Bengals at Chiefs predictions: Writers’ picks for AFC Championship Game

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 21: Carlos Dunlap #8 of the Kansas City Chiefs gets set against the Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 21: Carlos Dunlap #8 of the Kansas City Chiefs gets set against the Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The winner will be able to walk away as the undisputed king of the AFC and will play in the Super Bowl LVII on February 12th.

The Kansas City Chiefs once again host the AFC Championship Game, this time around hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in a rematch of last year’s AFCCG. The winner will be able to walk away as the undisputed king of the AFC and will play in the Super Bowl LVII on February 12th in Glendale, Arizona.

Here is a glance at the Arrowhead Addict staff predictions for Sunday’s big game:

Patrick Allen (14-4)
My head is telling me to pick the Bengals but my heart won’t allow it. You all know the background so I won’t rehash it here. For me, this game will be decided not by Patrick Mahomes but by the game plan Steve Spagnuolo puts together on defense. Look for the Kansas City D to slow down the Bengals just enough to keep it close as Isiah Pacheco has the best game of his young career, leading the Chiefs to victory. This year, the Super Bowl will be renamed the Kelce Bowl. It will be Chiefs vs. Eagles in Glendale but first, it will be…
Chiefs 30, Bengals 28

Matt Conner (14-4)
The Chiefs have controlled every game in the last year with Cincinnati only to relinquish it at the 11th hour, but this team has been focused on this very moment since last winter. Chris Jones and Carlos Dunlap will come up big to seal the deal on a Chiefs victory to shed the monkey and make their third Super Bowl in the last four seasons.
Chiefs 28, Bengals 24

Anthony Hatton (13-4)
Since Isiah Pacheco took over as the starting running back, Kansas City has had more trust in running the ball than last season. As they have in the past 3 games, Cincinnati will heavily focus on slowing down Patrick Mahomes. Chief’s running backs have averaged 6.0 yards per carry against them. I believe Andy Reid knows this and will try to keep Patrick Mahomes’ ankle from being exposed. The difference here is going to be Pacheco and McKinnon in a nail-biter.
Chiefs 28, Bengals 27

Scott Loring (12-6)
26-6. That’s the aggregate score in the fourth quarters of the Chiefs’ three losses to Joe Burrow’s Bengals. The Chiefs have to change that. The Bengals have not led at the end of the 3rd quarter in any of those games (Chiefs led at the end of the 3rd in two of the games, and the teams were tied in the other match). The defense will be up to the task of bringing the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl behind the pass rush of Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap, George Karlaftis, and Mike Danna. Kicker Harrison Butker wins this one at zeroes, and the Chiefs are undefeated at “Burrowhead”.
Chiefs 23, Bengals 20

Ellen Mathis (16-2)
This is it. This is the chance for the Chiefs to show who they are and to defend their turf. To me, Patrick’s ankle actually helps this team. Patrick is forced to slow down and not make Superman moves that can lead to costly turnovers. The offensive line raises its game to another level and Reid and Bieniemy get creative with tight end sets and Pacheco runs. Not only that, but the Chiefs’ defense steps up. This ends up being a close game that ends with red and yellow confetti littering the field after a Nick Bolton interception seals the win.
Chiefs 27, Bengals 20

Jacob Milham (15-3)
Well, the revenge game (part 3?) is upon us. The national media has hyped this game to extraordinary levels, and justifiably so. A game with a Super Bowl appearance on the line once again comes to Arrowhead, or Burrowhead as Bengals fans call it. This game, like the previous three meetings, will be won in the margins. The margin I am watching is tackling. The Chiefs had notable tackling issues earlier this season, but have turned it around lately. The team’s third-worst tackling performance came against the Bengals in Week 13, according to PFF. Will the Chiefs take the bulletin board material and wrap up, bringing down Burrow and Mixon? I think they can, but even that will only give Kansas City a slight edge at home. This will likely be a nail-biter, no matter the victor.
Chiefs 27, Bengals 26

Greg Morse (10-3)
I want to believe, but I have my doubts. I had my doubts before Patrick hurt his ankle. I’ve never really believed that the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl this year. There are just too many other good teams, including the Bengals. So I’m setting the bar low right now so that when the season ends on Sunday night I won’t be too disappointed…Ahh who am I kidding, this team finally puts down the Bengals and reclaims the Lamar Hunt Trophy.
Chiefs 31 Bengals 20

Charles Robinson (16-2)
Burrowhead Stadium. Eli Apple’s victory cigar after a divisional round. The ”Legacy” debate. Enough with the storylines. Cincinnati has made this more than personal for the Chiefs, even without considering the three-game losing streak. It’s payback time for Mahomes and company. The Chiefs reclaim Lamar’s trophy in Lamar’s house.
Chiefs 33, Bengals 20

Stacy Smith (5-1)
The Kansas City Chiefs are in a familiar position with the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals headed back to Arrowhead for a rematch of last year’s title game. Patrick Mahomes won’t be as deadly with the off-schedule plays, but he’ll play from the pocket and still deliver a three-touchdown day. Isiah Pacheco gets a significant load and leads all rushers. The Chiefs’ defense plays its best game of the season harassing Joe Burrow all day. Chiefs earn another trip to the Super Bowl and win.
Chiefs 31, Bengals 27

Lucas Strozinsky (15-3)
At the very last minute before Week 13, I changed my pick from the Bengals to the Chiefs, and I obviously lived to regret that decision. Until the Chiefs actually beat Cincinnati, I’m not predicting it. If they do win, it will likely be because Chris Jones and Co. went off rushing Joe Burrow. I’m not super nervous about the offense, though the margin for error is a lot smaller due to Mahomes’ injury.
Bengals 30, Chiefs 27

Grant Tuttle (15-2)
Oh man, this game has all the makings of a historic, “Patrick Mahomes is the new GOAT” kind of game. It would be both incredible and somehow unsurprising if Mahomes went into this game on a bad ankle and lit up the Bengals en route to his third Super Bowl appearance. It is unfathomable to me that the Bengals could get Mahomes and Reid four times in a row, especially if the Chiefs play their A game. I look for Mahomes to have a big game as Andy Reid draws up a quarterback-friendly game plan for Sunday Night Football. Remember when Alex Smith won a bunch of games in what Jack Del Rio called a “Gimmicky” offense? Expect all the gimmicky that Andy Reid has in his bag to come out and for the Chiefs to smoke the Bengals in a wild one.
Chiefs 31, Bengals 17

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