The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot to celebrate after their stunning last-second win over the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round. They are in their fourth straight AFC Championship Game and have a chance to go to their third straight Super Bowl.
Additionally, they are favorites at home at WynnBET against the Cincinnati Bengals, considered the weakest of the four teams left in the playoffs.
While that is all well and good, the Chiefs could have one major issue come kickoff. Kansas City’s star safety Tyrann Mathieu was placed on concussion protocol after getting knocked out on the first drive of the Chiefs win over the Bills.
He was a victim of a friendly knee to the face and is in real danger of missing the AFC title game.
This could be a huge problem for the Chiefs for a number of reasons. First off, Mathieu is their best player in the secondary, and KC doesn’t have much to rely on behind him.
Daniel Sorensen filled in for the injured starter against the Bills and was probably a big reason why Buffalo shredded this secondary. Sorensen was on the wrong side of a number of big plays and is not somebody to trust against strong passing attacks.
That leads me to the second, and more important reason that Mathieu’s injury is a nightmare scenario for KC. The Bengals have one of the scariest passing attacks in the NFL and, I believe, the best to remain in the playoffs.
Starting at the top, Joe Burrow continues to play like a stone-cold killer in “must-win games.” Dating back to his days in college, Burrow has never lost such a game and is 8-0 after the Bengals' second playoff win in the last three decades.
A quarterback is nothing without a strong stable of receivers and Burrow has that and some. Between possible Rookie of the Year winner Ja’Marr Chase, sophomore wide receiver Tee Higgins and veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah, this team is full of hot hands.
During the regular season, of the five games featuring the most receiving yards by one player, the Bengals are represented in three of them.
Chase holds the first and third spot with a 266 yard and 201 yard game under his belt.
Higgins sits in the No. 5 spot with a 194 yard game against the Ravens. What makes this stat even more interesting is that Chase’s 266-yard game came four weeks ago against the Chiefs.
Chase was 11-for-12 for 266 yards and three touchdowns against KC. It was the best game of his career and would be the best game in most players' careers. Higgins had 62 yards in that game. A game that Mathieu played in and failed to contain Chase.
So, why would I think that Mathieu’s backup, who got smoked last week by the Bills, will fare any better against Chase and Higgins? I wouldn’t and therefore am considering another bet on the Bengals as underdogs to keep the party going.
Honestly, the Bengals to go all the way is +750 at WynnBET, I am considering sprinkling some on Cincy with the momentum it has right now.