The Kansas City Chiefs are the first team since the 1990 Buffalo Bills to score 40+ points in each of back-to-back games during a single postseason. They’re also headed to the AFC Championship Game, where they will meet the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday for a trip to Super Bowl 56. The Chiefs are the first team in league history to host four straight AFC title games and opened as 7-point favorites against Cincinnati. Let’s take a look at the following analysis for your NFL odds.
AFC Championship Bengals vs Chiefs
Kansas City won one of the most wild, entertaining games in NFL history on Sunday night 42-36 over Buffalo. With 0:13 left and up 36-33, the Bills had a 91% chance to win according to ESPN’s win probability. The game featured 974 yards of total offense, just four penalties, zero turnovers and numerous lead changes in a matchup between two quarterbacks playing at a historic level in Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
Four lead changes took place in the final two minutes of regulation, setting the stage for an overtime period that ended with an 8-yard strike from Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce. It was the first playoff game in NFL history with 3 go-ahead touchdowns scored in the final 2 minutes of regulation. The 25 combined points were the 2nd-most in the last 2 minutes of regulation of any game (regular season or postseason) in the Super Bowl era.
Mahomes completed 33-of-44 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Late in the fourth quarter, Mahomes had 190 passing yards and one touchdown overall. Mahomes tossed a 64-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill with 1:02 left to put the Chiefs up 33-29. The Bills then scored with 13 seconds left. Mahomes hit Hill and Travis Kelce with big gains to put Harrison Butker in range for a game-tying 49-yard field goal. Mahomes then marched the Chiefs right down the field on the opening possession of overtime, hitting Kelce for a game-winning eight-yard touchdown.
Mahomes’ other passing score was a two-yarder to Byron Pringle early. He also ran one in from eight yards out in the first quarter, combining for a career-best 7-69-1 rushing line. Mahomes now has 25 career passing TDs in the playoffs, the most by any QB through 10 career playoff starts.
Kelce finished the game with eight catches for 96 yards, and while he fell just shy of the 100-yard mark, it’s still worth putting his performance into context. No player in NFL postseason history has more games with 95+ receiving yards than Kelce (8), as he matched Jerry Rice and Julian Edelman on that list with Sunday’s game. Hill had 11 catches for 150 yards and that electrifying 64-yard TD. Hill gained 95 of his 150 receiving yards after the catch. He has gained +112 YAC over expected in the playoffs since 2018, 61 more than any other player during that time period.
On Saturday, the Bengals upset the AFC top-seeded Titans in Nashville, 19-16. Rookie Evan McPherson hit the winning 52-yard kick as time expired. In each of his two postseason games he has hit four field goals, which is the team postseason record. He’s already got 27 playoff points, jetting past Ickey Woods’ 24 and into second place behind Jim Breech’s 52. McPherson hasn’t changed a thing with holder Kevin Huber since he missed two winners against the Packers back in October.
Joe Burrow completed 28-of-37 passes for 348 yards and one interception. Tennessee’s defense was relentless Saturday night, hounding Burrow for an NFL postseason record-tying nine sacks. Even so, Cincinnati’s defense countered with three turnovers of its own, holding the Titans to a 12.5% conversation rate (1-for-8) on 3rd down. Burrow stepped up when it mattered most, pinpointing Ja’Marr Chase along the sideline for a 19-yard gain tied 16-16 with 0:15 remaining in the final quarter, moving McPherson in range to kick the walk-off field goal. Burrow’s 348 yards were the second-most in franchise postseason history behind Ken Anderson’s 354 against the Jets in 1982.
The Bengals are about to play their 20th game, breaking the record of 19 set in the Super Bowl seasons of 1981 and 1988, and the Jan. 30 AFC title game marks the latest they’ve ever played in a season.
In Week 17, the Bengals beat the visiting Chiefs 34-31. Burrow threw for 466 yards and four scores while outdueling Mahomes, and the Bengals rallied from three 14-point deficits, closing out the Chiefs when McPherson kicked a 20-yard field goal as time expired.
Expert Pick: Buy down to -6.5 and back Chiefs
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