January 1, 2022

By Fred Liggett
FredL@lstribune.net

When the Kansas City Chiefs take the field again the year will be 2022. For the Chiefs the new year will start out much like the old year as the Chiefs tackle the challenge of another first place team. The Chiefs have played every division leader in the AFC this season and will play another when they visit the AFC North Division leading Cincinnati Bengals. So far the Chiefs have had trouble with the first place teams losing to both Buffalo and Tennessee. Earlier this season the Chiefs lost to Baltimore who at the time led the AFC North.

Sometimes things don’t go as forecasted and the current standings of the AFC North is proof of that. The Baltimore Ravens were expected to take the title this year with some NFL experts calling for the Cleveland Browns to break through and win the division title. With just two weeks left in the season it’s the Cincinnati Bengals who lead the division. The Bengals, at 9-6, are led by a high powered offense that has taken them to the top of the rugged AFC North. Last week the Bengals easily dispatched Baltimore in a 41-21 win. Playing well down the stretch is a key to winning a division and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has the team doing just that.

Thanks to the efforts of second year QB Joe Burrow the Bengals not only thrill the hometown fans but provide the rest of the NFL something to think about. Burrow has thrown for 4,165 yards so far this season. Both starting Wide Receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have over 1,000 yards. Having an impressive offense is a product of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor’s background. Taylor once starred as the Quarterback for Nebraska University back in the 2005-06 seasons.

The Chiefs are another team that is playing well coming down the stretch to the end of the season. Thanks to an eight game winning streak the Chiefs now sit at 11-4, having won their sixth straight AFC West Division title. Now the Chiefs goal is to be the #1 seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs. To gain that distinction the Chiefs will have to beat a first place team on the road. The last time the two teams met the Chiefs won easily 45-10 in October of 2018. Two weeks ago the Chiefs were minus three defensive players but still played well enough to gain an important win in overtime. Last week the Chiefs were without their star tight end, starting punter and place-kicker but still put up plenty of points in a 26 point win over Pittsburgh.

Thanks to COVID-19 testing and related protocols one may not know who is taking the field for a team until kickoff time. While the Bengals have proven to be a worthy threat and show plenty of youthful talent the Chiefs will counter that with their experience both playing the game and with each other. The Chiefs mission to gain the top seed in the AFC playoffs will continue its successful run as they show the Bengals their time may be coming but that time is not now. For the fourth straight season the Chiefs will earn a 12th win in a season and give their fans a belated Happy New Year wish. That’s What I REID Into It for this week.

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