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KC Chiefs Eye Ninth Straight Win Against The Cincinnati Bengals: Week 17

The K.C Chiefs are eyeing their ninth straight win against the Cincinnati Bengals, hoping to keep the #1 seed in the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs own the top seed in the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 17. However, they have a tough road test as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the AFC North-leading Bengals.

The Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL. After starting 3-4, they have won eight consecutive games to put themselves at 11-4 and gain a one-game advantage over the Titans for the top seed. Last week, Kansas City dominated the Steelers 36-10 without multiple vital players due to COVID-19.

As for the Bengals, they dominated the Ravens for the second time this season, winning 41-21. Joe Burrow threw for 525 yards and four touchdowns.

What’s At Stake

The Chiefs have been able to control their destiny after defeating the Chargers in overtime on December 16th. They clinched their sixth straight AFC West title last week as well. However, Kansas City needs to lock up the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.

A loss and Titans win would put them back at the second seed due to the tie-breaking loss to Tennessee earlier this season. With a win and Titans loss, the Chiefs will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the third tie in the last four years.

For Cincinnati, a win will give them their first AFC North title since 2015.

There are also statistical records that could be broken this week as well. For tight end Travis Kelce, he is five receptions away from becoming the fastest tight end to record 700 receptions. He would shatter this record by 19 games.

Patrick Mahomes needs two touchdown passes to become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 35 touchdown passes in three of his first five seasons. Remember, he only started one game in 2017 (his rookie year).

Additionally, with three touchdown passes, the former NFL MVP will tie Dan Marino as the fastest player to reach 150 TD passes in NFL history, doing so in only 62 games.

Game Preview

For the past two weeks, Kansas City has been nailed with COVID-19. Against the Chargers, they were without Chris Jones, Willie Gay Jr., and Josh Gordon.

Last week against Pittsburgh, they were without Kelce, Nick Bolton, Rashad Fenton, Lucas Niang, Armani Watts, Harrison Butker, and Tommy Townsend. Despite the absences each week, they came away with victories.

This week, the team has zero players on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. However, they will be without starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He injured his shoulder last week and is likely out of the last two games of the regular season to be at full strength for the playoffs.

Sunday’s game will showcase two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The Bengals have found a rhythm with Burrow and the receiving core led by Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase. Running back Joe Mixon has also had a career year with 13 touchdowns and over 1,100 yards on the ground.

For the Chiefs, the defense has been among the NFL’s best since the 3-4 start. Since Week Eight, the defense has been surrendering 12.8 points per game, which is the best in the NFL. In seven of the past eight games, the Chiefs defense has surrendered 17 points or less.

Kansas City has also dominated the turnover battle, forcing 20 takeaways while only committing six over the past seven games. The defense will need to force turnovers against Cincinnati to limit their offense.

For the first time in nearly a month, the Chiefs defense will be at full strength as every starter is good to go for Sunday’s matchup.

The Chiefs offense last week picked apart a top tier pass defense without Kelce and little production from Hill. It was Byron Pringle (two TD catches) and Mecole Hardman (one TD catch) that led the Chiefs in receiving.

The Bengals’ defense will focus on Hill and Kelce, so getting production from Hardman and Pringle will help the offense open up and even get some looks for Hill and Kelce throughout the game.

Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore will man the backfield. Williams broke out earlier this year when Edwards-Helaire missed time with a knee injury. Williams has proved to be effective as a runner and receiver. Gore has come in and had big runs in recent weeks, highlighted by his 51-yard touchdown run against the Raiders.

The Chiefs also activated Jerick McKinnon off of Injured Reserve, but his impact could be limited with him just returning from injury.

This past week, Mahomes was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month. Over the last three seasons, he is 26-1 in games in the months of November, December, and January (including playoffs). His past 26 games in those months have been wins.

Over that time, Mahomes has thrown for 8,104 yards and 60 touchdowns with a 104.6 quarterback rating.

Since 2013 (Andy Reid’s first season), the Chiefs are tied with the Patriots for the best record in the NFL at 102-41. By defeating the Bengals on Sunday, they will become the fifth team in NFL history to win 12-plus games in at least four straight seasons.