5 keys to victory for Bengals in AFC Championship game vs. Chiefs

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Take advantage of turnover opportunities

In their Jan. 2 win over the Chiefs, not only did the Bengals fail to sack the quarterback, but they also did not get a single turnover. To beat the Chiefs when their offense is not allowing Mahomes to be hit or giving the ball away is an impressive feat that probably can not be repeated on the road. On Sunday, the Bengals will have to make the Chiefs turn the ball over.

They were certainly given opportunities to turn the ball over in their Week 17 matchup. There were two points in the game were the Bengals dropped interceptions, one by slipping through Eli Apple’s hands and one being knocked out of Mike Hilton’s hands by the receiver he was guarding. Turnover luck was on the Chiefs side in their first matchup, but do not expect the Bengals to let two turnovers slip through their fingers so easily this time around.

In the Wildcard and Divisional rounds, Lou Anarumo’s defense has done a great job of getting turnovers. Against the Raiders, Trey Hendrickson knocked the ball out of Derek Carr’s hand on a strip sack that was recovered by Larry Ogunjobi, and then linebacker Germaine Pratt sealed the victory with an interception on a goal-line stand at the end of the game.

In the following week against the Titans, the Bengals intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times, and without even one of those picks, they would probably be at home watching the AFC Championship from their couches.

While he may be the best quarterback in the NFL, Mahomes is not immune to throwing interceptions. With 13 interceptions in the regular season, he has thrown more picks this season than in any other year in his career.

With ballhawks like Jessie Bates and Logan Wilson on the Bengals’ defense, they are fully equipped to take advantages of opportunities that Mahomes may give them. Winning the turnover battle will be crucial to the Bengals’ success on Sunday.