The AFC Championship game is set, and it's the matchup we've all been waiting for: the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bengals fans will naturally complain about how the league screwed them over after the Damar Hamlin incident since the championship game is set to take place at Arrowhead Stadium.
Had the Buffalo Bills beat the Bengals on Sunday, the game would have been held at a neutral site. But the Bengals didn't let that happen, and they'll be facing a very familiar opponent in yet another high-stakes playoff game.
Before the media writes off the Bengals again in 2023, let's establish a few hard-boiled facts: the Bengals are 3-0 against the Chiefs in the Joe Burrow era.
In two regular season matchups and one playoff matchup, Burrow has beaten Mahomes and the Chiefs three straight times: 34-31, 27-24, and most recently 27-24 this past season.
Bengals will meet Chiefs in the AFC Championship for the second straight postseason
One could have argued that one or two of those victories were because of luck, but three times? The Bengals, for whatever reason, just have the Chiefs' number.
To make matters worse for Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes will likely be playing with a heavily taped ankle -- Mahomes suffered an ankle injury in the Divisional Round win against the Jacksonville Jaguars and left the game briefly.
Reports say Mahomes has a high ankle sprain and will be limited in some capacity for the rest of the postseason.
The Chiefs avoided a major injury scare and still managed to eke out a win against the oft-underestimated Jaguars, and by all accounts, Mahomes appears set on playing in the championship.
Kansas City had the easier road to get to this point, having secured the top seed in the AFC, but just because Chiefs players are more well-rested doesn't mean they have an edge against the Bengals.
If anything, the Bengals are steamrolling into this rematch with all the momentum right now. Coming off a dominant victory against the Bills, Cincy also beat a hard-nosed divisional rival in the Baltimore Ravens, rescued by Tyler Huntley's huge gaffe at the goal line in the second half of the game.
If anyone doubts the Bengals right now, don't. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes make quite the head coach-quarterback duo, but Zac Taylor just coached the pants off of Bills' Sean McDermott.
The following two facts are true and are not mutually exclusive: Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, but the Bengals can beat anybody in 2023.