AFC Title Game -- Three Big Things to Watch With the Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs are Expected to Repeat in AFC Title Game
By Charles Jay
Can the Kansas City Chiefs actually make it three straight trips to the Super Bowl? That might be very much up in the air, but BetAnySports customers absolutely have to keep in mind that this is a team that seems to have found its footing late in the campaign.
Everybody knows how great Patrick Mahomes is, and what magic he can perform. We will elaborate on that even further, but there are some other things you must be aware of about the Chiefs as we approach the 3:05 p.m. Eastern time kickoff from Arrowhead Stadium as they face the Cincinnati Bengals. We're going to talk about some of those things, but first here are the numbers on this matchup, with the Chiefs solidly favored and a total that is pretty high, but perhaps justifiably so:
Kansas City Chiefs -7 (-115)
Cincinnati Bengals + 7 (-105)
Over 54.5 points -110
Under 54.5 points - 110
Don't forget that you can get reduced juice on this matchup, and that will bring you more value!
AFC Title Game -- Okay, a little more on Mahomes
If you want to compare Mahomes early and late, there is actually a world of difference between the two. It would seem obvious now that Mahomes was frustrated for almost the entire first half of the regular season, because he wasn't really able to force a lot of big plays downfield. That's because teams had set their defensive scheme to take that away as much as possible.
In the first eight games of the season, Mahomes threw ten interceptions, and he looked confused at times. At that point, the Chiefs did not look like a probable choice to go back to the Super Bowl.
Over these last eleven games, however, things have changed for him, as he's made his adjustments. With 26 touchdown passes and only four interceptions, he's about as hot as it gets right now. So that is certainly something to keep in mind when you look at his season-long stats. They are kind of deceptive.
And by the way, if you were wondering how Mahomes has done in home games during the playoffs, he's got a ratio of 23 touchdown passes to ONE interception.
AFC Title Game -- Quick starts, but a soft front
A lot of teams script their first 15 plays, and whether the Chiefs are going to do that or not here, they happen to produce more explosive plays in their first 15 snaps of a ball game than any other team in the league. And this truly means something, because if they can get out in front early, they might be able to change the script a little in their favor.
Kansas City has averaged 7.2 points per game in the first quarter, and that ties them for the best figure in the league. Meanwhile, in the metric of DVOA, which is more or less an overall efficiency measure, Cincinnati ranks 29th in the league offensively in first-quarter play. So w2hen you thyink about it, there is the potential for the Chiefs to make the Bengals chase them (pardon the pun, Ja'Marr).
But if they can't do that, the Bengals, who on average take up more time between snaps than all but two NFL squads, have a chance to control the ball and control the clock. That's because Kansas City's defense has allowed 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, which is 30th among the 32 NFL teams.
AFC Title Game -- Will the Chiefs running game make a difference? And could Williams make a difference in the running game?
Well, in the backfield there is a dynamic quality, in the respect that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is now joined by Jerick McKinnon, and both of those guys can catch passes.
So can Darrel Williams, and with him there's a better chance for KC to get a real workhorse effort running the football. Williams has 1005 yards rushing on the season, and that included 88 against Cincinnati in the first meeting back on January 2nd, where the Chiefs lost by three points. In that game, Kansas City had 155 rushing yards, and last week against Buffalo they had 182. So they can support Mahomes with that kind of thing.
The problem with Williams is that he is suffering from a toe injury, and although he has practiced a couple of times this past week, he's been limited. That's one thing you are going to have to keep your eye on.
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