Although they could be on theBengals quarterback Joe Burrow feels the Chiefs are still the measuring stick as far as AFC teams are concerned.
Cincinnati, the defending AFC champion, is one win away from successfully defending its title. To do that, he’ll have to beat a Kansas City team as they try to reclaim their position as the AFC’s undisputed king of the hill, a title Burrow doesn’t think the Chiefs have relinquished just yet.
“They are still the team to beat, and we are coming for them,” Burrow told the media on Wednesday.
There are tangible reasons behind the Bengals being favored this time around. For one, they have beaten the Chiefs three times in the last two years, including last year’s thrilling AFC title game. Cincinnati overcame a 21-3 deficit and won the game in overtime after Bengals safety Vonn Bell picked off Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to set up Evan McPherson’s game-winning field goal in Kansas City.
Cincinnati then recorded a 27-24 win over Kansas City in Week 13 after scoring the final 10 points of the game. Quarterback Germaine Pratt pressured Travis Kelce early in the fourth quarter on Burrow’s game-winning touchdown pass to Chris Evans.
Like Burrow, Mahomes has publicly praised his team’s new rival. After their most recent game, Mahomes was asked about his team’s struggles against Cincinnati.
“First of all, they have a great quarterback, and a guy who has won a lot of football games, even if that was in college, and now he’s won a lot of football games in the NFL,” Mahomes said. “He is someone who competes to the end, too. They are playmakers around there, they are well trained, there is a good defense. At the end of the day, they are going to die at a higher level in critical situations.”
Featured Game | Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals
As Mahomes mentioned, Burrow is at his best in games against the Chiefs. In his first three games against them, Burrow completed 72% of his passes with eight touchdowns against one interception.
Speaking of quarterbacks, the high ankle sprain that Mahomes suffered during Saturday’s divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars is certainly another reason why the Bengals are favored. Mahomes, who was injured during the first half, left the game briefly before finishing with 195 passing yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-30 passing.
Given their previous three games, Sunday’s game is likely to be another close matchup between the AFC’s top two teams. Each of their previous three matchups had three-point results, with the Bengals coming out on top in each game. Burrow expects the Attorney General to introduce new wrinkles in an attempt to disrupt his timing. However, he is confident that his coaching staff will prepare him for whatever Kansas City throws at him.
“They do an incredible job during the week and then on game day to make adjustments on how best to attack,” Burrow said of his coaches. “We have great football minds up there who know football, know game plans and know defenses.”