Behind Enemy Lines: Breaking down Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 13




 

Since the schedule was announced, most everyone has had Week 13 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Chiefs vs. Bengals circled in red ink.

The showdown - foolishly not on primetime, by the way - is a rematch of last year's Bengals upset of the Chiefs in the regular season and the same result from the AFC title game.

It's a matchup of elite quarterbacks and quite a bit more, so to get a handle on the showdown with huge playoff implications, we linked up with Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire to get the inside scoop on things from Kansas City's perspective.

Here's a look at our quick Q&A session.

 

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Bengals Wire: For those out of the loop, what have the Chiefs changed dramatically on the defensive side of the ball since last year's two encounters with the Bengals?

Chiefs Wire: The entire secondary is different for the most part. The only two holdovers are L'Jarius Sneed and Juan Thornhill - and Sneed is having an All-Pro type of season after a sophomore slump in 2021. First-round pick Trent McDuffie has been every bit the lockdown corner that was advertised coming out of Washington. Joshua Williams is a size/speed guy out of Fayetteville State, who will likely see a lot of Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase. They grabbed safety Bryan Cook out of Cincinnati in the second round and he's been solid depth. The same goes for seventh-rounder Jaylen Watson, who filled in for McDuffie early this season. Then, I'd be remiss not to mention the defensive line. They've got former Bengals edge rusher Carlos Dunlap, who has been stellar in his year 33 season. Rookie George Karlaftis leads the NFL in passes batted by an edge rusher. Frank Clark isn't new, but he might as well be. He's in the best shape he's been in since arriving in Kansas City and it has made a huge difference in his performance. This is easily the best and most athletic defensive unit that Steve Spagnuolo has had during his tenure in Kansas City.

 

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals Wire: Is the consensus that the Chiefs can figure out the Bengals and start getting past them regularly? Or is it more like the Titans (Mike Vrabel is 0-3 vs. Zac Taylor already) in that the Bengals just have their number no matter what?

Chiefs Wire: I mean it's hard to beat the same team multiple times. That's why you see such parity within NFL divisions with all these teams that play each other often. I think no matter what, with Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback, the Chiefs are always going to have a chance no matter who they're playing. The AFC title game last year - where the offense really struggled in the second half and the defense gave up big plays - that performance has been a huge driving force for this team and its latest evolution. It'd be a huge letdown if they were unable to get the job done this time.

 

Syndication: The Enquirer

Bengals Wire: Is the odd-seeming trash talk from Justin Reid a normal thing? Will it have an impact?

Chiefs Wire: I don't know. I think the whole thing is a little overblown. I don't think Reid meant any disrespect by not knowing Hayden Hurst's name off the top. He knew his jersey number, which is how many players study personnel in the league and he was just expressing confidence in his own abilities. I am fully expecting Hurst to plant Reid into the turf at some point, though. He's definitely a better blocker than given credit for. I also wouldn't be shocked to see Reid pay a little more attention to Ja'Marr Chase's side of the field after his "Tuna in a Can" comment. Outside of that, I'm not sure it has much impact at all.

 

Syndication: The Enquirer

Bengals Wire: Early in the season, defenses threw out Cover 2 and the Bengals inexplicably looked like they couldn't believe it. But now they were rolling without Ja'Marr Chase. What do you think the approach will look like for a defense that needs to slow Burrow and Chase?

Chiefs Wire: It's funny because that sounds exactly like what the Chiefs were dealing with a lot last season with all the Cover 2 shells against Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Not sure what it is about that coverage, but it makes even the best quarterbacks want to pull their hair out. I spoke a bit about the revamped secondary in Kansas City earlier and I truly think that Brett Veach invested in the guys he did specifically for a team like the Bengals. They're not allowing as many explosive plays as they did last season and they've got a host of guys who can compete with Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins at the catch point. So just from a personnel standpoint, I think they're better prepared for this group than they've been. I'm not sure they'll need to get too creative schematically and stray from what they normally do.

 

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Bengals Wire: Is this a successful revenge game for the Chiefs or do the Bengals make another statement as an underdog?

Chiefs Wire: If the Chiefs aren't focused on the task at hand and get too caught up in the emotions of their last loss to the Bengals, they're not going to win this game. If they put ego aside and are focused on learning from their mistakes in the last loss they're going to win. Despite the banter from Justin Reid, I expect that the guys who were on the team last year are dialed in. I think they come out on top 31-24 with a either game-winning drive from Patrick Mahomes or a big defensive stand. Basically, something that absolves them of past failures against Cincy.

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire

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