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.