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Take a look at Week 17 NFL picks against the spread!
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The 11-4 Kansas City Chiefs have clinched their division and a playoff spot, and HC Andy Reid wants a win here so they can keep the number one seed to themselves, but as their 21st ranked defense slowly improves the rest is up to QB Patrick Mahomes and his playmakers WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce, that is if Kelce can suit up after his undisclosed illness from last week.
The 9-6 Cincinnati Bengals are on a two-game winning streak and their QB Joe Burrow just threw for over 500 yards for the first time in his career, a sign that this is his franchise and he and his playmakers – WR Ja’Marr Chase, TE C.J. Uzomah, and RB Joe Mixon – are ready to take these Bengals to the playoffs, but first they have to figure out these Chiefs at home.
These two AFC rivals have played each other 29 previous times, with the Cincinnati Bengals winning 15 of those games and the Kansas City Chiefs winning 14 of the games.
A major problem with the high scoring Chiefs has often been their struggling defense, right now ranked in the bottom third of the league (21st) after allowing opponents to gain 362 total yards and score 20.4 points per game, all numbers made worse by the slow start to the season.
Now on Sunday the Chiefs will face Bengals QB Joe Burrow, second year player with a cannon for an arm and the targets who can catch those deep passes, their main receiving playmakers WR Ja’Marr Chase and TE C.J. Uzomah dangerous in the open field after the catch.
Watch for big games from the Chiefs secondary, including CBs Charvarius Ward and L’Jarius Sneed and the big threat SS Tyrann Mathieu, all players that are finding their groove late in the season, the perfect time as the Chiefs would like a Week 17 AFC win over these Bengals.
The Bengals defensive front has a reputation for sacking opposing quarterbacks, this season with 41 team sacks (fourth-most in the league), and that will be a key to victory against these Chiefs who have a QB who tends to wander outside the pocket if you let him.
Upfront the Bengals feature DEs Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, plus they get rushing help from DTs Larry Ogunjobi and DJ Reader, but also watch for sneak attacks from LB Markus Bailey and S Vonn Bell who can make life miserable for QBs who drift too far.
This season Mahomes has been sacked the most times of his career (27) and there are still two more games to add to that high number, so Cincy DC Lou Anarumo had best game plan some QB takedowns or prepare to have Mahomes run for firsts downs and more.
After an uncharacteristic slow start to his 2021, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is off and running again, now having completed 66 percent of his passes this season (same as his career version of that stat) and helping his team earn eight wins in a row now.
Mahomes is still fast and rangy, the 6’ 3” 227 pound Texas Tech alum able to get out of the pocket and throw the ball from just about any angle, this season with 383 completions for 4,310 yards and 33 TDs with 13 INTs, production right in line with how he has played in the past.
From this point out, expect Mahomes to play at his best and now that he has endured defenses forcing him to nickel-and-dime his way down the field he can begin to play the way he is more comfortable, which is to confuse defenses with his ability to make any pass imaginable.
For five NFL seasons, RB Joe Mixon has been grinding out the yards for the Cincinnati Bengals, and this season he has really excelled out of the backfield, a dual threat who can hurt you on the ground and through the air, especially with talented QB Joe Burrow under center.
Mixon is a 6’ 1” 220 pound Oklahoma alum who is 25 years old and already plays like a seasoned veteran, this year with 280 carries for 1,159 yards and13 touchdowns along with 35 catches for 274 yards and 3touchdowns, an integral part of this Cincinnati offense.
Watch for Mixon to be used early and often to set up QB Burrow’s play action fakes later in the game, but keep in mind the Bengals’ rushing attack ranked just 22nd in the league so it is not necessarily going to be the central part of OC Brian Callahan’s offensive game plan.
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|Chiefs vs Bengals Information
|Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals
|Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH
|Sunday, January 2, 2022; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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