AFI’s Preview of the AFC Championship Game

For the second consecutive year, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals will meet in Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship game

Last season, the Bengals won the game as substantial underdogs and earned a surprising trip to the Super Bowl.  While they will be eager to make it back to the Super Bowl for a shot at winning their first in franchise history, the Chiefs are looking for revenge from last year’s defeat.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs, January 29

On Saturday, the top-seeded Chiefs punched their ticket to their fifth straight AFC Championship game with a gritty 27-20 over the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The hearts of Chiefs fans stopped in the second quarter when Patrick Mahomes left the game with an injury, but backup Chad Henne came into the game and filled in admirably, leading his team on a 98-yard touchdown drive.  After Kansas City took a 17-10 lead into halftime, Mahomes thankfully returned for the second half.  While the upstart Jaguars put up a fight, they were unable to overcome the odds and pull off the upset as the Chiefs came away with a 27-20 victory.

The next day, the Bengals traveled to snowy Buffalo for a matchup with the Bills.  Despite being underdogs, Cincinnati simply dominated Buffalo in all three facets of the game, preventing a Chiefs-Bills neutral site game this weekend.  After going up 14-0 in the first quarter, the Bengals never let the home team back into the game.  Quarterback Joe Burrow had an efficient day with 242 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns and running back Joe Mixon racked up over 100 yards on the ground.  The defense held Josh Allen and the touted Bills offense to just 10 points, their lowest total of the season.  The victory gave the Bengals an impressive fifth playoff win in the last two seasons.

As the two teams are set to meet on Sunday at 6:30 PM EST, we should be in store for a great game.  Notably, the Bengals have beaten the Chiefs three times in the last two seasons, including last season’s AFC Championship game and a 27-24 victory in week 13 of this season.  The story of this upcoming game has been well-documented, and most fans are familiar with the special talents of Mahomes and Burrow who lead their respective teams.  While Cincinnati has had Kansas City’s number, this will be the time where the Chiefs strike back.  With Mahomes surviving an injury scare, the Chiefs will be fired up in front of their home crowd and execute Andy Reid’s game plan as they finally conquer the Bengals in an exciting battle.

Prediction: Kansas City 31, Cincinnati 23

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.