NFL Championship Weekend: A Look at the Rest of the Bengals’ Season

NFL Championship Weekend: A Look at the Rest of the Bengals’ Season

Ethan Rezer, Sports Co-Editor '23

The Cincinnati Bengals are getting hot at the right time. Following two playoff victories, the Bengals are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the fourth time in Joe Burrow’s career. The difference this time? The Bengals are FAVORITES.

With MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes nursing a high ankle sprain, the Mahomes Magic will be put on hold as the Bengals face a less superhuman version of the star quarterback. If they win against the Chiefs on Sunday, the Bengals will look ahead to playing in their second straight Super Bowl. The Bengals are certainly looking to return to their unfinished business and win the first Super Bowl in franchise history, but the competition they will face is critical to their performance.

This article will be structured as brief profiles of the other three remaining teams and how they match up against the Bengals.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have been the team to beat in the NFL for years thanks to their star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. The difference for these NFL playoffs is that Mahomes is dealing with a nagging ankle injury he suffered in last week’s narrow win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round.

This team is certainly not a pushover even with Mahomes injured, though. They still have one of the best coaches in the league and one of the greatest tight ends of all time, among other stars on the roster. The Bengals will need to bring their all if they want to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City for the chance to compete in the Super Bowl.

Luckily for the Bengals, this is a scenario the team is all too familiar with. Just a year ago, the Cincinnati Bengals played the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City for the chance to compete in the Super Bowl, a game that they won thanks to a game-winning field goal from rookie kicker Evan McPherson.

Joe Burrow has never lost to Patrick Mahomes’s Chiefs in his career and has won three times. Burrow will look to make it a fourth as the Bengals travel to Kansas City for Sunday’s game.

Philadelphia Eagles

We move to the NFC, the NFL’s other conference, for the remaining competitors against the Bengals with my favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles. I will try to keep it as unbiased as possible. (No promises…)

The Eagles are the #1 seed team in the NFC after finishing the season with a 14-3 record. The team is regarded as one of the NFL’s most complete rosters with stars at every position. The team is well-coached and full of potential alongside experienced veterans. However, most longtime Bengals fans would be surprised to realize that their team has more experience when it comes to playing in a Super Bowl than league favorites like the Eagles.

The main concern for the Bengals should they match up against Philadelphia is that the Eagles sacked the quarterback a whopping 70 times this season – the third-most sacks all-time by an NFL team.

Fortunately, Joe Burrow is used to running for his life in a Super Bowl having played behind the Bengals offensive line in last year’s game.

In all seriousness, the Bengals should do a much better job protecting their quarterback if their offensive line plays as well as they did in last week’s resounding victory over the Buffalo Bills. On a side note, this was my Super Bowl prediction in the last article, and both teams are still in the playoffs as of now. It could still happen… but I did pick the Eagles to win in that prediction (look away, Bengals fans).

San Francisco 49ers

The final competitor is a fierce defensive-minded team that matches up against Philadelphia this Sunday. The winner will play in the Super Bowl against the winner of the Bengals-Chiefs game.

San Francisco’s main weakness is the inexperience of their rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy was drafted with the very last pick of this year’s NFL Draft, an honor rewarded with the illustrious title “Mr. Irrelevant.” It’s safe to say that Purdy has transcended that title after an undefeated 8-0 record since he took over the starting job.

The key to beating the 49ers will certainly be putting Purdy under pressure, but it appears to be more difficult than teams would think to put Mr. Irrelevant on edge. This would also be a fun matchup as the Bengals would get a chance to get revenge on the 49ers for beating them in two Super Bowls.

The Bengals know what they need to do if they want to host the Lombardi trophy on February 12. They will need to win two more games, but they could be the toughest two games of the entire year.

Regardless of what happens, we all know that these next few weeks will be a blast in the NFL football world.