After a week filled with talk and concerns over injuries surrounding Patrick Mahomes’ ankle and Travis Kelce’s back, the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals approach kickoff with a chance to stamp their ticket to the Super Bowl LVII. Here’s how the Arrowhead Report crew sees the rematch.
Joshua Brisco: In a rematch that has already soaked up more than its fair share of pre-game drama, the Chiefs’ path to the Super Bowl now rests on Patrick Mahomes’ ankle, Chris Jones’ dominance and the team’s ability to play ballless football. errors. In the end, I’m most concerned about that third key, and the Bengals have earned the right to the doubt for now. However, with the recent growth in the Chiefs defense and the potential for an all-time gameplan from Andy Reid and Co., KC’s case isn’t hard to make. I have never despised or distrusted a prediction more than this one. Virtually nothing would surprise me, other than a humdrum relationship with a real lack of trash talk. Prediction: Bengals 28, Chiefs 27
Jordan Foote: The Chiefs proved in Week 13 — as well as their other two matchups against the Bengals — that they are more than capable of hanging with Cincinnati. Actually defeating Joe Burrow and Co. was another story, though. Kansas City’s question marks in the middle of the field on defense are legitimate, especially against this specific team. This is arguably the worst matchup for an otherwise dominant Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes-led team, and that’s even without factoring in Mahomes’ ankle. I can’t pick the Chiefs until they prove they can beat the Bengals, so it’s another close loss. Prediction: Bengals 31, Chiefs 27
Zack Eisen: I’ve been craving this game ever since the Chiefs lost the AFC Championship Game in overtime last year. This version of the Bengals is the only team to truly have an edge over the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs. Cincinnati boasts a 3-0 record over Kansas City over the past 13 months, but the Chiefs have blown those games more than the Bengals have won them. With a Super Bowl trip on the line, I expect the Chiefs to be focused and at their best. Mahomes will be absolutely composed and play at an all-time level as he leads the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl in four years. Arizona, here we come. Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bengals 23
Mark Van Sickle: This is. The rematch we’ve been waiting nearly a year to see. The Bengals had three straight wins against the Chiefs, so it’s hard to say they were random wins despite some very strange things that have taken place. Particularly when it seemed like Patrick Mahomes forgot how to play soccer for the second half of last year’s AFC Championship Game. That won’t happen again this year. Mahomes will be able to get through anything the Bengals throw at him and he will show the world why he is the MVP of the NFL. The defense will finally get to Joe Burrow and put him down. The Chiefs have too much pride to lose a fourth straight to the Bengals. I know earlier in the season I said I couldn’t pick the Chiefs to beat the Bengals until they showed it to me with a win. However, the playoffs hit differently. Andy Reid will have a masterful offensive game plan and you get the feeling Mahomes won’t let up in a second consecutive AFC Championship game on home soil. The Chiefs will be back in the Super Bowl to face the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl matchup I predicted before the season! Prediction: Chiefs 38, Bengals 24
Marlow Ferguson Jr.: While that’s a real possibility, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine a team defeating this iteration of the Chiefs led by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes four out of four times, particularly with three of four at home. The Bengals have not been shy about providing material for the bulletin board, something that would normally make the Kansas City street tilt right away. But some factors are hard to ignore: 1. Bengals’ defense matched the brilliance of their attack; they have allowed just 18.1 postseason points per game in the Burrow.2 era. The Chiefs are tied 31st in #1 wide receiver defense. 1, with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins arriving in town and, of course… 3. Injuries to both Mahomes and Kelce. Even so, the Chiefs have always found a way. Emotion trumps logic in this prediction, and that means a Kansas City win. Prediction: Chiefs, 28; Bengal, 26
Conner Christopherson: The Chiefs will eventually beat the Bengals, but I don’t think it will be this year. While Patrick Mahomes was healthier than expected due to a new ankle sprain last week, I have a hard time believing he’ll be 100%. Coupled with the disciplined edge rushers of the Bengals, this is a huge cause for concern for me. Mahomes needs to put up his best pure pocket passing game of his career for the offense to be consistent and win. That’s not the only concern I have, though. The Bengals offense relentlessly targeted the Chiefs midfield defense last time these teams played, and I have a hard time seeing the Chiefs defense fix that for a rematch. Steve Spagnuolo and the defensemen will have to play their best game of the season to slow the Bengals enough to win. The player who will be watching this game is Isiah Pacheco, because if he can run well and break up a great run or two, the Chiefs have a much better chance of making it to the Super Bowl. To me, however, I don’t think the Chiefs will be able to do enough. Prediction: Bengals 30, Chiefs 29