Bengals are playing mind games with the Chiefs ahead of AFC Championship

Kansas City Chiefs, Chris Lammons
Kansas City Chiefs, Chris Lammons / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

While the Chiefs are taking things day by day with Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury, the Cincinnati Bengals are out here playing chess.

Mahomes is trending toward playing in the AFC Championship on Sunday but is expected to be limited given his high ankle sprain.

A hobbling Mahomes will certainly help the Bengals' chances of winning the AFC in back-to-back seasons. Another asset? Cornerback Chris Lammons.

Cincinnati claimed Lammons off waivers from the Chiefs, where he mainly served as a special teams stud and depth piece on the practice squad.

The transaction will not go into effect until mid-February, but the Bengals are allowed to talk to Lammons before then.

Bengals claim former Chiefs CB Chris Lammons before crucial playoff matchup

It's hard to ignore the conspicuous timing of the Bengals' waiver claim.

Cincinnati boasts a mostly healthy secondary heading into the AFC Championship round with cornerback Chidobe Awuzie being the biggest defensive loss of the season.

Mike Hilton, Eli Apple, and Cam Taylor Britt have helped buoy the corner unit in Awuzie's absence, and following two solid defensive playoff performances, there's not much reason for Cincinnati to pick up extra reinforcements.

Unless, of course, the Bengals are trying to get some inside information on the enemy. Kansas City's defense sticks out as the team's most glaring weakness, finishing in the middle of the league in opponent points per game in the regular season.

In their last three meetings, Cincinnati has put up 29.33 points per game against the Chiefs, and being able to go toe-to-toe against Mahomes (even an injured Mahomes) will be one of the Bengals' keys to winning the game.

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Still, there's no way of knowing where Lammons' allegiance lies or whether he has any valuable information on Kansas City's defensive scheme in the first place. Brett Veach clearly knew this was a possibility. Regardless of the roster move, expect the Bengals to come out with fists swinging on Sunday.