Bengals take on Chiefs in AFC Championship rematch
The Cincinnati Bengals look to continue their recent domination of the visiting Kansas City Chiefs when the two AFC powerhouse teams meet in Sunday’s showdown.
The Bengals have won six of the past seven meetings between the teams. Of course, they prevailed in the most important clash when they recorded a 27-24 overtime win over the host Chiefs in last season’s AFC Championship game.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn’t forgotten the demoralizing feeling of falling short and watching the Bengals celebrate advancing to the Super Bowl.
“They beat us,” Mahomes told reporters. “I played terrible in the second half. We lost at home (in a game) that could have sent us to the Super Bowl. We’ll be ready to go for sure.”
The Chiefs (9-2) possess the best record in the AFC and have won five straight games entering the rematch.
Cincinnati (7-4) has won three consecutive games and seven of nine following an 0-2 start.
After engineering the Bengals’ run to the Super Bowl last season, quarterback Joe Burrow is intent on posting another win over Kansas City.
“We’re really confident in ourselves,” Burrow said. “We feel like we can beat any team in the league, and we’ve proven that. We’re not going to go out and be scared of anybody.”
Burrow has passed for 3,160 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. Four of the picks came in the season-opening 23-20 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Burrow will have top wideout Ja’Marr Chase (hip) back on the field but the availability of running back Joe Mixon (concussion) might not be known until late in the week. Mixon missed last Sunday’s 20-16 road win over the Tennessee Titans.
Chase has missed the past four games and said Wednesday that he held himself out against the Titans. He told coach Zac Taylor that he wanted to think long term about the injury.
“I told him I didn’t feel too comfortable yet,” Chase said. “I wanted to give myself another week of preparation for the next game if I had a chance to. I just want to get myself the right amount of time. I never really want to rush anything.”
Tee Higgins, who has team highs of 57 catches and 826 receiving yards, has stepped up with Chase out and has recorded back-to-back 100-yard outings.
While the Bengals are tied for the AFC North lead with the Baltimore Ravens, the Chiefs own a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West.
Kansas City has posted three double-digit victories during its five-game winning streak and is flying high entering a stretch of three straight road games — the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans follow the game in Cincinnati.
Mahomes is on a roll and has passed for over 300 yards in six straight games, topping 400 in two of them. He leads the NFL with 3,585 yards and 29 touchdowns and has been intercepted eight times.
Stellar tight end Travis Kelce is having another monster season and leads the NFL with 12 touchdown receptions. Kelce has caught 73 passes and is 88 yards away from his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season.
Kelce was a former college star at Cincinnati. He had 10 receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown in the AFC title game setback.
When asked about last season’s AFC Championship game, Kansas City coach Andy Reid said his team was outplayed by the Bengals.
“They executed well, better than how we did,” Reid said. “We didn’t do very well, so they got us.”
Three Chiefs missed practice Wednesday — receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (illness) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring) and running back Jerick McKinnon (hamstring). Defensive back Deon Bush (elbow) was limited.
Chase and Mixon were both limited for the Bengals, as was defensive tackle D.J. Reader (ankle).
–Field Level Media