How to watch: Time, watch on CBS, broadcast on Paramount+, matches in AFC Championship 2023

Let’s not waste time with a protracted preamble: It is NFL Championship Sunday. On the Asian Championships, the highest seed and the West Asian Champion Kansas Metropolis Chiefs It should host the No. 3 seed and AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals.

These two groups met earlier this season, in addition to in final 12 months’s convention championship recreation. Cincinnati gained each contests, however the Chiefs once more ran with house subject benefit. Earlier than we break down the match, here is a take a look at how one can watch the match.

How do you watch

Date: Sunday 29 January | time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: GEHA Stadium at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas Metropolis, Missouri)
tv: CBS | Stream: Paramount + (click on right here)
Prospect: Chiefs -1.5, O/U 48

Featured recreation | Kansas Metropolis Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals

When the Bengals have the ball

Final week, the large story that goes into the Bengals vs Buffalo payments It was the offensive line. How will the group standing towards Joe Burrow whereas down three starters, and relying on the likes of Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adeniji and Max Scharping, maintain up? Because it seems, it held up simply fantastic.

Boro has stress solely 31.6% of its dropouts, in keeping with Tru Media, which is nicely under common. The Bengals’ ball carriers averaged 1.94 yards per carry earlier than contact, an enormous enchancment from the 1.26 per carry they recorded through the common season. It wasn’t simply Buffalo’s defensive position Not Dominate the sport drastically managed. Cincinnati dominated the road of scrimmage from the bounce.

Now, the query turns into whether or not the offensive line can do it once more. The Chiefs truly pressured opposing quarterbacks at a better fee (35.7%) through the common season than the Payments (33.7%). And provided that Buffalo was with out Von Miller final week, the Chiefs additionally face a person risk of a better caliber (Chris Jones) than any that was introduced up per week in the past. There may be excellent news and unhealthy information for the Bengals on this entrance. The great factor is that the 2 remaining starters alongside the offensive line (Ted Karras and Cordell Fulson) each play inside, with Jones doing his factor. The unhealthy is that Scharping additionally performs inside, and the Chiefs can align Jones wherever they need to create advantageous encounters.

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The true method the Bengals can neutralize a rush, although, is thru Burrow. In opposition to Buffalo, Burrow received the ball in a mean of two.57 seconds, in keeping with Tru Media, a quantity completely consistent with his season common of two.55 seconds for throwing. Solely Tom Brady (2.33 seconds) has cleared the ball quicker this season, and Brady has shot extra wickets on his throws (55.3%) inside 2.5 seconds of the shot than Burrow (55.0%). Burrow’s tremendous power lies in his skill to shortly resolve the place to go together with the ball and get it out of his arms when the scenario requires it, however he additionally has the prolonged play skill that different quarterbacks within the league deliver to the desk. .

It helps that he has one of the best cadre of weapons within the league – or at the least in his convention – to select from. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins give him two alpha receivers No. 1, every of whom could make contested runs and create yards after catch. Chase is almost unimaginable to deliver down with a primary ahead, and the Bengals make the most of this truth by getting him the ball on screens and crossbars so he can assault defenders with a strong header. Within the first recreation between these two groups, the Chiefs typically left their inexperienced corners on an island with Chase or Higgins on the skin, and Boro made them pay for it over and over. Steve Spagnolo ought to give you a special attacking plan this time round.

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It is going to be fascinating to see if the Chiefs transfer L’Jarius Sneed out and reinsert Trent McDuffie into the slot, after they switched positions once more final week towards Jaguar. Christian Kirk was the largest risk acquired in Jacksonville, so Chief moved Snead into the slot once more. The principle threats to Cincinnati stay Chase and Higgins, not Tyler Boyd, so it would make sense to deliver Snead again to the perimeter and let McDuffie attempt to play the bodily towards Boyd on the within. Spagnuolo should stay eager to supply applicable assists to Sneed and Jaylen Watson, or Burrow will work aggressively in particular person matches and belief his teammates to win the ball within the air. With the ability to ship sufficient our bodies previous Burrow to generate stress whereas additionally retaining sufficient in cowl to make sure they do not smoke exterior might be a difficult steadiness.

The Bengals received so much higher at operating the ball as soon as they moved away from how they wished to run the ball firstly of the season. They have been an below middle and out of the zone staff early on, and it was very vanilla. They transitioned to the shotgun offense virtually solely early within the 12 months, which allowed them to have a bit extra unpredictability of their dashing offense. Kansas Metropolis completed a decent fifteenth in DVOA dashing protection this season, in keeping with Soccer Outsiders, so this is not a kind of models the place you possibly can simply run the ball down their throats if you wish to, as has typically been the case in seasons previous. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine actually play a job right here, however the Bengals higher do what they do finest: let Burrow management the sport by enjoying level guard out of the pocket.

When the chiefs have the ball

Properly, all of it actually comes down to at least one query: Is Patrick Mahomes Wholesome sufficient to play as Patrick Mahomes? Truthfully, I do not know, and I feel anybody (besides the Chiefs’ staff docs) who tells you they know with any diploma of certainty is a liar.

So, let’s attempt to discover out what we all know:

  • We all know Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will as soon as once more have a recreation plan devoted to dealing with Mahomes’ offense and the chief’s passing.
  • We all know the sport plan will seemingly differ at the least just a little bit from what we noticed in Week 13, which itself was just a little bit completely different from what we noticed within the AFC title recreation final 12 months.
  • We all know Kansas Metropolis’s passing recreation is flowing by Travis Kelsey, and the Bengals will seemingly attempt to take him far with Tre Flowers to work together with him close to the road of scrimmage. And Sending different defenders to cowl his method down the sphere.
  • We all know that the Chiefs redesigned their offense within the offseason to counter the type of defenses the Bengals and different groups used towards them final 12 months, and had gamers match into particular roles to carry out their quick recreation, direct play, and run the sport to a special degree.
  • We all know all of those strikes have largely labored, Mahomes has led the NFL in EPA per landing, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon have given them their most versatile backfields in years, and the Chiefs have arguably their finest offensive season since Mahomes gained (For the primary time) MVP award again in 2018.
  • We all know that the Bengalis know all this stuff, that the chiefs know that they know that, that the Bengalis know that the chiefs know that they know that and so forth.
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If Mahomes is wholesome, he needs to be trusted to determine issues out. Even in a loss towards Cincinnati earlier within the season, Mahomes accomplished 16 of 27 passes for 223 yards (8.2 per try) and a landing, whereas including a rating on the bottom. If not for Kelsey’s stumble, we is likely to be speaking about that recreation so much in another way. It isn’t like Mahomes completely shut down, in any case. Kansas Metropolis scored on 4 of their first six drives, and one such drive was operating out the clock within the first half with two drives deep in their very own territory. So, over 5 possessions, they totaled 24 factors. Then Kelsey fumbles, Sensei scores, Harrison Butker misses a game-tying subject aim, and the remainder is up. The mayor of Cincinnati claims Boro is Mahomes’ father, or one thing. (If something, Anarumo needs to be Mahomes’ father, however I digress.)

In that recreation, nevertheless, the Bengals made Mahomes extremely affected person. It took a mean of three.36 seconds earlier than he handed the ball, the seventh longest time he’d thrown in his 91-game profession. (Two of the six video games he took longer have been shedding the AFC title recreation to Cincinnati final 12 months, and shedding the Tremendous Bowl to hacker The 12 months earlier than.) A part of the explanation he was capable of hit it anyway is as a result of he can maneuver into the pocket along with his motion, and he used that mobility to create large performs on the court docket. The short in-game stuff the Chiefs have tried so as to add again into their offense this season has been largely missing.

Whether or not he is out there this week will rely on whether or not Anarumu decides Mahomes’ damage means he ought to stress him and make him attempt to transfer, or that he should not stress as a result of Mahomes cannot transfer. If Cincy presses, Mahomes can carve out protection from the pocket, as he did final week towards the Jaguars. The Bengals have not often rocked within the final two video games towards the Chiefs, and so they aren’t a heavy offensive staff anyway. It appears unlikely that Anarumu would all of the sudden reverse course on this matter. But when the Bengals do not ship in further our bodies, it is also doable that the wall the 2 chiefs have in-built entrance of Mahomes over the previous two years will maintain and provides him time to seek out the free man on the sphere.

I anticipate Kansas Metropolis to be on the shotgun extra typically so Mahomes would not have to maneuver round a lot to clean out a operating recreation or get into the notions of a move play, which implies it needs to be a heavier recreation. Mackinnon from Pacheco. McKinnon is an ace move guard and has a bit extra juice as a consequence of his agility, however Pacheco has the power to stoop and punish the Bengals for taking part in with the sunshine containers. It would not be shocking to see the Chiefs attempt to begin their recreation early so the Bengals must sneak round and permit extra pitches.

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