sunday night.
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The Bengals had an impressive 27-10 loss to the Bills in the divisional playoffs. Despite suffering a high ankle sprain, Mahomes and the Chiefs eliminated the Jaguars, 27-20, on January 21.
Who: Cincinnati Bengals to the Kansas City Chiefs.
when: Sunday 29 January 2023.
Weather: 6:30 pm Eastern.
Where is it: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City (76,416).
Search cable channel: Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice, DIRECTV and Dish
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Last line: Heads -2.5.
announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Evan Washburn and Tracy Wolfson.
Read what Mohammad Ahmad of cleveland.com wrote about how Bengalis made Cincinnati into a destination.
Whatever happens in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, the Bengali they have already won the long game.
Obviously the goal is to reach and, above all, win the Super Bowl. Quarterback Joe Burrow has made it clear that the Bengals’ new standard is the Super Bowl. This is not the Bengals team that has lost seven straight playoff games after 15 years of postseason downs. No, this is not the same Bengals team that has been viewed by some outside of Cincinnati as a laughing stock.
Instead, Bengalis are getting the last laugh. Pulled just over two years off a worst 2-14 record in the league, they secured the jackpot by drafting Burrow and his best friend, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and making a splash of free agency signings and trades. All of this has turned Cincinnati into a hub for not only getting paid, but getting paid to win.
Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan summed up the transformation best.
“There are guys who come here because they want to win and be a part of something great instead of getting paid and making a lot of money and getting a lot of stats. There’s a difference,” Callahan said. “It exists in the NFL and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re a big team and you have a chance to play for championships, that’s what you have to do.”
Read Callahan’s words carefully. There’s a difference. It’s perfect.
When the Bengals signed defensive tackle DJ Reader and safety Vonn Bell in the offseason in 2020, that was just the beginning of a series of canny moves by player personnel director Duke Tobin and head coach Zac Taylor . That year’s draft class may have been one of the best in franchise history.
Soon after Burrow came one of his future elite targets, Tee Higgins. Linebackers Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither completed athletic depth at that position along with Germaine Pratt as all three are playing their best football in their young careers. You can’t overlook the impact of even a sixth-round pick like Hakeem Adeniji, who has been their saving grace at right tackle this postseason.
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