Posted on October 20, 2018, by Travis Pulver
For years, the Cincinnati Bengals have been the good team that just can’t seem to achieve greatness. As for the Kansas City Chiefs, so far, it appears that letting Alex Smith go and starting Patrick Mahomes was a great idea. But is either squad a playoff team?
It is way too early to try to answer that question, but each can get a good idea when they face off against each other on Sunday Night Football.
Kansas City is coming off its first loss of the season suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots. But while they didn’t win the game, they did learn something very important—they can hang with the big dogs. The Patriots landed a few punches in the first half. But while they stung, they were not enough to knock the Chiefs out.
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Instead, the discovered that they could take a few hits, get back up, and keep fighting regardless of who they are playing. It would have helped if their defense could have slowed Tom Brady (or at least Sony Michel) down in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t.
That is what the Bengals are going to have to count on— the Chiefs defense not being able to stop anyone.
No one is giving up more yards a game than the Chiefs (468.2). But they aren’t the worst scoring defense in the league (27th). With several key players on their own defense expected to be out, the Bengals are going to have a hard time slowing down the Chiefs offensive juggernaut.
So, they’ll have to try to outscore it.
With the potential that they have on offense, that is entirely possible against a poor Chiefs defense. Andy Dalton is off to a good start this season completing 65.1 percent of his passes so far. A.J. Green is playing well and appears to have a partner in crime now, Tyler Boyd. Running back Joe Mixon has been doing a good job when healthy enough to play.
But do they have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Chiefs should a shootout develop?
No, they do not.
Dalton is a good quarterback and has good receivers in Green, Boyd, and John Ross (who is expected to return this week). Mixon is running much better this year, and the Bengals offense is capable of scoring some points.
But the question isn’t whether they can score. Can they stop the Chiefs from scoring?
“We should be allowed to play with 12, a special rule for this week,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said when asked about facing the Chiefs this week. “They do a great job of making you defend the entire field. You get misdirection, motion shifts, personnel changes, all the things that do and make you respond to them, and they do them with great athleticism and speed.”
Even if the Bengals were able to put their best 11 (or 12) on the field, they would probably not be able to slow the Chiefs down very much (if at all).
The Chiefs are favored by six, but they’ll win by double digits.