Omni (WSN)

Dec 29, 2021

The Kansas City Chiefs are peaking at the right time. With eight straight victories and a sixth straight division title claimed in the AFC West, the Chiefs are once again rolling with the top seed in the AFC in hand, for now at least, with only two games left to play.

Given their momentum, it makes sense that they are favored in Week 17. But the Chiefs also know they cannot overlook a young Cincinnati Bengals team that’s also beginning to find its mojo. The Bengals are now 9-6 and in first place all alone atop the AFC North, a division that’s not exactly easy to come out in front. Despite a very, very young core and serious issues in the trenches—especially offensively—the Bengals have won four of six games since their bye week and even one of those losses came in overtime (San Francisco 49ers). Just last week Joe Burrow threw for over 500 yards and the Bengals roasted the Ravens in an important divisional game. While the Chiefs should still be favored by experts and oddsmakers given their overall talent, coaching acumen, and experience, the Bengals are an exciting upstart team whose best days are clearly ahead of them. That makes Week 17 very important for both teams. The Bengals are hoping to show real maturity in Zac Taylor’s second season by being able to finish well—something most young teams struggle with. For the Chiefs, a slip in the standings could allow the Tennessee Titans to overtake them for that top seed instead. Don’t expect the Chiefs to lose focus here and they should come away from Cincy with a close win. Chiefs 24-20 Bengals.