There’s nothing like Arrowhead Stadium in primetime. It’s another Sunday night affair for the Chiefs, as they come off their first loss of the season in the previous Sunday night game. The Chiefs are 5-1, going head to head, with a 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals squad that has shown they have something to prove.
The Bengals really came on strong late last season. Even without a postseason appearance, Cincinnati played well enough to retain Marvin Lewis as head coach, despite many expecting the opposite. The Bengals are a sneaky team that has played in some close contests. All six of their games this season have been decided by eleven points or less.
Keep the Momentum Rolling
The Chiefs offense and Patrick Mahomes had their worst first half of the season last week. Fortunately, they showed enough grit to come back in the second half and almost beat the Patriots in their building. They came up just short, but the Chiefs offense must stay on the gas pedal to start things against the Bengals.
Where Kansas City could have success early on, is throwing to the boundaries and running sweeps to the outside with Kareem Hunt. The Bengals will be without a starting cornerback and a linebacker who entered this week sixth in the league in tackles. Without Nick Vigil, that injured linebacker, the Chiefs may be able to find some space in the flats. That is where Vigil does such a good job of running people down, but without him, the Chiefs speed should prevail against this defense.
Talking about momentum, for Mahomes in particular, beginning by making plays as he did in the second half against New England will be key. Early on last game, he was just missing his throws and was in between on his decision making. What will help this week, is the fact he’s playing at the comfy confines of Arrowhead.
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Defending the Red Rifle and Co.
It’s been a tough year so far for the Chiefs defense and this matchup will not make things easier. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, aka the Red Rifle, has started this season off strong for the most part. Dalton already has fourteen touchdown passes this season, tied for fourth-most in the league. The Bengals offense has come out firing with nothing to lose this season, and are seeing the most production they have for certain players. For example, wide receiver Tyler Boyd already has fifteen more receptions then he did all of last season. Boyd is also on pace to shatter the most receiving yards and touchdowns that he has accumulated for a single season. Second-year running Joe Mixon is taking advantage of a bigger opportunity this season. He’s running hard and continues to improve his stock each game for the Bengals.
The keys for the Chiefs defense will be to force the Bengals in longer 3rd down than the Patriots attempted last week. That means that tackles for loss and getting to Dalton quickly will be huge. Kansas City will also be faced with plenty of speed, so making tackles in space will keep the Cincinnati speedsters from breaking one for a long touchdown.
Matchup to Watch: Chiefs Offensive Line vs Bengals Defensive Front
These two position groups are both underrated for their respective teams. The Bengals have continued to draft well up front and have the depth to keep these play stuffers fresh. What makes them good, is how quickly they get off blocks and the speed they have to run down ball carriers.
The Chiefs do have the fewest sacks allowed in the league. But, with center Mitch Morse and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif both out with injuries, the depth players must be ready for these relentless Cincinnati defenders.
Two words: Primetime difference. In home primetime regular-season games under Andy Reid, the Chiefs are 6-2, including five straight wins. Meanwhile, in that same time span (since 2013), the Bengals are 5-12 in primetime regular-season games under Marvin Lewis.
Tyreek Hill loves primetime as well, as he has scored a touchdown in 9 out of 12 regular season games under the lights.
Thank you for reading. You are now primed for Sunday Night Football. For content on the rest of week 7’s games, check out Full Press Covrage.