Game Overview ::
By Mike Johnson >>
- A rematch of last season’s AFC Championship, this game has star power and explosiveness on both sides of the ball.
- The Bengals are welcoming back two of their premier offensive players in RB Joe Mixon and WR Ja’Marr Chase.
- While a shootout is possible, both teams know each other well enough that a modest scoring game is also very viable.
- From a DFS perspective, high salaries and spread out usage make this game somewhat difficult to know how to stack.
How kansas city Will Try To Win ::
The Chiefs offense continues to roll, as they lead the NFL in scoring and yards per play through 12 weeks. The strategy behind Kansas City’s offensive success has been playing with pace (3rd fastest situation neutral pace of play) and aggressiveness (highest pass rate over expectation, or PROE, in the league). The Chiefs have rolled through several players at the wide receiver and running back positions this year, but have produced as a unit regardless of who is on the field. The Chiefs appear to have things condensing in their backfield, with Isiah Pacheco seeing the highest usage in Week 12 of any Chiefs RB all season, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on IR and Jerick McKinnon is battling a groin injury. Meanwhile, JuJu Smith-Schuster returned from injury in Week 12 and should be full go as the lead receiver for Patrick Mahomes.
From a philosophical perspective, the Chiefs have to enter this game knowing they are likely going to need to score points. They don’t really need an incentive to be pushed to throw aggressively, but it’s safe to say they will have their foot on the gas early in this game and won’t slow down even if they build a lead due to their respect for the explosiveness of the Bengals offense that is at full strength and scored 61 points against them in two contests last season, and has scored 30+ points in four of their last six games. The Chiefs offense is also likely to have a bit more of a “traditional” feel to it at this point due to the absence of Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney. Hardman and Toney were the players usually featured on the “gadget” plays such as jet sweeps and other short area plays, and while JuJu and Skyy Moore can function somewhat in that role as well, it will likely become less of a staple to what they do. Likewise, the losses of CEH and McKinnon leave the Chiefs with more of a “prototypical” running back than the pass catching types he was previously splitting reps with. The likely result? More typical running plays and short area concepts as well as more downfield passing — less gadgetry. This week the Chiefs face a Bengals defense that has been solid at times this year but has been vulnerable down the field in recent weeks against some teams who have otherwise struggled to push the ball deep in the Titans, Steelers, and Browns. It is no coincidence that these struggles by the Bengals pass defense have coincided with the loss of star cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. Expect a pass heavy game plan from the Chiefs against a Bengals pass defense that looks better on paper than their recent form has shown.