The 9-2 Chiefs travel to Cincinnati to face the 7-4 Bengals at 4:25 EST on Sunday.
Both NFL teams are coming off victories last week, with Kansas City defeating the L.A. Rams 26-10 and Cincinnati knocking off Tenessee 20-16. Kansas City is in its usual hunt for the top seed in the AFC, while Cincinnati is trying to foster its winning culture after narrowly missing a Super Bowl championship last season.
This will be the first and only meeting between the two AFC powerhouses this year. The Chiefs are two-and-a-half point favorites, with the total point line set at 52.5.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs’ season began uncharacteristically, starting out 4-2 with losses to lowly Indianapolis and fellow AFC juggernaut Buffalo. They’ve since won five straight, once again displaying why they are among the top teams in the AFC, if not the NFL as a whole. QB Patrick Mahomes has been up to his usual breakneck pace, with 29 passing TDs on the season to date.
One of his favorite targets, Travis Kelce, has 12 of those receiving tuddys. Kansas City boasts the best overall scoring offense in the league, averaging 29.6 points per game.
Their defense, however, is middle of the road at 16th, allowing on average 22.1 points. If there is one weakness in this Chiefs squad, it’s that in order for them to win, their offense has to work.
This hasn’t been a problem thus far, but as the old adage goes, “defense wins championships,” and right now, the defense in Kansas City has fallen far behind the level of their high-powered offense.
This Bengal team, led by rising star QB Joe Burrow, could very well be 9-2 themselves. In Week 1, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in OT by a field goal, then in Week 2, they lost to Dallas, again by three points.
They also lost a close game to Baltimore by a strange final score of 19-17. Their offense has been firing on all cylinders, putting up 400+ total yards on a semi-regular basis, including a 537-yard performance in a 35-17 rout of the Atlanta Falcons.
Their defense has been statistically better than that of the Chiefs, ranked 13th in the NFL allowing on average 21 points per contest. Joe Burrow has carried a 68% completion percentage, topping Mahomes, who currently sits at 66.1. If there’s any reason to think that Cincy will upset Kansas City, it’s because of their offense.
Pick and Prediction
There is no doubt that since the very beginning of the season, Kansas City has been lights-out, especially on offense. However, defense is their weak link, and the Bengals can put up big numbers.
If you’re feeling a little riskier, I’d take the Bengals moneyline at +112. They definitely have the offensive capacity to keep up with Mahomes’ offense.
The safe bet is the over on total points at 52.5. This is going to be a high-scoring slugfest that should be entertaining to watch.