The 4-2 Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a 28-21 loss to the Steelers that they shoulda-coulda won if it weren’t for Big Ben Roethlisberger’s uncanny knack for beating Ohio football teams. The Bengals defense gave up 369 passing yards and over 100 rushing yards and though their offense gave them a one-point lead with just 1:18 left in the game, they still couldn’t keep Big Ben and wide receiver Anthony Brown out of the end zone.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is having a decent year (149 completions for 1,674 yards and 14 touchdowns) except he’s thrown 7 interceptions, and only four other NFL quarterbacks have thrown more this season. Dalton should do well against Kansas City’s passing defense, ranked 31st in the league.
The 5-1 Kansas City Chiefs came within a last minute field goal of taking the New England Patriots into overtime in Foxborough last week, but they made the mistake of tying the game too quickly on a Tyreek Hill 70-yard touchdown that left almost two minutes for Tom Brady to work with. Brady eventually hit tight end Gronkowski to put them in field goal range and their kicker did the rest to win 43-40.
Though it was the Chiefs’ first loss, second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes proved he’s for real by throwing for four second-half touchdowns and putting his team in a position to win an away game. Mahomes is no fluke, and he and his 5th ranked offense will be playing at home in Arrowhead where they’re still undefeated.
If the Bengals win this matchup, they’ll move to 5-2 and stay atop the AFC North with the Baltimore Ravens, alone or tied depending on how the 4-2 Ravens do against the 4-1 New Orleans Saints. But if the Chiefs come out on top, they’ll be 6-1 and stay at least a game in front of the Los Angeles Chargers and firmly atop the AFC West.
Who’s favored to win this Week 7 Bengals-Chiefs matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Bengals and the Chiefs and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Bengals offense more effective with Mixon
Quarterback Dalton’s offense is ranked 23rd in the league, their passing game slightly better (17th) than their run game (25th). That’s most likely because running back Joe Mixon had to miss two games in order to undergo a procedure to remove a dislodged particle in his knee. It didn’t seem to affect him against the Steelers when he ran 11 times for 64 yards and a touchdown and caught 4 balls for 20 yards.
Besides Mixon, Dalton has three main passing targets and he used them well against the Steelers. 7xPro Bowl, 2x Second-team All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Green caught for 85 yards and his counterpart Tyler Boyd for 62 yards and a touchdown, both off seven catches. C.J Uzomah, the giant (6-foot-5, 271-pounds) tight end, caught six balls for 54 yards.
They should all have a productive game against a Chiefs’ defense that allows opponents to pass for an average of 340.3 yards per game.
The 2018 Chiefs offense fun to watch
The Chiefs offense is a circus show. Quarterback Mahomes’ arm is a cannon, and he launches footballs to the Cheetah, aka wide receiver Tyreek Hill, known as the fastest man in the NFL. Or he targets the strong man, Second-team All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who’s caught 33 balls this season for 468 yards and three touchdowns.
The other main event is freak show running back Kareem Hunt, an All-Rookie last year who’s rushed for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns and caught for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Right now the Chiefs are one of the Greatest Offensive Shows on Earth, or at least in the NFL, and they’re going to be fun to watch against one of the leagues weakest defenses, besides their own.
Bengals Defense ranks 29th in the league, Chiefs D ranks 32th
Last week, the Bengals defense never sacked or intercepted the Steelers’ Big Ben, and that’s been an ongoing problem. They only have five total interceptions and 13 sacks all season and they have allowed opponents to convert 53.4 percent of their third downs, ranked 31st in the league.
Linebacker Nick Vigil was having a stellar year with 51 combined tackles (6th best) and two passes defended but he was injured against the Steelers (sprained MCL) and will be sidelined for about a month. Backup Vincent Rey will play in his place, which might be good news for the Chiefs’ running game, namely Hunt.
The Chiefs’ defense is ranked last in the NFL – they allow opponents to move the ball 468.2 yards and score 28.7 points per game. But on the bright side – they’ve sacked opposing quarterbacks 17 times (tied for 10th best), intercepted 6 passes (tied for 9th best) and have only allowed opponents to convert 33.8 percent of their third downs (6th best).
Neither of the Chiefs’ starting safeties played in Week 6 – Eric Murray (ankle) and Eric Berry (heel) – and when this article was written, both were still considered inactive. And that’s after two more safeties were placed on injured reserve: Armani Watts (groin) and Daniel Sorensen (knee). Backups Josh Shaw and Ron Parker will fill in, so the Bengals’ Green should have free reign of the secondary.
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Cincinnati’s punter, Kevin Huber, has been in the league and with the Bengals since 2009. So far, he’s punted 22 times for a net average of 36.3 yards per punt, ranked 30th in the league.
Kansas City’s 14-year veteran punter, Dustin Colquitt, has been a Chief his whole career and so far, he’s punted 16 times for a net average of 45.5 yards per punt, ranked first in the league.
Cincinnati’s journeyman placekicker, Randy Bullock, is now playing for his fifth new team, sixth if you count his first brief stint with the Bengals in 2016. Bullock is 7-for-9, his longest a 51-yarder. He hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (21/21).
Kansas City’ placekicker, Harrison Butker, was an All-Rookie last season and so far he’s 11-for-11, his longest was a 46-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (26/26).
Cincinnati’s punt returner, wide receiver Alex Erickson, is ranked 27th in the league in return average. He’s returned 6 punts for 46 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 7.7 yards per return, his longest for 13 yards. Last week against the Steelers, Erickson also returned three kickoffs for 122 yards, 40.7 yards per return.
Kansas City’s punt returner, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, is ranked 2nd in the league in return average. He’s returned 6 punts for 139 yards and a touchdown, averaging 23.2 yards per return, his longest for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Bengals-Chiefs prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Chiefs favored over the Bengals by 5.5 with an over/under of 58.5.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it Chiefs 31, Bengals 27
John Breech takes the under and predicts it Chiefs 30, Bengals 27