KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two top 10 offenses in the NFL are sure to light up the scoreboard Sunday in Cincinnati.
The Kansas City Chiefs (28 points per game) and Cincinnati Bengals (27 points per game) both have young, thriving quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, dynamic wide receivers that can take the top off of a defense, and defenses that can make stops when needed.
With the Chiefs hoping to preserve the number one spot at the top of the AFC, the defense is getting ready for what may be their mightiest test throughout the streak.
“I think this is the best threesome trio that we have gone against this year. I think our guys
respect that, know that,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said about Bengals receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
“You can turn on any play, any game and they just take turns being the leading receiver for a particular game. Heck of a challenge for our guys. That’s what we’re working on right now and having a conversation about those three wideouts.”
Spagnuolo also has high praise for Joe Burrow.
“This may sound crazy, but I see a young Tom Brady. This guy does everything. He does not look like a second-year quarterback that missed a lot of his first year, totally impressed with him.”
“All the weapons we’ve talked about and all that, but you’ve got to have a quarterback that can get it done, and he really does. We’ve got to find out some ways to make him uncomfortable. Easier said than done.”
The Chiefs have had several key players out the past few games on all three sides of the ball due to COVID-19. But the roster is almost back to 100% just in time for this showdown.
And tight end Travis Kelce and defensive lineman Chris Jones are two of the most excited to be returning from protocol.
“It was very tough dealing with the situation, especially not being able to play the game I love so
much and being out there competing with my brothers, and a divisional game, very important game where
I felt like I could’ve been used,” Jones said about sitting out of the Week 15 Los Angeles Chargers game. He returned last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“But on the bright side, we went out there, we competed, we played hard and we were able to solidify a win.”
“I mean he was excited. He was annoyed that he couldn’t be back in the building. Even the
day after when we got back and we have an off day, the guys come in to watch film and he couldn’t be in
the building and he was still annoyed about it,” Mahomes said about Kelce.
Even with several players out, role players stepped up in their absence and kept the offense flowing against Pittsburgh. And with key players like Kelce and Hill (only two catches vs. Pittsburgh) getting back into their rhythm, the offense can keep the momentum going into their last two games of the regular season.
“The tight ends did a great job blocking and catching the football, I thought guys like (Byron) Pringle, Mecole (Hardman), Tyreek (Hill) even got out there and he was just off the COVID list so he was exhausted just trying to do what he could to contribute. It was a total team effort. The offensive line did a great job giving me time in the pocket and we went out there to find a way to get a win and that’s all the matters at the end of the day,” Mahomes said.
“You never want to go into a game not fully loaded, but if we do happen to have to go into a game in that particular situation, we’re just going to let our guys play. Let them know that we have full trust in their capabilities of getting the job done,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said.
Kickoff vs. Cincinnati is at 12 p.m. CT.