Chiefs v. Bengals picks: AA writers predict tight AFC showdown

Burrowhead, my a**.

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The Kansas City Chiefs still have a hold on the AFC West, but the visiting Cincinnati Bengals are looking to delay a divisional-clinching win. This rivalry is a whimper of what it was a season ago, with the Chiefs struggling and the Bengals without franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. Still, this is Kansas City's final regular season game in Arrowhead Stadium against an AFC North opponent no one tailgating will like.

Following some promising injury updates for the Chiefs, the same cannot be said about their foes. How will health affect the game's outcome? Will the Chiefs finally turn an offensive corner, or will they record their fifth loss in six games? Our writers have their picks and predictions for this week's matchup.

Tyler Brown
The Bengals allow the second most yards per game in the league, including being in the bottom 10 against both the run and the pass. So, if the Chiefs are going to get right and correct their mishaps from last week, Sunday is a great opportunity. If they can get back to what they did against the Patriots, and find a way to neutralize Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson, they should be able to move the ball. This game will come down to limiting turnovers and executing in the red zone. I got the Chiefs winning the division and clinching the three-seed.
Chiefs 23, Bengals 17

Price Carter
There’s no game I feel comfortable picking the Chiefs to win at this point. The Bengals should motivate the Chiefs enough to come out fired up. However, the Bengals defense has proven tricky for the Chiefs in the past and that was without their current struggles. I feel like this game will come down to who wins the turnover battle and if the Chiefs' defense can shut down the running game of Cincinnati. Purely off of vibes and rivalry, I’ll take the Chiefs to win purely off of vibes and rivalry.
Chiefs 21, Bengals 17

Matt Conner
I think the Chiefs will get out of the woods. I even think they're destined for another postseason run. I'm just not sure that everything is going to click this week against a team more desperate than they. The truth is that the Chiefs could lock up all they need in Week 18, and the way Lou Anurumo's defense play the Chiefs, it's hard to imagine these receivers looking any more effective than they did a week ago. I've stopped betting on the Chiefs to maintain any margin a few weeks ago. They'll rev the motor next week but for now...
Bengals 20, Chiefs 18

Greg Florkowski
This week, the Bengals come to town in a New Year's Eve clash. In the past, the Bengals have given the Chiefs fits, and combined with the Chiefs' offensive woes, this game is anyone's guess. This game is now or never for the Patrick Mahomes offense, and I am putting my money on a big game from the reigning league MVP. The Chiefs come away with a big win against the Jake Browning-led Bengals. Chiefs 35, Bengals 21

Anthony Hatton
This Chiefs team has an identity. Play great defense and survive on offense. The Bengals and Chiefs are both playing for their season in this Week 17 “rivalry” game. Flipping a coin seems like the best option. Since Kansas City is the home team, I’ll bet on Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes to show up alongside their defense.
Chiefs 20, Bengals 17

Jacob Milham
Like Price, this should be a game I am comfortable picking for Kansas City but they have lost the benefit of the doubt this season. The offense has the sixth-most turnovers heading into this week and remains firmly negative in the turnover differential. The Pittsburgh Steelers showed last week that the Bengals defense is hapless without turnovers in a 34-11 loss. That comes from a growing trend of Cincinnati's defense posting a negative EPA in seven of their last eight games. Hopefully, Kansas City cannot shoot themselves in the foot again, in front of the home crowd no less.
Chiefs 26, Bengals 21

Gregory Morse
The Chiefs have two tries to win the division. Is anyone feeling confident they don’t blow both of them? I’ll take the Chiefs because they should win. But my confidence level is at a 2. I do think the Chiefs defense will make Jake Browning wish he had worn his brown pants, so that’ll be fun to watch.
Chiefs 20, Bengals 14

Charles Robinson
It's New Year's Eve, it's Chiefs vs Bengals. It doesn't get a lot bigger than this in the regular season. The Chiefs will come out with a point to prove this week against a stout Cincinnati roster missing their franchise quarterback, and they'll do it in a big way. Travis Kelce's redemption arc begins now and will have people talking about Taylor Swift as a good luck charm again rather than a curse. The Chiefs will run the ball down Cincinnati's throat early and often with D.J. Reader out for the year, and in the process will clinch the AFC West for the 8th year in a row.
Chiefs 33, Bengals 21

Stacy Smith
The Chiefs are in unfamiliar territory as the regular season draws to a close. Following Monday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs still have work to do to secure the division title. The team plays host to bitter rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Sunday afternoon. Offensively, the Chiefs are a mess and the injury report is longer than their laundry list of problems as a team. Though, if there was ever a time to snap out of their funk, it might be in this Week 17 matchup. The Bengals have become quite a thorn in the side of the Chiefs and Cincy receiver Ja'Marr Chase has used this week to provide Kansas City with some bulletin board material. With so many key names injured, expect a nailbiter. Chiefs withstand the Bengals though and get a win to secure the AFC West.
Chiefs 20, Bengals 14

Lucas Strozinsky
At no point in the Patrick Mahomes era have expectations been lower for the Chiefs than right now. With how poorly their offense has been performing, plus the nonstop turnovers on top of that, they're capable of losing to anyone, including Jake Browning. Kansas City should win this game going away but I'm not going to predict it.
Bengals 19, Chiefs 16

Grant Tuttle
At this point, expecting the Chiefs to score more than 21 points is a hope and a prayer. The only reason I am expecting it this week is because of how good Cincinnati’s defense made Pittsburgh’s offense look last week. Give me the Chiefs in a frustratingly close one.
Chiefs 23, Bengals 20