Now that the lineup for the penultimate round of the NFL playoffs is set, we look specifically at the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs. How do the NFL odds stack up at early doors and where is the value for NFL picks to be had?
Find out as we preview the matchup and serve up our discerning thoughts.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, January 30, 2022 – 03:00 PM EST at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium
Cincinnati Bengals Upset Tennessee Titans
The Cincinnati Bengals kicked off the Division Round with an upset of the Tennessee Titans, setting the wheels in motion for a string of upsets in the second round of the NFL playoffs before the Kansas City Chiefs righted the ship and recorded the first and only victory for the favorites on Sunday night.
The Bengals beat the Titans 19-16, thanks to a last-gasp field goal that cut through the posts and the hearts of Tennessee’s faithful. In winning, the Bengals earned their spot in the AFC Championship game for the first time since 1988.
The Bengals traveled to Nashville as firm road favorites, closing on +4 with multiple top-rated sportsbooks at kick-off. Few gave the upstarts a chance against the top-seeded Titans, especially as word of Derrick Henry’s much-anticipated return to Tennessee’s line-up spread in the lead-up to their showdown on Saturday.
Joe Burrow and the Bengals got off to a slow start, and not until the third quarter did the sophomore quarterback finally complete a touchdown drive. Before that, the Bengals settled on three field goals. Burrow finished with 28 of 37 passing for 348 yards and zero touchdowns with one interception.
That the Titans struggled on the offensive side of the ball helped the Bengals keep this game close. The Titans trailed 6-9 at the half and then 16-6 early in the third quarter. Burrow’s third-quarter interception set up the Titans with a short field and they quickly capitalized on it to tie the game. In the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, Tannehill’s pass was intercepted. With Cincinnati getting the ball back in the final seconds of the game, Burrow marched the Bengals with a few quick plays to set up Ewan McPherson with a 52-yard field goal.
Kansas City Chiefs Outlast Buffalo Bills
Arguably, the best game of the Division Round, the season, and, even, the century concluded Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Buffalo Bills 42-36 in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium.
The much-anticipated AFC Division Round showdown was billed as the week’s marquee billing between two of the game’s best young quarterbacks, and the pair didn’t disappoint. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes went toe-to-toe in a high-octane, offensive thriller that was absolutely breath-taking as it went the distance. No hyperbole can describe the play of Allen and Mahomes that had fans the nation-over sitting on the edge of their seats. It’s games like these where the cruelty of defeat is exposed in its full viciousness.
Against anybody else, the Buffalo Bills would have probably won. But not against Mahomes and the Chiefs, who have only known great success in the playoffs since Mahomes took over as the offensive pivot. Down 36-33, and with just 12 seconds left on the clock to tie a game that for all intents and purposes looked to be in Buffalo’s bag, Mahomes pulled off the single-most spectacular drive to tie the game.
Allen and Mahomes traded a series of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, before Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field to set up a game-tying field goal. Then, Kansas City won the coin toss, and that was all the impetus the hosts needed to drive the final nail in the coffin. Mahomes finished with 33 of 44 passing for 378 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.
NFL Predictions and Picks
The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs 34-31 in Week 16. The loss cost the Chiefs a crack at the top seed in the playoffs, although with the benefit of hindsight, it doesn’t seem to have caused them any headaches.
The Chiefs advance into their fourth-straight AFC Championship game with an incentivizing victory over, arguably, their biggest rivals in the playoffs. Facing the Bengals now might seem like a cakewalk, even though the Bengals own the recent victory.
Books have opened this game with the Chiefs as the 7.5 point home favorites, but the line quickly dropped down to 7 points as early bettors are jumping on the Bengals’ bandwagon.
The Cincy cats are proving to be legitimate contenders. Burrow said it himself when he pronounced his frustration with the underdog narrative. We’re a really good team, and we’re here to make noise. Teams will have to pay attention to us,” said Burrow in his post-game interview.
Nevertheless, after what the Chiefs did last Sunday against the Bills, it will take a brave bettor to bet against them next Sunday. Heck, it will take something special from Burrow and the Bengals to clinch the win. As great as their win over the Titans was, it wasn’t exactly the most convincing of their performances this season.
NFL Pick: Chiefs -7 (-110) with DraftKings