Week 17 will give us a rematch of the past two AFC Championship Games, as the Cincinnati Bengals head to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs.
Admittedly, this game lost a lot of its luster when Joe Burrow went down for the season over a month ago. That being said, there is still plenty for both teams to play for other than bragging rights. The Chiefs can clinch their division for an eighth straight year with a win while the Bengals can keep their playoff hopes alive if they go into Arrowhead and leave with a win.
To get more insight on the Chiefs, who have been struggling mightily over the past month, I reached out to Matt Conner of Arrowhead Addict, FanSided's site dedicated to the Kansas City Chiefs. Matt and I discussed the Chiefs' struggles, what the fans are thinking right now, and how he thinks this game will go.
One of the biggest things that Matt mentioned was that the Chiefs are very much a team that keeps shooting themselves in the foot. He said if they can avoid doing that this week, they should be able to hand the Bengals a potential season-ending loss. Check out our entire conversation below.
Bengals vs. Chiefs Week 17 Q&A
Q: What is the biggest problem for the Chiefs during their rough patch?
Matt: It feels impossible to distill down to a single sentence, but it feels like if you had to point to one thing, it would be the drain of so many veteran parts in the last year. The loss of veteran coaches and players—from the Tyreek trade to the release of Frank Clark to Eric Bieniemy leaving for Washington to an overly green WR room to two new tackles—just became too much to overcome. While the defense has remained successful, the overall team and specifically the offense has succumbed to silly mistakes and miscommunication game after game.
Q: Are Chiefs fans concerned about the Bengals coming into Arrowhead or do they think their team will right the ship this week?
Matt: Everyone is concerned and rightfully so, but it’s less about Cincinnati and more about the team’s penchant for shooting itself in the foot. Of course, the Bengals being the Bengals doesn’t help anything, but it feels more like a cherry on top—e.g. “Oh, of course it’s Bengals week”—than any real fear of facing Cincinnati. And no one, by the way, will believe the Chiefs will right the ship until they see it happen first.
Q: If the Chiefs make it to the playoffs (which feels pretty likely but you never know), do you think they can go on a run or does this team feel one-and-done?
Matt: Fans will feel otherwise, but most of the Kingdom tends to ebb and flow with too much emotional fluidity. The truth is that the AFC is so wide open that anything can happen. We’ve watched the Chiefs take care of playoff teams and roll over for weaker franchises. So if you said they’d miss the playoffs entirely, I’d believe it. However, I’d also believe they could repeat as champs.
Q: In one sentence, tell us how you think this game will go.
Matt: Oh man, this feels like a complete roll of the dice. Can that be my sentence? If not, I’ll just say this, “The Chiefs have to find a way forward or the questions asked are going to be loud and quite uncomfortable and that alone should compel them to at least score enough to win."
Q: The Chiefs will win if____.
Matt: The Chiefs will win if they can get out of their own way.
Q: What's your score prediction?
Matt: I gotta believe K.C. won’t make us go down to the wire just to clinch the division when they’ve had it firmly in their grasp since the beginning of the season. Let’s say a closer than it should be 21-20 win for the Chiefs.
Thanks again to Matt for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out his work over on Arrowhead Addict!