January 28, 2023

By Fred Liggett

The NFL’s final four weekend is here as the AFC and NFC are set to crown their conference champions. Both top seeds are still alive competing for a championship and an entry into Super Bowl 57 in Arizona. After NFC top seed Philadelphia plays San Francisco it will be time once again for AFC top seed Kansas City Chiefs to host the title game. This is the record fifth consecutive season the Chiefs have played host to this game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. For the second year in a row the visiting team will be the Cincinnati Bengals.

Once again all eyes will be on Kansas City to see who will be handed the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the game. CBS is sending their top on-air crew to cover the game meaning Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be on the mic. Expect the broadcast to again key in on the quarterback battle between the Chiefs Patrick Mahomes and the Bengals Joe Burrow. Mahomes has thrown for 5,250 yards in a MVP-type season with Burrow not far behind at 4,520 yards. While there are many similarities between the Bengals and Chiefs one of them that is a surprise is the respect card.

Both teams this week have been using the lack of respect in their media interactions. The Chiefs are a rare home underdog in this rematch with the Bengals. This is largely due to Mahomes sprained ankle injury. Meanwhile the Bengals, the defending AFC champions, feel no one expected them to be here this week. The NFL made plenty of headlines talking over and over again about a potential Chiefs vs Bills game played down in Atlanta. The Bengals made sure that issue was over with a resounding road win last week up in Buffalo.

A repeat of the 2021 AFC title game this week made people think about the last time this happened. You only have to go back a decade as in 2011 and again in 2012 when New England and Baltimore played for top honors in the AFC. The Chiefs and Bengals are repeating a lot this year from what took place in 2021. The Bengals beat the Chiefs at home in the regular season, then eliminated the Chiefs in KC in the post-season. Already this year the Bengals scored a 27-24 win over the Chiefs at home and now come to visit KC again for a playoff game.

The Chiefs have led going into the fourth quarter in all three recent losses to the Bengals. All of them coming down to just a three point margin. Last season saw a 34-31 final and a 27-24 OT thriller. Earlier this season it was Cincy again by a 27-24 final count. Fans can expect again these two teams to provide an entertaining battle all the way to the end.

Last week the Jaguars had two chances to rally late for a win but the Chiefs defense forced a fumble and made an interception. It will be no surprise when the Chiefs enter the fourth quarter again with a lead on the Bengals but this time they keep it thanks to a key defensive play. It’s the Chiefs who will again raise the Lamar Hunt Trophy. That’s What I REID Into It for this week.