The 2021 Cincinnati Bengals are on a historic playoff run.
They got the franchise’s first postseason victory in 31 years after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders during Super Wild Card Weekend.
A week later, they achieved the team’s first-ever road playoff win in the Divisional Round against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans.
Now, the Kansas City Chiefs are between them and a stint in Super Bowl LVI.
A victory over Andy Reid‘s crew will give the Bengals their third Super Bowl appearance and their first since the 1988 season.
See you in Kansas City.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 24, 2022
However, they will be the underdogs because the Chiefs have home-field advantage, and they’ve been the AFC’s Super Bowl representative for the past two seasons.
It doesn’t mean that the Bengals don’t have a shot against Patrick Mahomes and company.
In fact, they defeated the Chiefs at home in Week 17 this season.
But for a repeat victory for Joe Burrow and crew to happen, here’s what they must address throughout the game.
3. Make Mahomes, Hill, And Kelce Uncomfortable
The Buffalo Bills would have been in a better position to win if they didn’t miss opportunities in sacking Mahomes.
He could extend plays by moving outside the pocket to evade the Buffalo pass rush.
The Bengals cannot let Mahomes’ elusiveness and creativity dictate the outcome.
That said, Cincinnati hopes that Trey Hendrickson will play against Kansas City after suffering an injury in Tennessee.
The Bengals and the Chiefs offenses have a similar flaw.
That makes Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson one of the most important players in the AFC Title Game. pic.twitter.com/UO2bMUmMIE
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 26, 2022
The Bengals defense must also establish the edges to contain where Mahomes can scramble.
As for those two receivers, putting two defenders on them will limit the Chiefs’ passing game.
Zac Taylor’s team is in a good position if another receiver beats them.
2. Mix Up The Passing Game
However, they can continuously confuse the Chiefs’ defensive backs and linebackers if they mix in intermediate passes.
Releasing the ball faster at times will throw the Chiefs off their timing.
They can also use Chase as a decoy to attract multiple defenders to open up the middle of the field.
11 catches for 266 yards and 3 TDs are numbers you can only imagine putting up on a video game. @Real10jayy__ did it in real life in Week 17. 🔥
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2022
A slant or post route will be open if they bite on his route.
If the Chiefs choose to cover the underneath routes, Chase or Higgins will be open downfield.
Having much success in their varied passing game will also open up gaps for Joe Mixon to exploit.
Mixon will find those holes past the Chiefs’ defensive line, whether he’s a runner or a receiver.
1. Protect Joe Burrow
The Bengals can’t expect to win again if the Chiefs get nine sacks.
Seriously speaking, the Cincinnati offensive line should have their best performance all season if they are to win on the road.
The same line allowed 51 sacks on Burrow throughout the regular season.
They can’t afford stalled drives against a high-scoring team like Kansas City.
NINE SACKS FOR THE GOOD GUYS!
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 23, 2022
Therefore, the Bengals must find a way to score on every possession to give the Chiefs a tougher time.
Taking care of Burrow will afford him more time to complete huge gains with their receivers.
More importantly, an injury on Burrow because of a sack is synonymous with game over.