The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the AFC Championship Game featuring the Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs.

CincinnatiRank@Kansas CityRank
-2Spread2
24.25Implied Total22.25
26.17Points/Gm29.11
19.45Points All./Gm21.615
65.48Plays/Gm64.513
62.410Opp. Plays/Gm64.121
5.414Off. Yards/Play6.41
5.416Def. Yards/Play5.19
38.29%26Rush%38.50%25
61.71%7Pass%61.50%8
41.01%9Opp. Rush %37.99%3
58.99%24Opp. Pass %62.01%30

Against the Spread

Chiefs: 6-11-1
Bengals: 13-5

Chiefs ATS at Home: 2-6-1
Bengals ATS Away: 8-2

Bengals ATS as Favorite: 11-3
Chiefs ATS as Underdog: 1-1

Game Overview

The AFC is running back the same matchup we had in this spot a year ago. This will be the fourth time these teams have played since last January. The Bengals have won the three previous meetings. But make no mistakes with the final results. These have been tight contests, with Cincinnati pulling out all three matchups by exactly three points. The Chiefs led in the second half of all three games and did not trail in any of them heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bengals have been able to do just a touch more defensively than the Chiefs in deciding these games head-to-head, but the Chiefs are still the offense that has given the Bengals the most trouble, like most of the league. Over the past two years, the Chiefs have averaged 2.82 points per drive against the Bengals, the most of any opponent versus Cincinnati. Kansas City has averaged 6.4 yards per play (third) while scoring a touchdown on 35.7% of their possessions (second).

In three games against the Chiefs, the Bengals have scored 3.26 points per drive (the most of any team playing multiple games against Kansas City) while scoring points on 63.0% of their drives (17-of-27).

Kansas City outscored the Bengals 59-41 in the first half of those games while averaging 7.7 yards per play on offense. In the second half of those games, the Bengals outscored the Chiefs 48-19, with the Chiefs averaging 5.0 yards per play. Their matchup this season in Week 13 was a reversal of the totals, with the Chiefs outscoring the Bengals 14-13 in the second half while averaging 7.3 yards per play after the break prior to averaging 5.7 yards per play heading into the second half. 

We are hoping to see Patrick Mahomes as close to 100% as possible, but there is a cloud of uncertainty there that is reflected in the betting market already. With Mahomes a full go, these teams have played three tight games and feature the two hottest teams in the AFC.

The Chiefs have won 11 of their past 12 games, with their lone loss coming against the Bengals. Cincinnati has won 11 games in a row heading into Sunday. 

Since Week 9, the Chiefs lead the NFL in yards per play (6.4) while the Bengals are 10th (5.5). Cincinnati is fifth in the league in points per drive over that span (2.49) while the Chiefs are sixth (2.48). 

While offensively these teams are tight, defensively the Bengals have the edge in most objective metrics. Cincinnati is allowing 1.74 points per drive (10th) while the Chiefs are allowing 2.01 (19th). There is not a wide gap here in yards allowed per play, but the Bengals have gained their largest edge in preventing touchdowns compared to Kansas City.

Teams have scored a touchdown on just 17.1% of their drives against the Bengals (fourth lowest rate) while opponents have reached the end zone on 23.2% of their drives against the Chiefs (seventh-highest rate). Opponents have turned just 49.1% of their red zone attempts into touchdowns against the Bengals (fifth-lowest rate) while the Chiefs have allowed a 67.2% red zone conversion rate into touchdowns (second highest). League average is 56.4%.

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