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Roundtable: Predictions for Bengals vs. Chiefs in AFC Championship

The Cincy Jungle staff and other NFL experts tell you what they think will happen in Kansas City.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are. Late January, and the Cincinnati Bengals are still in the mix. If it weren’t for the team being led by Joe “Cool” Burrow, a lot of us would have butterflies in our stomachs. Yes, the Bengals beat the number one seed in the AFC last week, but we all know that the Kansas City Chiefs, who took a little while to get going in the regular season, are the team to beat. And they have one of the best home field advantages in the league.

So what are media personalities saying will happen in the AFC Championship Game, where Kansas City is favored by 7 via DraftKings Sportsbook? Let’s take a look:

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: The Bengals are the future. The Chiefs are the present. Drop any team into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, and Kansas City wins. ’72 Dolphins, ’85 Bears. Any of them. And look for the Bengals to go down swinging; the last thing they’ll want to do is to change who they are. Because who they are could get them to the Super Bowl, as soon as next year. Chiefs 41, Bengals 24

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: These teams met four weeks ago in one of the best games of the regular season, a 34-31 Bengals win in Cincinnati. On that day Joe Burrow looked like the better quarterback, putting up 446 yards and four touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes‘ 259 yards and two touchdowns. I expect Burrow to have another big game on Sunday, but I think Mahomes will match him drive for drive, and this time I like the Chiefs to be the ones to pull out the win in the last minute. Chiefs 38, Bengals 34

Bill Bender, Sporting News: Mahomes is 7-1 with 23 TDs and one interception in AFC playoff games, and the home-field advantage will be a difference maker. This will be close, too, and the Bengals prove they are going to be a force. Kansas City, however, makes one more big play in crunch time. Chiefs 31, Bengals 28

Pete Prisco, CBS: This will be another game about the two quarterbacks. Both will have success throwing it and both will roll up big numbers. In the end, the Chiefs are the better team, but it will be close. It will go down to the wire, but Kansas City will be moving on. Chiefs 34, Bengals 32

Gregg Rosenthal, In an offense-first league, I don’t trust either of these defenses to make many stops, similar to the Chargers-Chiefs, Bengals-Chiefs and Bills-Chiefs games that came before it. All of those games came down to the final possession, and two went to overtime. That’s why I love the Bengals +7 this week... Bengals 33, Chiefs 32

Meanwhile, only one of ESPN’s eleven “NFL Experts” predicted the Bengals to win.

Okay, now let’s get to the real picks, those made by our staff here at Cincy Jungle:

Ethan DeWitt: After a slugfest of a game in Nashville last weekend, the Bengals will have to be prepared for a track meet at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday. It has been mentioned all week, but if the o-line gives up nine sacks for a second straight week, they simply won’t be able to keep with the Chiefs a second time, especially in a playoff game on the road. Chiefs 34, Bengals 28

John Sheeran: Betting against Joe Burrow is a dangerous game to play; it’s almost as if you are challenging destiny. Still, there are certain simple truths that permeate sports, like: the better team usually wins. The Chiefs, more than any team remaining in the postseason, look like the better team when compared with the Bengals. Not only that, but they get to play at home, making Burrow’s first Super Bowl appearance unlikely (it would be shame if he heard about this before the game). Chiefs 35, Bengals 31

Jason Marcum: I expect this one to be another shootout that comes down to the fourth quarter, as we’ll be treated to the latest of many Burrow-Mahomes duels. But this time, it’s Mahomes who has home field advantage, and I think that gives him the edge. Kansas City 37, Cincinnati 33

Nathan Beighle: Call me a pessimist, but I think last week was more about the Titans’ incompetence than Bengals excellence. I still think this game remains close, especially considering Cincinnati’s weapons. The Bengals offense line will have to have their best game of the season for Cincinnati to come out on top, and I don’t see that happening. Regardless, it should be close. Chiefs 28, Bengals 24

Anthony Cosenza: Kansas City come in with the sizzle, the talent, an unrelenting attack, the loud home field, and the momentum of defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills, postseason juggernauts of the past and present. The Bengals, meanwhile, are the underdogs coming off of two impressive—albeit “ugly”—postseason wins. They’ve beaten teams in shootouts and grind-it-outs and exude extreme confidence. Every rational fiber of my being says to take Kansas City for the advantages mentioned above. And yet, these Bengals have constantly shown they won’t back down. While still ahead of schedule, this team smells of “destiny.” Bengals 27, Chiefs 23

Patrick Judis: Things are different in the playoffs, but Mahomes always finds a way to make things interesting. I think we get a repeat of the fireworks from Week 17 with it coming down to Burrow getting the ball last again. Bengals 45, Chiefs 41

Mojokong: I predict that the Chiefs will have a hard time getting going early and fall behind a couple of scores, become impatient, suffer a crucial turnover, then run out of gas on a late comeback push. Bengals, 24, Chiefs 21

Dadio Makdook: Let’s stop with the nonsense that the Bengals can’t keep up with the Chiefs. Cincinnati topped topped 30 points in seven regular season games (including against Kansas City), but have yet to do so in the playoffs. That means a breakout game is coming. And while the defense isn’t air-tight, they come up with big plays when they’re most needed. Lou Anarumo’s unit will do just enough to allow Burrow and his pass catchers to mow down the Chiefs’ secondary. Cincinnati 37, Kansas City 28

Still need more predictions? Watch our preview with three former Chiefs, Eric Warfield, Jason Dunn, and Shaun Smith:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:

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What will be the outcome of the AFC Championship Game?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Chiefs win big
    (226 votes)
  • 17%
    Chiefs win a close one
    (201 votes)
  • 12%
    Bengals win big
    (147 votes)
  • 50%
    Bengals win a close one
    (580 votes)
1154 votes total Vote Now