History is rarely patient; either you make it, or it finds someone that will. The measuring stick for the Bengals is now at its longest against the football superhero gang of the Kansas City Chiefs and their mustachioed bacon-brain genius, Andy Reid.
The general sentiment among those paying attention is that the Bengals might be able to hang into the fourth quarter and keep it a game. The star-power of the Chiefs, favored by 3.5 points to day (via DraftKings Sportsbook), will surely wilt the modest Bengals into giving the game away because that’s how their history has gone. Right?
“But we have Joe Burrow,” says the miffed Bengals fan.
“But we have Patrick Mahomes,” grins the Chiefs fan.
“But we have Joe Burrow,” repeats the Bengals fan and takes a nervous drink from his beer.
That’s kind of what it comes down to: your belief in Joe Burrow. Is he Mahomesian? Can he too be truly an exceptional player that can clash with titans in postseason-clinching moments?
The eyeballs say yes. The gut seems to say yes. Things continue to trend generally upward with him in games, and he’s already had a lot to fight through to even get to nine wins this year.
The rest of the roster is solid as well. The Chiefs have expensive crown jewels at the top but are a bit soft in the middle parts of their depth charts. The Bengals have only burgeoning household names but plenty on various levels. The cohesiveness among them looks healthy, and they play with a fun vibe that’s easy to get behind.
They’ve had some minor arrival moments this season and were even largely given a pass for falling short to Aaron Rodgers in overtime, but this is the grandest stage of them all so far for this current bunch.
This is the boss in Double Dragon that seemed impossible until you stayed up all night and figured out the right button combinations. Slay this monster, and level up exponentially.
If that feels like a flimsy analysis of an important football game, that’s because football is a flimsy game that rarely goes as the experts say it will. I could say to run misdirection in the run game away from Chris Jones and attack the edges to wear out the Kansas City secondary. Or to double Travis Kelce on every third-down and live with Tyreek Hill running by people to prohibit long, time-killing drives. It’s all just Farmer’s Almanac prognosticating though.
The real point is that Burrow can taste victory in his teeth and wants it beyond belief. His teammates and coaches know this about him and would die of shame before they let him down.
KC has rattled off eight straight wins and clinched their division last week. It’s a veteran team that has made winning their division routine, but if there were ever a time to relax just for a moment, it could be here.
Bengals 31, Chiefs 19
Mojokong – stakes are high