2022 AFC Championship Game Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

2022 AFC Championship Game Betting Preview: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Ryan Knuppel
2 years ago
3 min read
Joe Mixon of the Bengals is tackled by Rashad Fenton of the Chiefs in an NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium earlier this season.

The AFC Championship Game will once again feature the Kansas City Chiefs, though they face a surprise opponent this time around. Kansas City will square off with the Cincinnati Bengals for the right to play in Super Bowl LVI, with the Chiefs looking for their third straight Super Bowl appearance and the Bengals looking to deny them of that. The Chiefs enter this game as a touchdown favorite, as they look to avenge their loss to the Bengals from the regular season.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals took care of business on the road in the Divisional round, beating the Tennessee Titans in an upset of the top seed in the AFC. Cincinnati intercepted three Ryan Tannehill passes in that game, including one on the first play from scrimmage of the game. This week, the Bengals know that they have to try and stop a much better offense than the one they faced last week.

Offensively, the Bengals had a ton of success through the air against the Chiefs in their early January matchup. Joe Burrow threw four touchdown passes, three of which went to Ja’Marr Chase. Chase had 266 receiving yards and will look to have another big game here to help the Bengals keep up with the explosive offense of Kansas City.

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Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs played one of the greatest games in the history of playoff football last week, beating the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime. Both teams scored at least 10 points in the final two minutes of regulation, with the Chiefs kicking a game-tying field goal before winning with a touchdown in overtime. This week, the Chiefs will aim for a defensive performance that allows them to have a less stressful outing.

Kansas City should get a huge boost ahead of the AFC Championship Game, as safety Tyrann Mathieu is expected to return to action. Mathieu was sidelined by a concussion in the Divisional Round, which had a huge impact on the Chiefs' secondary in the late stages of that contest. There is no guarantee that the Chiefs will slow Burrow and Chase down with Mathieu back, but his presence certainly gives them a better chance at doing so.

Keys To The Game

The biggest key to this game for the Bengals is their pass protection. Cincinnati gave up an eye-popping nine sacks against the Titans last week, surviving solely due to the turnovers from Tannehill. If the Bengals cannot prevent pressure on Burrow again this week, they may not have a chance to put up the kind of numbers they did when they last faced the Chiefs.

On the Kansas City side of things, the number one key to this game will be how they try and apply pressure to Joe Burrow. It will be tempting for them to blitz repeatedly given the offensive line issues for the Bengals. But too much blitzing could allow Burrow to get quick throws off, which weapons like Ja’Marr Chase able to create separation and gain massive amounts of yards after the catch.

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