Countdown

Countdown

Kendall Gammon

Countdown to Kickoff Host

Kendall is a 15-year NFL veteran Pro-Bowl Long Snapper known for his years of broadcasting with 101 The Fox on Gameday. Kendall and the team will discuss what happened, what’s next and what to expect with special guests and expert analysis from around the league as we get ready for kickoff.
FOX Football Gameday Host

Sparks is the Afternoon Drive host on 101 The FOX and an all-around sports FAN that brings years of Gameday coverage experience! Having talked football with the best of the best from Sports Talk Legends to Vegas Odds Makers he will be the MAN to get your SPARK ignited and make sure you're READY for GAMEDAY!

Sparks

FOX Football Gameday Host

Sparks is the Afternoon Drive host on 101 The FOX and an all-around sports FAN that brings years of Gameday coverage experience! Having talked football with the best of the best from Sports Talk Legends to Vegas Odds Makers he will be the MAN to get your SPARK ignited and make sure you’re READY for GAMEDAY!

Marleah Campbell

KCTV5 Sports Reporter

Marleah Campbell is a reporter for KCTV5 and host for KC Sports Network. She has covered EVERYTHING from Super Bowl LIV to the Jayhawks’ national title run. A Lenexa-native and Shawnee Mission West alum, she’s called KC home her entire life and is excited to continue her Chiefs coverage with the team at 101 The FOX!

BJ Kissel

KCSN NFL Insider

Every gameday we will check in with Local Sports Expert BJ Kissel to discuss Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, and go in depth about what the Kansas City Offense and Special Teams need to do on gameday. Check out his KC Sports Network Podcast for more weekly updates!

Steve Gorman

Rock N Roll Reporter

Every week we will catch up with Former Fox Sports guest broadcaster and Black Crowes Rock N Roll drummer to make their picks for the biggest games of the week.

2022 Schedule

PRESEASON    
Week 1 8/13 at Chicago Bears 12:00 p.m. KSHB    
Week 2 8/20 Washington Commanders 3:00 p.m. KSHB    
Week 3 8/25 Green Bay Packers 7:00 p.m. KSHB    
REGULAR SEASON    
Week 1 9/11       at Arizona Cardinals                    3:25 pm CBS    
Week 2 9/15       Los Angeles Chargers              7:15 pm Prime Video    
Week 3 9/25       at Indianapolis Colts                  12:00 pm CBS    
Week 4 10/2       at Tampa Bay Buccaneers          7:20 pm NBC    
Week 5 10/10      Las Vegas Raiders                   7:15 pm ESPN    
Week 6 10/16      Buffalo Bills                              3:25 pm CBS    
Week 7 10/23      at San Francisco 49ers              3:25 pm FOX    
Week 8 10/30      BYE WEEK      
Week 9 11/6       Tennessee Titans                       7:20 pm NBC    
Week 10 11/13      Jacksonville Jaguars              12:00 pm CBS    
Week 11 11/20      at Los Angeles Chargers            3:25 pm CBS    
Week 12 11/27      Los Angeles Rams                   3:25 pm FOX    
Week 13 12/4       at Cincinnati Bengals                  3:25 pm CBS    
Week 14 12/11      at Denver Bronco                       7:20 pm NBC    
Week 15 12/18      at Houston Texans                   12:00 pm CBS    
Week 16 12/24      Seattle Seahawks                   12:00 pm FOX    
Week 17 1/1        Denver Broncos                       12:00 pm CBS    
Week 18 1/7 or 8    at Las Vegas Raiders                 TBD TBD    
  Home games listed in bold        
All times are listed in central time. Find tickets at chiefs.com/tickets

 

2021 Schedule
PRESEASON
W 19 – 16 8/20 at San Francisco 49ers 7:30pm KSHB
W 17 – 10 8/20 at Arizona Cardinals 7:00pm ESPN
W 28 – 25 8/27 vs Minnesota Vikings 7:00pm KSHB
REGULAR SEASON
Week 1 9/12 vs Cleveland Browns                       3:25pm                 CBS
Week 2 9/19 at Baltimore Ravens                         7:20pm                    NBC
Week 3 9/26 vs Los Angeles Chargers                  Noon                    CBS
Week 4 10/3 at Philadelphia Eagles                       Noon                       CBS
Week 5 10/10 vs Buffalo Bills                                   7:20pm                 NBC
Week 6 10/17 at Washington Football Team            Noon                       CBS
Week 7 10/24 at Tennessee Titans                           Noon                       CBS
Week 8 11/1 vs New York Giants                            7:15pm                 ESPN
Week 9 11/7 vs Green Bay Packers                       3:25pm                  FOX
Week 10 11/14 at Las Vegas Raiders                         7:20pm                     NBC
Week 11 11/21 vs Dallas Cowboys                             3:25pm                  FOX
Week 12 /// BYE WEEK                                            ///                            ///
Week 13 12/5 vs Denver Broncos                             Noon                      CBS
Week 14 12/12 vs Las Vegas Raiders                         Noon                      CBS
Week 15 12/16 at Los Angeles Chargers                    7:20pm        FOX/NFLN/AMAZON
Week 16 12/26 vs Pittsburgh Steelers                        3:25pm                  CBS
Week 17 1/2 at Cincinnati Bengals                           Noon                       CBS
Week 18 1/9 at Denver Broncos                             3:25pm                      CBS

Local Coverage

TUNE IN ON GAMEDAY

Join us on Gameday for team coverage on Fox Football Gameday with a 3 Hour Pre-Game Broadcast hosted by Fox afternoon Drive Host Sparks. Get all the News around the league, updates on College Sports, Fantasy Football and more! All leading up the the Countdown to Kickoff with with our Gameday experts Kendall Gammon, Dani Welniak, and BJ Kissel!

RED REPORTS

101 The FOX Slacker morning Show 

Listen to the Slacker Morning show every week at 7:30am as we check in with BJ Kissel for a FRIDAY RED REPORT to get Teed UP for GAMEDAY! Then get the recap of the previous game every Monday with the Fox Football Gameday Wrap-up. PLUS get Slacker’s FOX Fantasy Football Update on Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30am with Fantasy Football Guru Adam Copeland.

101 THE FOX FOOTBALL GAMEDAY

CHIEFS NEWS

Even in an Expected Down Year, Chiefs Still Wear AFC Crown

Despite having as good of a shot as ever to gain control, the rest of the AFC is still looking up at KC.

A year ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were coming off a crushing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and were facing a minor identity crisis. That threw the team into a soft reset during the offseason, prompting the trade of Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and subsequent dominoes to fall in the receiver room. Additionally, a plethora of young talent and change was injected into Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Things were going to look different in Kansas City in 2022-23, for better or worse.

From a national perspective, opinions were mixed on the Chiefs before the season. Vegas odds still had them as one of the preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Buffalo Bills got the bulk of the love despite finishing short of both Kansas City and Cincinnati in the playoffs. Many national media pundits picked either Cincinnati or Buffalo to come out of the AFC, and some even anticipated a non-Chiefs team to win the AFC West. On a broad scale, some sort of step back and a “down year” of sorts was expected. As a result, the window for conference supremacy was seemingly wide open.

Sunday’s Kansas City win not only slammed the window down on the outstretched hands of other conference foes, but it also served as a reminder of who the proverbial top dog is.

In a game that already had quarterback Patrick Mahomes nursing a high-ankle sprain, he also witnessed three of his top options at wide receiver get knocked out of the game due to injuries. On the defensive side, starting cornerback L’Jarius Sneed exited the game and entered the NFL’s concussion protocol. That left three rookie cornerbacks leading the way in the secondary against arguably the league’s best wide receiver duo. Willie Gay Jr., possibly the best linebacker on the team, also suffered an in-game injury that left the defense shorthanded.

In the face of all of that, Mahomes delivered by going over the 300-yard mark and tossing a pair of touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a 2022 offseason addition from the free agent market, led the team in receiving yards. Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson, both Day 3 draft picks, had interceptions (with one of them being assisted on by rookie safety Bryan Cook). First-round rookies George Karlaftis and Trent McDuffie each made noteworthy plays. Skyy Moore had a big-time punt return to set up the game-winning drive. With players dropping like flies and adversity setting in as much as it had all season, the Chiefs persevered and came out on the other side victorious. 

Some of the concerns before the season were warranted. After all, Hill still remains perhaps the most dangerous player in all of football and replacing him with quantity instead of high-end quality was far from guaranteed to work out. Allowing Tyrann Mathieu to leave in free agency and replacing him with a younger and much less proven Justin Reid at safety was a massive risk. Letting 26-year-old Sneed be the veteran of the cornerback room at the top could’ve completely blown up in Kansas City’s face. There was absolutely a world in which the team didn’t perform up to snuff this year.

Then, of course, the rest of the conference had to be taken into account. The Bengals were the reigning champs, with Buffalo adding star pass-rusher Von Miller and already having the second-most-talented quarterback in the sport. The Baltimore Ravens were viewed as a preseason dark horse to make a deep playoff run. The Chiefs’ own division, the AFC West, spent an insane amount of money in order to compete with and overtake Kansas City. Acquisitions like Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson in Los Angeles, Davante Adams in Las Vegas and Russell Wilson in Denver were supposed to shift the dynamic of the division and, thus, the conference.

As the month of January comes to a close, however, it’s the Chiefs that still wear the AFC crown. They now have a chance to win the Super Bowl for the second time in the Mahomes era, and they’ll have a good amount of cap space and draft capital to work with now that they’ve almost entirely endured their retooling year. This season, specifically, opened the door for the rest of the AFC as wide as ever before since Mahomes established his excellence back in 2018. Now, all the conference can hope to do is make a leap in 2023-24. If Kansas City accomplished this much with an inexperienced group, there’s no reason to expect much of a step back moving forward.

Motivated Chiefs After Win Against Bengals: ‘Job’s Not Finished’

Getting counted out motivated Kansas City to this point, but more work also remains.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ main incentive they had for defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game was to clinch another Super Bowl berth. With that said, they also had a few other reasons to win.

Kansas City had yet to defeat Cincinnati in the Patrick Mahomes era, and not many expected them to be able to pull it off this time around. After all, Mahomes was playing hurt and Zac Taylor’s squad was just as talented as last year’s unit. Why would this installment of the series be any different in terms of outcome? Additionally, the Bengals made it clear that there was no love lost between them and the Chiefs when cornerback Mike Hilton referred to Arrowhead Stadium as “Burrowhead.” 

Cincinnati’s mayor, Aftab Pureval, even posted a video to his Twitter account sending jabs at Mahomes and company. This game bordered on personal for multiple parties involved and after securing the win, Mahomes said he preferred to let his play on the field speak for itself.

“Yeah, I mean, you’ve got Burrowhead,” Mahomes said. “They beat us last time and they were talking about ‘we’ve got to play them.’ There was a lot of stuff. I mean, the mayor came at me, man. I understand he’s the mayor of Cincinnati so he has to think about something, but it’s something where you’ve just got to play the football game and let your play do the talking.”

Doubling down on that, while also acknowledging that winning the AFC title game is nice, Mahomes said the team still has more work to do. 

“For me, my goal is to win the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, the AFC Championship is something that I’ll forever remember — winning that Lamar Hunt trophy at Arrowhead Stadium — but to me, the job’s not finished.”

Coming into the 2022 campaign, the Chiefs were on the heels of a tumultuous offseason. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was shockingly traded to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a package of draft picks, forcing Mahomes to adjust to free agent signings such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. On top of that, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit saw changes at all levels after several players walked out the door and hit the open market following the conclusion of the season. It wasn’t a “business as usual” offseason in Kansas City, as general manager Brett Veach fundamentally shifted the outlook on the roster.

As such, many picked the Chiefs to not extend their streak of making the AFC Championship Game. Others expected them to not win the AFC West for the first time in over half a decade. There were even folks who said Kansas City would miss the playoffs completely after having such a poor offseason showing. Despite a stellar regular season, some of that doubt didn’t go away leading up to the Bengals game. When asked about the team’s early thoughts on its upside in year one of the current youth movement, Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said the bar was set high within the organization regardless of thoughts from the outside. 

“Internally, we had high expectations understanding the challenge of playing with a bunch of young players,” Hunt said. “If you listened to much of the national media, you would’ve thought that we had no chance. I remember Andy (Reid) commenting in response to a question that, ‘we’re not going to be too bad ourselves’ because people were talking about the other teams in the AFC West. Obviously, really, the credit goes to Andy and the coaching staff for getting those young players ready to play. Of course, tonight, we had numerous young players step up. Some who haven’t played very much over the course of the season, they had an opportunity tonight and they really shined.”

The Chiefs know that more work is left to be done, especially considering that the Super Bowl is a couple of weeks away (and counting). A matchup down in Glendale, AZ against the Philadelphia Eagles offers plenty of intrigue, as Jalen Hurts and company boast one of the most talented and deep rosters in the entire league. The Chiefs opened as underdogs on major betting services but if you ask defensive tackle Chris Jones, that simply gives him and his teammates more motivation to prove people wrong and complete the task at hand. Up next is the ultimate test of the 2022-23 campaign. 

“Listen, man… for some reason, we’re always counted out,” Jones said. “Whether it’s in our division, whether it’s against the Bengals who had beat us three times. We enjoy the motivation that being counted out gives us. I think we’ve got a lot of competitors on this team. We look forward to the challenge.” 

Chiefs Praise Patrick Mahomes Following AFC Championship Win

Multiple people in the Chiefs organization spoke highly of Mahomes after a gutsy performance.

The Kansas City Chiefs faced a tall task in ending their losing streak against the Cincinnati Bengals, and parts of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game were dire. Thanks to some of the team’s best players stepping up, though, Kansas City did enough in the end to advance to the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four seasons.

The play of quarterback Patrick Mahomes was a major reason why.

Playing just eight days after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Divisional Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mahomes completed 29 of his 43 pass attempts for 326 yards and a pair of touchdowns en route to the win. He did all of it without a stable rushing attack — non-Mahomes Chiefs rushers toted the ball 17 times for 36 yards — and with multiple top weapons going down due to injury. Despite that, he played through the pain and gutted out a win against a defense that has historically given him some trouble and after the game, head coach Andy Reid praised his star quarterback. 

“He was pure grit, he and (Travis) Kelce,” Reid said. “For Pat to do what he did and then to have that run at the end… I can’t say enough. He is the MVP, in my eyes.”

That run, a five-yard scramble with 17 seconds left in the game that was capped off by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Joseph Ossai, was a very late turning point. Without the penalty, Kansas City still would’ve had to drive a bit more down the field before presumably kicking a long field goal. Instead, the run and extra yardage tacked on via penalty allowed Harrison Butker’s game-winning boot to be from 45 yards out. Mahomes found a way to contribute to the win in a huge way, and Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt echoed Reid’s sentiment. 

“Andy and I were talking about Patrick earlier in the week, and I mentioned to him that the great ones always find a way to get it done, particularly when they’re facing adversity,” Hunt said. “Patrick certainly showed that tonight.”

General manager Brett Veach shared the same perspective as Hunt, saying that all great players face different things (such as roster turnover or injuries) that they must navigate along their paths to successful careers. This past offseason was perhaps the most challenging of Mahomes’s tenure, as star wideout Tyreek Hill was traded and Mahomes was left having to build chemistry with a group of mostly new receivers. That work still isn’t done, even 20-plus weeks into the season, but it’s going along well. That was adversity set No. 1.

Defensive tackle Chris Jones used the words “warrior” and “resilient” when describing Mahomes after the game. Not only did Mahomes fight through the nagging ankle ailment, but Kelce’s back was also bothering him and a trio of wide receivers — JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman — all exited the game with injuries of their own. That was adversity set No. 2. Ignoring his own pain, Mahomes spent a large chunk of the second half with the likes of Skyy Moore and Marcus Kemp as his primary receiving options outside of Kelce and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. 

In typical Mahomes fashion, he set the standard for this game immediately following the Jaguars win. Just a couple of hours after suffering one of the worst lower-body injuries a quarterback can endure, Mahomes said he planned to play in the AFC Championship Game. That expectation didn’t change throughout the week, and he operated at a high level on Sunday despite limping after multiple plays. When asked about whether there was ever any doubt that Mahomes would suit up for this game, Kelce said that possibility never crossed his mind. 

“I mean, there was no doubt in my mind that he wasn’t going to be out there,” Kelce said. “I knew for a fact that he was going to give this city, this organization and all the guys he goes to work with every single day everything he has. Sure enough, even on that last play, you saw it all come together. You guys know how much I love that guy. It’s moments like that that make it that much more special to be his teammate and that much more special to be a part of the Kansas City Chiefs organization.”

Now, Kelce and his brother Jason will square off in Super Bowl 57. Another storyline to monitor is Reid facing his former team: the Philadelphia Eagles. A third thing to watch is how Mahomes’s ankle progresses over the next couple of weeks leading up to the game. If this was what he’s capable of at well less than 100%, a two-week rest period could work even more wonders. According to Hunt, his quarterback has already played the hero role once this postseason. 

“Watching him play, I was like, ‘Superman put his cape on,'” Hunt said. Tremendous performance all the way around by Patrick.”

Four Takeaways From the Chiefs’ 23-20 Win Over the Bengals

Here are four overarching thoughts on the Chiefs’ AFC Championship Game against the Bengals.

The Kansas City Chiefs hosted their fifth straight AFC Championship Game on Sunday, and a bitter AFC rival was the only thing standing between them and a trip to the Super Bowl. In a rematch of the conference title game from last season against Kansas City, the Cincinnati Bengals entered GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium looking to advance to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. In the end, however, it was the Chiefs who clutched up and came away with a late field goal to secure a 23-20 win. Kansas City is officially going to the Super Bowl for the third time in the Patrick Mahomes era.

Here are four takeaways from Sunday’s game.

1. Chiefs-Bengals is officially a rivalry

All week long, many (deservedly) made it a point to remind the football world of the budding rivalry between Kansas City and Cincinnati. In fairness, though, it was also pointed out that the Chiefs had yet to defeat the Bengals in this Mahomes vs. Joe Burrow series. With a win in attempt No. 4, the Chiefs have officially made this the NFL’s premier matchup between any two teams. The two superstar quarterbacks will surely see plenty of each other in the future, as this isn’t the end of their story against one another. The AFC Championship Game was simply another chapter in that book, and it’s setting up to be a best-seller over the next several years now that the Chiefs have new life.

2. Special teams helped save the day

During the regular season, kicker Harrison Butker was struggling for the Chiefs as he worked his way back from an ankle injury he suffered in Week 1. Rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore was also underwhelming as the team tried him out in the punt returner role. Butker knocking down all of his field goal attempts — including the game-winner — and Moore setting that drive up with arguably his best return of the season sealed the deal in a thrilling victory. Dave Toub’s unit didn’t live up to the hype for most of the season, and that changed completely on Sunday. The Chiefs’ special teams unit now is nowhere near the liability it was in recent months. 

3. Chris Jones is finally a playoff superstar

One of the most talked-about storylines of the postseason was Chris Jones still not having a single sack in the playoffs. Not only did he put that narrative to rest on Sunday, but he logged a pair of sacks in the Chiefs’ win. Additionally, he managed to dominate against double teams throughout the evening and got constant pressure on Burrow. Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive line goes as Jones does, and his Defensive Player of the Year caliber performance helped Kansas City’s defense put up one of its most impressive wire-to-wire games of the entire campaign.

Also, special recognition goes to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for his excellent game. There’s a finite amount of space for takeaways here, but a six-catch, 116-yard game with a touchdown helped provide the Chiefs with every bit of offensive firepower needed to keep things afloat.

4. The week of rest is surely needed due to injuries

Coming into the game, the Chiefs already had multiple players nursing some injuries. Patrick Mahomes’s ankle, Travis Kelce’s back, Mecole Hardman’s pelvis and Justin Watson dealing with an illness all contributed to some early questions, and the in-game developments weren’t better. Kadarius Toney and L’Jarius Sneed were forced out of action in the first half due to injuries and multiple others came up gimpy on several occasions. That left the Chiefs either underperforming or undermanned at a few spots and made things much harder on them than was necessary. It didn’t impact the final outcome, but it surely didn’t help the process to get there. Having some time before the Super Bowl is a massive plus. 

Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed Exits Game vs. Bengals With Apparent Injury

Kansas City’s starting cornerback was slow to get up on the first drive of the game.

The Kansas City Chiefs came into their AFC Championship Game matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals already nursing some injuries, and another one appeared to have set in during the game’s opening drive. On an attempted tackle of Cincinnati running back Samaje Perine, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed got hit in the helmet and remained on the ground thereafter.

Once he got to his feet and walked off to the sideline, something the in-game broadcast described as a “wobble,” Sneed visited the on-site medical tent for further evaluation. After the tent got taken down, Sneed remained on the sideline with his teammates but didn’t have his helmet on. When Kansas City’s defense took the field for the Bengals’ second drive of the first quarter, Sneed didn’t join them. Instead, he headed to the locker room.

Early in that drive, reporter Tracy Wolfson indicated that Sneed was being evaluated for a head injury. The Chiefs then officially confirmed it shortly after. Sneed played all 17 regular-season games for the Chiefs this season, being on the field for 96% of the team’s available snaps on that side of the ball. In those contests, he recorded a career-high 108 tackles (and a 4.4 missed tackle percentage) while also putting up career-bests in passes broken up (11), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (3). In coverage, Sneed allowed an 84.2 passer rating with a 6.2 yards-per-target average.

Sneed has battled various nagging injuries throughout the season, playing through some during games and also being on the team’s weekly injury report several times. In last week’s Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, he recorded nine tackles in 59 total snaps played. Without Sneed on the field, Steve Spagnuolo’s secondary is tasked with fielding a trio of rookie cornerbacks: Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams.

On the Chiefs’ second offensive drive, wide receiver Kadarius Toney limped off to the sideline following a play and was subsequently getting his left foot looked at before ultimately leaving for the locker room. At the beginning of the second quarter, the Chiefs announced that it was an ankle injury for Toney and he’s questionable to return. Right guard Trey Smith collided with wide receiver Mecole Hardman and was slow to get up not too long after that, but he remained in the game.

UPDATE: Near the end of the first half, Sneed was downgraded to out by the Chiefs. He’s now in the league’s concussion protocol.

Chiefs vs. Bengals Inactives: Who’s In, Who’s Out?

Here’s who Kansas City and Cincinnati will be entering the AFC Championship Game without.

Coming off their Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Kansas City Chiefs are now set to host their fifth AFC Championship Game in a row. They’re facing a familiar foe, the Cincinnati Bengals, in the process.

In the 2021-22 postseason, Kansas City and Cincinnati met in the conference title game and it was Zac Taylor’s squad that got the best of Andy Reid’s group. The Bengals are 3-0 against the Chiefs in their last three meetings, with all of those contests being decided by just a field goal each.

A trip to the Super Bowl is on the line and this deep into the season, no one is truly 100% healthy. In advance of the game, Cincinnati ruled out offensive linemen Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams but didn’t have any other players with final injury designations for the game. Kansas City, on the other hand, didn’t rule anyone out on Friday but entered Sunday with three players being listed as questionable. 

With that said, ahead of their playoff game back at home, the Chiefs’ list of inactive players has been released:

The main injury concern for the Chiefs this week was just how quickly Patrick Mahomes could recover from the high-ankle sprain he suffered against Jacksonville. Despite missing time during that game and being visibly hobbled, Mahomes was a full participant in practice throughout the week and didn’t have an injury designation for the game. As expected, he’s active for the AFC Championship Game.

Elsewhere, tight end Travis Kelce gave the team an injury scare when he hurt his back as the week of practice came to a close. He was questionable coming into Sunday’s game and after running some routes on the field in pregame warmups, the star pass-catcher will officially be active. Wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson were both on the injury report as well, with Hardman still nursing a pelvis injury and Watson not practicing on Friday due to an illness. Hardman, who hasn’t played since Nov. 6, could see his first in-game action in over two months on Sunday. Watson, however, is inactive. 

The Bengals’ inactives have also been released:

In addition to the aforementioned duo of Cappa and Williams, the Bengals will head into Sunday’s game without some depth pieces along their defensive line and some other reserves at quarterback, running back and cornerback. Cincinnati is generally in a solid spot health-wise outside of the offensive line, but that unit missing multiple pieces could make Joe Burrow’s job more difficult in his most important game of the year. 

Read More: Chiefs vs. Bengals AFC Championship Game Predictions and Preview

Chiefs vs. Bengals AFC Championship Game Predictions

This AFC Championship Game rematch has all the off-the-field narratives one matchup could ask for. Now, it’s time for the game.

After a week full of trash talk and injury concerns surrounding Patrick Mahomes’s ankle and Travis Kelce’s back, the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals approach kickoff with a chance to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LVII. Here’s how the Arrowhead Report crew sees the rematch playing out.

Joshua Brisco: In a rematch that has already soaked up more than its fair share of pregame drama, the Chiefs’ path to the Super Bowl now relies on Patrick Mahomes’s ankle, Chris Jones’s dominance, and the team’s ability to play mistake-free football. Ultimately, I’m most concerned about that third key, and the Bengals have earned the befit of the doubt for the time being. However, with recent growth from the Chiefs’ defense and the potential for an all-time gameplan from Andy Reid and Co., the case for KC isn’t hard to make. I’ve never disliked or distrusted a prediction more than this one. Virtually nothing would surprise me, other than a ho-hum affair with a real lack of trash talk.
Prediction: Bengals 28, Chiefs 27

Jordan Foote: The Chiefs showed in Week 13 — as well as in their other two matchups against the Bengals — that they’re more than capable of hanging with Cincinnati. Actually defeating Joe Burrow and Co. has been another story, though. Kansas City’s question marks in the middle of the field on defense are legitimate, especially against this specific team. This is hands-down the worst matchup for an otherwise-dominant Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes-led team, and that’s even without factoring in Mahomes’s bum ankle. I can’t pick the Chiefs until they prove that they can beat the Bengals, so another close loss it is.
Prediction: Bengals 31, Chiefs 27

Zack Eisen: I’ve yearned for this game since the Chiefs lost in overtime last year’s AFC Championship Game. This version of the Bengals is the only team to truly have the edge over the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs. Cincinnati boasts a 3-0 record over Kansas City in the last 13 months, but the Chiefs have blown those games more than the Bengals have won them. With a Super Bowl trip on the line, I expect the Chiefs to be focused and at their best.
As the late great Terez Paylor used to say, this is an over-my-dead body game for Kansas City. Mahomes will be absolutely dialed in and play at an all-time level as he leads the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl in four years. Arizona, here we come.
Prediction: Chiefs 34, Bengals 23

Mark Van Sickle: This is it. The rematch we’ve waited nearly a year to see. The Bengals have won three in a row against the Chiefs, so it’s tough to say those were flukey wins despite some very strange things that took place. Most specifically, when it looked like Patrick Mahomes forgot how to play football for the second half of last year’s AFC Championship Game.
That isn’t going to happen again this year. Mahomes will be able to overcome whatever the Bengals throw at him and he will show the world why he is the NFL MVP. The defense will finally get to Joe Burrow and get him on the ground. The Chiefs have too much pride to lose a fourth straight to the Bengals. I know earlier in the season I said I couldn’t pick the Chiefs to beat the Bengals until they could show me with a win. However, the playoffs hit differently.
Andy Reid will have a masterful offensive gameplan, and you get the feeling Mahomes will not let them lose a second consecutive AFC Championship Game at home. The Chiefs will head back to the Super Bowl to face the Philadelphia Eagles in a Super Bowl matchup I predicted before the season!
Prediction: Chiefs 38, Bengals 24

Marlow Ferguson Jr.: Despite it being a real possibility, it’s just incredibly difficult to imagine any team defeating this iteration of the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs four times out of four, particularly with three of the four at home. The Bengals haven’t been shy about providing bulletin-board material, something that would normally immediately make one lean Kansas City’s way. But, a few factors are just difficult to ignore:
1. The Bengals’ defense has matched its offense’s brilliance; they’ve allowed just 18.1 postseason points per game in the Burrow era.
2. The Chiefs rank 31st in defending No. 1 wide receivers, with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins coming to town, and, of course…
3. Injuries to both Mahomes and Kelce.
Even so, the Chiefs have always just found a way. Emotion trumps logic in this prediction, and that means a Kansas City win.
Prediction: Chiefs, 28; Bengals, 26

Conner Christopherson: The Chiefs will eventually beat the Bengals, but I don’t think it will be this year. While Patrick Mahomes was healthier than expected off a fresh ankle sprain last week, I have a hard time believing he will be 100%. Coupled with disciplined Bengals edge rushers, that is a huge cause of concern for me. Mahomes needs to turn in his best pure pocket passing game of his career in order for the offense to be consistent and win.
That is not the only worry I have, though. The Bengals’ offense targeted the Chiefs’ middle-of-the-field defense relentlessly last time these teams played, and I have a hard time seeing the Chiefs’ defense solve this issue for the rematch. Steve Spagnuolo and the defensive players will have to play their best game of the season for them to slow down the Bengals enough to win. The player to watch this game is Isiah Pacheco, because if he can run well and break off one or two big runs, the Chiefs have a much better chance of getting to the Super Bowl. For me, however, I just don’t think the Chiefs will be able to do enough.
Prediction: Bengals 30, Chiefs 29

Read More: Chiefs’ Historic Half-Decade Leads to Another Potential Payoff at Arrowhead

How to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Here’s how you can follow along as KC looks to book a trip to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a big Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the opportunity for revenge has presented itself for Sunday.

Coming into town are the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that faced Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game just a year ago. After the Chiefs got out to a commanding lead in the first half of that matchup, Joe Burrow and company came storming back and pulled off an improbable victory to advance to the Super Bowl. That ended the Chiefs’ season on a sour note, and they’ll be looking to avoid a similar fate this time around.

The main storyline for this week’s game has centered around Patrick Mahomes’s ankle, as the star quarterback suffered a high-ankle sprain last week but is playing through the pain in Kansas City’s biggest game of the season. Both teams project to deliver a matchup worthy of the hype, and the winner will earn bragging rights as the proverbial top dog in the conference before playing in the Super Bowl down in Glendale.

Here’s how you can follow along with the Chiefs as they play today.

Time: 5:30 p.m. CST

TV Channel: CBS (KCTV-5 in local markets)

Live Stream: fuboTV (start your free trial)

Listen: WDAF (106.5 FM) Chiefs Radio Network

Betting Line: Chiefs -1.5 per SI Sportsbook

The Sunday evening broadcast will feature the duo of Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Tony Romo (color commentary) in the booth with Tracy Wolfson and Jay Feely reporting. Ron Torbert and crew will officiate the playoff matchup.

For updates throughout the game and after the action has concluded, including plenty of postgame content, keep it locked in right here at Arrowhead Report and follow us on Twitter @ArrowheadReport for additional coverage, commentary and more.

Read More: Final Chiefs Injury Updates Before AFC Championship Game

Chiefs’ Historic Half-Decade Leads to Another Potential Payoff at Arrowhead

With leadership from Reid, Mahomes and Veach, the Chiefs have made NFL history over the last five seasons. Now, the Chiefs have to finish the job at Arrowhead.

The Kansas City Chiefs officially punched their ticket to a fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game after a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last weekend. However, the Chiefs needed the Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Buffalo Bills the following day to host the game in their home stadium for a fifth-consecutive year. Due to an NFL ruling that stated a Bills and Chiefs AFC Championship Game would be played at a neutral site, all eyes were on the game in Buffalo.

The Bengals came through with a big 27-10 win on the road, thus setting up an NFL-record fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. There is one common theme over the past five years that has brought such sustained success to the Chiefs: quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid.

Mahomes took over as starting quarterback in 2018 and the Chiefs have not only played in every AFC Championship Game since then, they have hosted the game each season. It seems like a stat that has gone underappreciated, but Mahomes has never played a road game in the playoffs in his first five years as a starter in the NFL. Technically, when the Chiefs played in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was a neutral-site game, even though the game was played in Tampa. However, it is absolutely insane that Mahomes has captained so much regular-season success that it has set up the team to play so many home games in the playoffs.

It’s easy to forget about Reid, despite his status as one of the most successful coaches in the history of the league. Last weekend, Reid became the first head coach in NFL history to win 10 playoff games with two franchises. He’s never on Coach of the Year lists because he’s been so consistent in his career. He often gets overlooked because he has a superstar quarterback that has transcended the game. Make no mistake, Reid is the conductor that keeps the train moving forward and he will need to showcase his talents as a game-planner once again to get the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl.

Before the 2022 season began, many national pundits predicted a dropoff for the Chiefs. Some were more extreme than others, but the Chiefs weren’t a consensus pick to win the AFC West for the first time in years. The Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Las Angeles Chargers all made key additions to their teams in the offseason, while the Chiefs traded away an All-Pro wide receiver.

While everyone else was playing checkers, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was playing chess. One thing that no one could predict was how good this 2022 rookie class would become. This is back-to-back years when Veach has hit a home run through the draft. In the last two draft classes, the Chiefs have added starters and regular contributors on both sides of the ball. Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Nick Bolton have all become starters from the 2021 class and Noah Gray has given the Chiefs another tight end weapon behind Travis Kelce.

In the 2022 class, Trent McDuffie, George Karlaftis, Jaylen Watson and Isiah Pacheco have all jumped into starting roles with the team. Bryan Cook, Joshua Williams, and Leo Chenal have been awarded a number of quality snaps throughout the season. Wide receiver Skyy Moore’s snaps have been limited but he has seen more action when players ahead of him on the depth chart have gone down due to injury.

The key contributions from the young core of players not only helped the soft rebuild, but it seems to have opened a new Super Bowl window wide open for this team. Mahomes’s salary cap hit will continue to grow in the coming seasons, and having reliable young starters on both sides of the ball will continue to be an advantage for the Chiefs.

This Sunday, in a rematch between the Bengals, revenge will be on the mind of the home team. Yes, the Bengals have beaten the Chiefs three straight times, including last year in the AFC Championship Game. However, this year’s team is built differently than last year’s team. The defense is younger, quicker, and more physical. The offense has shown itself to be a well-rounded unit from top-to-bottom. The midseason addition of wide receiver Kadarius Toney can not be overstated in a game like this and there’s a chance wide receiver Mecole Hardman will be available to play after an extended absence. Both players were not available in the regular season meeting with the Bengals. There’s no doubt Reid will be scheming to get the ball in the hands of these two playmakers.

A win would send the Chiefs to a third Super Bowl in five years. That would firmly place the Chiefs in dynasty territory. We are in the midst of an unprecedented run, not just with the Chiefs, but in NFL history. Five straight AFC Championship Games in Kansas City. Don’t take this coach, this quarterback, or this team as a whole for granted. Chiefs Kingdom, enjoy it, we are living in the glory days. 

Final Chiefs Injury Updates Before AFC Championship Game

Kansas City’s Friday practice sheds new light on availability for Sunday’s playoff game.

The Kansas City Chiefs finished up their final practice of the work week ahead of their Sunday matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, and they have revenge on their minds as the AFC Championship Game looms.

In a rematch of last season’s matchup and also a Week 13 meeting this season, Kansas City is hosting the conference title game for an NFL record fifth time in a row. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is looking for another road win at Arrowhead Stadium that advances them to the Super Bowl in back-to-back campaigns. It’s true “win or go home” time for both clubs, and the entire season is hanging in the balance.

Late on Friday morning, the Bengals ruled out offensive linemen Jonah Williams and Alex Cappa for another week. Head coach Zac Taylor was unsure of whether either player would potentially be available for the Super Bowl, as his team still has to get past Kansas City first. On the Chiefs’ side, head coach Andy Reid took the podium on Friday afternoon to provide some updates on a few of his players for the final time before this week’s game. 

As expected, quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a good enough week of practice to remain in the lineup for Sunday’s game. Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain during the Chiefs’ Divisional Round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he had a better week than he expected and will be active in Kansas City’s biggest game of the season. How mobile and effective he’ll be on Sunday remains to be seen, but he was adamant early in the week that he wouldn’t miss this contest. Now, per Reid, that’s official. 

Elsewhere for the Chiefs, wide receiver Justin Watson missing practice with an illness doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in line to miss Sunday’s game. Assuming he’ll be good to go, Kansas City will avoid losing someone who was on the field for 56% of the offense’s snaps in the Divisional Round. The status of wideout Mecole Hardman is more up-in-the-air, as Reid said he looked better than he did last week but the team didn’t have a final decision on his playing status as of early Friday afternoon.

Of two main players on the injured reserve list (tight end Jody Fortson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire), Reid said the former could “potentially” be activated to the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game. It appeared early in the week that Fortson had more of an inside track at getting activated than Edwards-Helaire, and any potential move on the roster front would likely take place on Saturday if Fortson does end up re-joining his teammates in that capacity.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Tight end Travis Kelce was added to the Friday injury report with a back injury despite being a full participant in practice. He’s questionable for Sunday’s game, as are Hardman and Watson. Additionally, Mahomes didn’t have an injury designation for the game and linebacker Nick Bolton was put on the report with an ankle injury. 

Read More: Lessons the Chiefs Can Take Into Sunday’s Game Against Bengals

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