Sunday Night Football: Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
What to Watch For:
Well, to put it simply, this is the best matchup of the week. Both teams coming off heartbreaking losses at the hands of Big Ben and Terrific Tom last week. They both need to right the ship and get back in the win column as they sit atop very tight divisional races.
This would be a defining win for Cincinnati after failing to close out Pittsburgh in a well-played game last week. It’ll be tough for sure, the Bengals have the 29th ranked defense in the NFL and we saw last Sunday night how explosive this Chiefs’ offense is. For the Bengals to have a chance, they’ll need to slow the game down. Play at their own pace, run the ball, and control the clock. The best defense against KC is a good, methodical offense that keep Mahomes on the sideline.
Kansas City, on the other end of the spectrum, wants to make this a high-flying, chunk play game. There’s no team better at scoring quickly and connecting on big, chunk plays down the field with Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. If Cincinnati lets the Chiefs get into a groove moving up and down the field quickly, it’ll be a long night for the Bengals.
Prediction: Chiefs win 38-27
TE Travis Kelce
Where last week was the Tyreek Hill show for the Chiefs, I see this week being the Travis Kelce show. Hill is becoming so explosive that teams have to gameplan against him by putting a safety 30 yards downfield, or something like that. The Bengals will attempt to take him away as much as possible to protect against the quick, chunk plays that it’ll leave Kelce roaming the middle of the field in single coverage.
RB Joe Mixon
Mixon is primed to have a big game largely due to volume. In order for the Bengals to have a chance in this game, they need to run the ball well to limit Kansas City’s possessions. This is perfect for Mixon’s fantasy owners. He should see the ball often, especially early on. With no Gio Bernard, even if the Bengals fall behind early, Mixon will remain in as the receiving back as well while playing catch up. I can see 25-30 touches for him tonight, perhaps with a couple of scores.
QB Andy Dalton
The style of game the Chiefs like to play does not favor a guy like Dalton. He performs best when in low-scoring, slow-paced games, which is why I think he will struggle tonight. If the game is going in the Bengals favor, that means they’re running the ball well and controlling the clock. Not ideal for Dalton’s fantasy owners. If the game is not going in their favor, that means they’ll be playing from behind, perhaps well behind, and that is also not ideal for Dalton’s fantasy owners. If the game shifts this direction, Dalton may try to do too much in attempting to keep with Mahomes throw for throw, causing him to make some mistakes.
WR Tyreek Hill
As I stated earlier, I believe this game will be more focused around Travis Kelce. Hill has proven that his big play tendency is not exclusive to the 2017 season. He is the single most explosive deep threat in the NFL. Teams are noticing; someone is going to figure how to slow that down. I think the Bengals are going to do everything in their power to contain him for the night and keep him in front of them. All the attention on him will open up Kelce in the middle, as I previously mentioned, but that doesn’t bode as well for Hill’s fantasy outlook.