It took a while before the Cincinnati Bengals knew who their opponent would be for the AFC Championship Game.
But after a walk-off touchdown in overtime, the Kansas City Chiefs will be advancing to their third-straight conference title game.
Meanwhile, the Bengals haven’t been in this situation since 1988, the season they lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 24, 2022
However, Zac Taylor’s troops have the personnel that can defeat Kansas City.
But here’s what must happen so that they can share another game ball with the city of Cincinnati.
Uphold Protection For Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow was instrumental to the Bengals’ first-ever playoff road victory.
The second-year pro completed 28 passes for 348 yards against the Titans for a 93.1 passer rating.
Unfortunately, the Bengals offensive line allowed nine sacks on Burrow.
Cincinnati is lucky to pull off the victory via an Evan McPherson field goal with that much penetration.
The most satisfying Who Dey chant ever pic.twitter.com/Nk9aqsRN62
— Josh B (@Mr_Burkelton) January 17, 2022
The Bengals cannot win again if they allow that many hits on Burrow.
Even if he led the league in completion percentage at the regular season’s end, he would need time to execute plays, especially against a team that can take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes.
Add Variety To Their Passing Game
The Bengals’ passing game is capable of making long completions.
Covering Chase, Boyd, Higgins, and Uzomah will bring potential mismatches for the Kansas City secondary.
However, it would be better to activate their short passing game to keep the Chiefs guessing.
Connecting on intermediate throws will also keep Kansas City’s pass rush honest.
Watch on CBS pic.twitter.com/EDohbrWLoq
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 22, 2022
Likewise, there’s a chance that Tyrann Mathieu won’t play due to concussion protocol.
His absence will be a massive blow to a defense that ranked 27th in passing yards allowed per game (251.4) during the regular season.
Activating their short passing game will also give Joe Mixon some room to operate and gain yards from the ground.
The Bengals need more than the 65 rushing yards gained against the Titans if they are to defeat the Chiefs.
Find Kelce and Hill At All Costs
Limiting the production of Kelce and Hill will be a tall order for the Bengals.
However, it’s the best way to defeat the Chiefs.
The Bills slipped on their coverages against these two players, allowing them to make significant completions that put their team in field goal range.
The Bengals are better off sending an extra man to cover Kansas City’s top two receivers while constantly sending three or four-person rushes.
— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 24, 2022
Even if Mahomes evades the pass rush with his nimble feet, finding a target won’t be easy.
The Bengals will reach the Super Bowl if they execute these keys to victory.