Here’s a look at Conference Championship Weekend, with all picks made against the spread.
Last week’s record: 1-3
All times are Eastern
No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals at No. 2 Kansas City, 3 p.m., CBS
Line: Kansas City -7 | Total: 54.5
In only his second season, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has led a bottom-feeding franchise to its first conference championship game since the 1988 season. Much of that success has been fueled by his connection with the rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, as well as a cohort of skill position players. That group includes running back Joe Mixon, who in his fifth season in Cincinnati put up career-high numbers in yards (1,205), touchdowns (13) and carries (292) to help take some of the offensive load off Burrow, who was the most sacked quarterback in the league in 2021.
It stands to reason that the Bengals’ feel-good run may end in Arrowhead Stadium, where Kansas City has hosted a record four consecutive A.F.C. championship games. The team’s dominance and the home crowd make the venue a tough place to play and, as Mahomes showed last week against the visiting Bills, it’s a place where a game-tying drive can happen in just 13 seconds.
But the Bengals have thrived this season by keeping games close — Cincinnati has lost only one game by more than 7 points — and then either having Burrow find a playmaker or getting a timely stop or takeaway from its defense. Burrow, like Josh Allen, is capable of going throw-for-throw with Mahomes, and a shootout would make taking the over a safer bet, especially since it’s unclear whether Kansas City’s Pro Bowl safety Tyrann Mathieu will play on Sunday after he left last week’s matchup against the Bills with a concussion. Pick: Bengals +7