The Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to wrap up the AFC North this week with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. That seems like a tall task because it is. The Chiefs are back to their old ways as one of the hottest teams in the NFL after a slow start to the season where their offense and defense struggled to find their explosive consistency. That is good, though. Because if the Bengals are able to knock them off it not only secures their spot in the playoffs, but it shows they belong there as well.
Cincinnati’s season has been filled with the kinds of up and downs you would expect from a team that relies on a very young core of talented players to go out and win games. Last week against the Baltimore Ravens was an example of it working out incredibly as quarterback Joe Burrow shattered Boomer Esiason’s record of passing yards in a game by posting 525, which only two quarterbacks since the NFL merger have more than. What was impressive was the trio of pass catchers being on the same page with Burrow. Wide receiver Tee Higgins has caught fire and that showed with his massive performance of 12 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
Kansas City’s offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of the best in the league. When he has guys like wide receiver Tyreke Hill and tight end Travis Kelce rolling there is very little NFL defenses can do to to slow them down. The Bengals got some bad news when linebacker Germaine Pratt tested positive for COVID-19 making his availability very unlikely for Sunday. Linebacker Logan Wilson’s return to the practice field was as unexpected as it was important for a group that keeps getting thinner after having a number of players on the injured reserve.
This battle of offensive talent likely won’t come down to defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo shutting down the Chiefs. That is just a hard thing to pull off. It will be Burrow being able to keep up with Mahomes. This Kansas City defense isn’t as suspect as it was at the beginning of the season. Ever since they were able to add Melvin Ingram and move Chris Jones back inside the defensive line they have been a whole new unit. Can that unit keep the Bengals from clinching their spot in the playoffs?
Start Time: 1 pm ET
TV Channel: The game will air nationally on CBS-TV. In the Bengals’ home region, it will be carried by WKRC-TV (Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WHIO-TV (Ch. 7) in Dayton and on WKYT-TV (Ch. 27) in Lexington.
Broadcasters: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter).
Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7).
Broadcasters: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Replay: NFL Game Pass
Weather: Low 30s and overcast, per NFL weather.
Odds: Bengals +5 with the over/under set at 51, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
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