Chiefs vs. How to watch Bengals: Time, Watch on CBS, Stream on Paramount+, 2023 AFC Championship Game

Chiefs vs. How to watch Bengals: Time, Watch on CBS, Stream on Paramount+, 2023 AFC Championship Game

Let’s not waste time with a long preamble: It’s Championship Sunday in the NFL. In the AFC Championship, the first seed and the champion of the AFC West Kansas City Chiefs It will host the No. 3 seed and defending AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals.

These two teams met earlier in the season, including in last year’s conference championship game. Cincinnati won both of those contests, but the Chiefs are once again operating with home field advantage. Before we break down the game, here’s how you can watch the game.

How to see

Date: January 29, Sunday | Hour: 18:30 ET
Place: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)
Television: CBS | Current: Paramount+ (click here)
Odds: Leaders -1.5, O/U 48

Remarkable game | Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals

When the Bengals have the ball

Big story last week against the Bengals Buffalo Bills was the offensive line. How would the front team do? Joe Burrow hold up and down the three headlines, and count with the likes Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adenijiand Max Scharping? As it turned out, it held up well.

Burrow was only pressured on 31.6% of his dropbacks, according to Tru Media, a well below average rate. Bengals ball carriers averaged a whopping 1.94 yards per carry before contact, a significant improvement over their 1.26 yards per carry during the regular season. Other than the Buffalo defensive line no master the game; prevailed to a great extent. Cincinnati controlled the jump streak.

Now, the question is whether the offensive line can do it again. The Chiefs pressured opposing quarterbacks more (35.7%) than the Bills (33.7%) during the regular season. And seeing as he was without Buffalo by Miller last week, leaders also have a higher level of individual threat (Chris Jones) than the Bill that was put on the table a week ago. There is good news and bad news for the Bengals on that front. The two remaining starters on the offensive line are good (Ted Karras and Cordell Volson) both play infield, where Jones does his work. The downside is that Scharping also plays on the interior, and the Chiefs can line Jones up to create advantageous matchups.

The real way the Bengals neutralize the rush, however, is through Burrow. Against Buffalo, Burrow averaged 2.57 seconds to field the ball, according to Tru Media, a figure that averages 2.55 seconds on the season. only Tom Brady (2.33 seconds) has taken the ball away faster this season, and only Brady has taken a higher portion of his snaps (55.3%) within 2.5 seconds of the snap than Burrows (55.0%). Burrow’s superpower is his ability to quickly decide where to go with the ball and get it out of his hands when the situation calls for it, but he also has the playmaking ability that other superstar quarterbacks in the league bring to the table. .

It helps that he has arguably the best lineup of weapons in the league — or at least in his conference — to choose from. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins Give him two No. 1 alpha receivers, each of whom can make contested grabs and generate yards after the catch. Chase is nearly impossible to bring down with the first tackler, and the Bengals take advantage of that by putting the ball on screens and crosses to attack defenders with a head of steam. In the first matchup between these two teams, the Chiefs too often left their inexperienced corners on an island with Chase or Higgins on the outside, and Burrow made them pay time and time again. Steve Spagnuolo must come up with a different plan of attack this time.

It will be interesting to see if the leaders slip L’Jarius Sneed back out and back in Trent McDuffie into the slot after switching those positions back last week Jaguars. He was the main receiving threat in Jacksonville Christian Kirk, so the Chiefs moved Sneed back into the slot. Cincinnati’s main threats remain Chase and Higgins, no Tyler Boyd, so Sneed might move back to the perimeter and allow McDuffie to try to play physical against Boyd. Spagnuolo should still be wary of giving it to Sneed and Jaylen Watson the right support, though, or Burrow will work the one-on-ones aggressively and trust his guys to win the ball in the air. Being able to send enough bodies after the Burrow to build pressure, while having enough cover to keep them from burning outside will be a difficult balance.

The Bengals got a lot better running the ball after moving away from how they wanted to run the ball earlier in the season. It was an out-of-town group in the beginning, and it was very vanilla. Earlier this year they switched almost exclusively to a shotgun offense, which allowed them to gain a little more surprise in the rushing attack. Kansas City finished a respectable 15th in defensive DVOA this season, according to Football Outsiders , so this isn’t one of those units where you can run the ball down their throats if you want to, as has happened occasionally in recent seasons. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perineo they certainly have a role to play here, but the Bengals do what they do best: let Burrow control the game by playing point guard out of the pocket.

When the leaders have the ball

Well, it all comes down to one question: is it Patrick Mahomes Healthy enough to play like Patrick Mahomes? I honestly have no idea, and I think anyone who tells you they know with any degree of certainty (except the senior team doctor) is lying.

So let’s try to figure out what we know:

  • We know Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will once again have a tailor-made plan to deal with Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
  • We know the game plan will probably be a little different than what we saw in Week 13, which was a little different than what we saw in last year’s AFC title game.
  • We know that Kansas City’s passing game is passing Travis Kelceand the Bengals will probably try to get rid of it using it Tre Flowers to get physical with him near the line of scrimmage and sending other coverage defenders further down the field.
  • We know the Chiefs retooled their offense last season to combat the type of defense the Bengals and other teams used against them last year, getting players to fit into specific roles to run their rushing game, running back game and running game. another level
  • We know that all of those moves largely worked with Mahomes leading the way NFL per dropback in EPA, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon giving them the most versatile backfield in years, and the Chiefs have had arguably their best offensive season since Mahomes won his (first) MVP award in 2018.
  • We know that the Bengalis know all these things, and the leaders know that they know, and the Bengalis know that the leaders know and so on.

If Mahomes is healthy, he should be reliable to light things up. Even in a loss to Cincinnati earlier this season, Mahomes completed 16 of 27 passes for 223 yards (8.2 per attempt) and a touchdown, adding a score on the ground. If it weren’t for Kelce, we might be talking about that game differently. It’s not like Mahomes was completely shut down, after all. Kansas City scored on four of its first six drives, and one of those drives was running out the clock in the first half with two runs deep in its own territory. So with five possessions, they totaled 24 points. Then Kelce fumbled, Cincy scored, Harrison Butker He missed the game-tying goal, and that’s the rest The mayor of Cincinnati says Burrow is Mahomes’ father, or something. (If anything, Anarumo is Mahomes’ father, but I digress.)

In that game, however, the Bengals found Mahomes incredibly patient. He averaged 3.36 seconds to pass the ball, the seventh-longest passing time of his 91-game career. (He lost two of the six games longer last year to Cincinnati in the AFC title game, and Super Bowl has a loss the buccaneers the year before.) Part of the reason he was able to succeed anyway was that he could maneuver in the pocket with his mobility, and he used that mobility to create big plays down the field. The rushing plays that the Chiefs have tried to add back to the offense this offseason were not available.

Whether he’s available this week will depend on whether Anarumo decides that Mahomes’ injury means he needs to send pressure and try to move, or that he doesn’t need to send pressure because Mahomes can’t move. If Cincy sends pressure, Mahomes can take the defense out of the pocket, just like he did last week against the Jaguars. The Bengals have rarely blitzed the Chiefs these past two games, and they’re not a blitz-heavy team anyway. It seems unlikely that Anarumo would suddenly flip on that. But if the Bengals don’t send in any additional bodies, it’s likely the Chiefs will hold the wall they’ve built in front of Mahomes over the past two years and give him time to find the free agent on the field.

I would expect Kansas City to be in the shotgun more often so that Mahomes doesn’t have to move too much to facilitate the run game or get into play-action pass concepts, which means he should have a heavier game. For McKinnon rather than Pacheco. McKinnon is a pass protector and has a little more big-play juice because of his quickness, but Pacheco has the ability to get downhill and punish the Bengals for playing clear frames. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Chiefs try to get the run game going early so the Bengals need to step up and get more shots down the field.

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