Chiefs vs Bengals: Preview & prediction for 2023 AFC Championship Game

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With the AFC Championship Game set between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs for the second straight season, what should fans be thinking for their AFC Championship Game predictions in 2023?

It’s certainly an intriguing matchup, as the winner is more likely to end up being among the best Super Bowl losing teams ever than one of the worst Super Bowl winners. In other words, the winner is going to have a great chance to win it all.

AFC Championship Game predictions 2023

Market Odds Odds
Spread Bengals +1.5 (-114) Chiefs -1.5 (-106)
Total Over 47.5 (-118) Under 47.5 (-104)
Moneyline Bengals (-102) Chiefs (-116)
To Win Super Bowl Bengals (+260) Chiefs (+250)

All odds taken January 23 at FanDuel Sportsbook

With this game opening with the tightest of spreads, it’s not going to be easy making AFC Championship Game predictions in 2023.

Keep in mind these teams have a history with one another, as the Bengals won last year’s AFC Championship Game in Kansas City and held serve against the Chiefs earlier this season. With that in mind, let’s take a deep dive into our Bengals vs Chiefs picks and predictions for the AFC Championship Game.


Why the Bengals will win

While they were outclassing the Bills in a 27-10 win in the Divisional Round, the Bengals gave people a lot of reasons to think that they can end up winning the Super Bowl. It obviously starts with Joe Burrow, who delivered a masterclass in that game, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns on the road against the second-best defense in the NFL in less-than-ideal conditions.

Of course, Burrow’s job is a little easier with such an exceptional supporting cast. Ja’Marr Chase is surely one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL right now with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd also making up one of the best receiving trios in the league. Tight end Hayden Hurst is a serious threat, too.

However, it was actually the Cincinnati defense that made last week’s win so dominant. The Bengals dominated the game at the line of scrimmage throwing Josh Allen and the potent Buffalo offense off rhythm. Not everyone realizes that the Bengals allowed the sixth-fewest points in the NFL this season. They’ve been strong defensively all year and have allowed fewer than 20 points in five of their last six games, giving them a chance to beat anyone.

Why the Chiefs will win

Without question, Patrick Mahomes is the biggest reason why the Chiefs are poised to return to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years. Even after hurting his ankle last week, Mahomes was able to return and be a difference-maker against the Jaguars. The Kansas City offense has looked different this year without Tyreek Hill. But Mahomes has been no less brilliant all season, making them the obvious pick for league MVP.

Meanwhile, despite the numbers not always adding up, the Chiefs have a formidable defense. The likes of Chris Jones and Frank Clark are game-changers at the line of scrimmage and could wreak havoc against a Cincinnati offensive line that’s been hurt by injuries. If the Chiefs can exploit that weakness better than the Bills did last week, the Kansas City defense can pull its weight and open the door for Mahomes to work his magic.


The last meeting

The Bengals vs Chiefs head-to-head stats from their game in early December show the Bengals out-gaining the Chiefs by 82 yards and playing turnover-free football in a 27-24 win. Of course, the Bengals had home-field advantage in that game and had to overcome a deficit in the fourth quarter.

Both teams also ran the ball effectively in that game with the Chiefs averaging 5.5 yards per carry and the Bengals averaging 4.5 yards per carry. However, Burrow was the more effective quarterback, completing 25 of his 31 passes whereas Mahomes only completed 16 of his 27 passes while taking two sacks.

Prediction for AFC Championship game

Taking everything into account, our AFC Championship Game predictions in 2023 include the Bengals winning on the road. The Bengals have had Kansas City’s number in recent years, winning the last three head-to-head games between these teams, including last year’s AFC Championship Game.

Plus, the Chiefs have allowed at least 20 points against seven of the nine playoff teams they’ve faced this season. They don’t have a championship-caliber defense, making them vulnerable, especially with the injury to Mahomes. That will be enough for the Bengals to triumph at Arrowhead Stadium once again.

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