NFL conference championship picks: Who’s going to Super Bowl?

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) goes against the Buffalo Bills.

Joe Burrow has beaten the Chiefs three times in a row and wants to make it four and lead the Bengals back to the Super Bowl.

(Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m., Channel 2. Line: Bengal at 1½.

How Bengal can win: Everything goes through Joe Burrow, but sticking to the ground and Joe Mixon helps. If this patchwork offensive line plays as well as it did in Buffalo, the Bengals will be fine. Defensively, take advantage of Patrick Mahomes’ limited mobility, and that means you’ll get big plays from defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson. Mahomes is good from the bag, but not nearly as good as those unscheduled shots. Bengals can be a bit weak at times in secondary school, but their linebacker play and defensive line are so good that they make up for it.

How Chiefs can win: Mahomes needs to be able to move a bit, if only to buy an extra half second in the pocket. Kadarius Toney could be a key because he can turn small plays into explosive ones. Defensively, the Chiefs need to go after Burrow and beat him. Whether it’s Steve Spagnuolo designing some lightning bolts, Chris Jones having a big day, whatever, they’ve got to upset Burrow. Stop the escape, and the Chiefs aren’t very good at that. Keep that energy in the building, which the Chiefs will do because Arrowhead Stadium is a really tough place for visiting teams.

Choose: The Bengals have beaten Kansas City three times in calendar year 2022, so don’t be intimidated. And with Mahomes bouncing around with a sprained ankle, things are going to be really tough for the Chiefs. Kansas City will fight and persevere, and they’re too trained to be trampled, but Cincinnati has the momentum here. BENGALE 27, CHIEFS 21 NFL conference championship picks: Who’s going to Super Bowl?

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