AFC-NFC CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS

AFC: Cincinnati @ Kansas City
Like the NFC title game that will be played after it, the AFC championship features two teams that played each other earlier in the season. It wasn’t that long ago either. Cincinnati hosted Kansas City in Week 17 of the regular season in a game that was the tale of two halves.

In the first half, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and RB Darrel Williams ran for two more and Kansas City led 28-14 at halftime. After the break, the Bengals defense held Kansas City to just three second half points. The offense, led by QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase, rallied and Burrow led a game-winning drive capped by an Evan McPherson field goal. Chase would finish the game with 11 catches, 266 yards, and three touchdowns. The Bengals won 34-31 on the game’s final play.

Last week, Cincy upset AFC top-seeded Tennessee 19-16 also on a final-play, walk off McPherson field goal. The Bengals defense came up big with three interceptions of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, which was what kept Cincinnati in the game. The Titans sacked Burrow nine times. Interestingly, when the Bengals and Chiefs played in Week 17, Kansas City sacked Burrow four times.

The Chiefs have their own issues, namely, pass defense. In the first game against Cincy, they surrendered the 266 yards to Chase and last week in their dramatic win over Buffalo the Chiefs allowed Bills QB Josh Allen to throw two touchdown passes in the final two minutes of regulation play. Kansas City and Mahomes had to win the game in overtime.

Both teams have been good against the number recently. Cincy is 6-0 ATS in its last six games and the Chiefs are 8-2 ATS in their last ten. What is interesting is that in conference championship games with a favorite of greater than a field goal, the favorite is 15-8 ATS since 2004. In such games where the two teams played each other previously that season, the favorite is 6-2 ATS. Take the Chiefs at home… KANSAS CITY 33, CINCINNATI 24

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