The Kansas City Chiefs begin what they hope is a historic season for the franchise when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in both teams’ preseason opener on Saturday night. The Chiefs are celebrating their 60th season as a franchise and are hoping to end it with their second Super Bowl title.
Kansas City has the reigning MVP in quarterback Patrick Mahomes leading the way and is hoping to take the next step after falling to New England in last year’s AFC Championship Game. Cincinnati is just trying to get back to the postseason after missing out on the playoff party the last three seasons. It won’t be easy, with perennial playoff contenders Pittsburgh and Baltimore and up-and-coming Cleveland all in the same division.
The moneyline for this contest has the Cincinnati Bengals +175 and the Kansas City Chiefs -200. Kansas City is a four-point favorite in the game, with the over/under set at 37.5.
Health An Issue
The Bengals know all about injuries robbing them of star receivers, with AJ Green and Tyler Eifert both missing time last season with ailments. Green has already suffered an injury on the first day of training camp this season that will keep him out another four to six weeks. With that in mind, coach Zac Taylor is being cautious with starters in this one, already ruling out running backs Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard as well as Eifert.
With Mixon and Bernard on the sidelines, sixth-round picks Rodney Anderson and Trayveon Williams, as well as fellow rookie Jordan Ellis, will see some carries as the Bengals assess their depth in the backfield. Quarterback Andy Dalton will likely only see a series or two before giving way to backups Jeff Driskel and Brad Kaaya, who are battling for the No. 2 spot at the position.
Making Minor Tweaks
Coach Andy Reid is going to be cautious with Mahomes, easily the most valuable player on the team. Mahomes will give way to Chad Henne sometime in the first quarter, followed by rookie Kyle Shurmur. One player to watch on offense is rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who could find some time as a third receiver for the team this season.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has praised a pair of rookies, safety Juan Thornhill and lineman Khalen Saunders, for their play in training camp. Both players could be in line for playing time this season, with Thornhill possibly a starter if he can impress in preseason games. The Chiefs are looking for more pressure on the quarterback this season, especially after seeing Dee Ford and Justin Houston depart, taking their combined 22 sacks with them.
Chiefs Earn Victory
Kansas City is playing at home in this one, so they want to put on a good show for the home crowd. Cincinnati is really trying to piece together its lineup with a new head coach, so they won’t be as in sync as the Chiefs just yet. Take Kansas City -4 to get the win in this contest.