Obviously we saw a quarterback duel for the ages last weekend as Patrick Mahomes threw for 378 yards on 33 completions against the Buffalo Bills, highlighting that by bringing his team on a drive for the tying field goal with only 13 seconds left in regulation.
If you saw the former MVP in the early part of the campaign, you might not have thought such things were possible. The fact of the matter is, Mahomes looked quite a bit off-balance as he was getting used to a different way teams were defending against him.
But mysteries like that don't exist anymore for him, and he comes into the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals with guns blazing. BetAnySports customers can see that game at 3:05 p.m. Eastern time as it comes from Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs -7 (-115)
Cincinnati Bengals + 7 (-105)
Over 54.5 points -110
Under 54.5 points - 110
According to WINKA iGaming Platform, Mahomes has always been known as somebody who can go and get the big play. And he has the receivers who are fully capable of doing such a thing, when you consider the talent that comes from the likes of Tyreek Hill, Nicole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle and even tight end Travis Kelce, who demonstrated in the last play from scrimmage during regulation last week that he can get yardage in bunches.
So the objective on the part of defenses this season was to play safeties back and make him they spend more effort going down the field.
At first this threw Mahomes off; in his first eight games he did manage to throw 19 touchdown passes, but he was also intercepted ten times. So he was making mistakes, and the Chiefs were slow coming out of the gate, actually occupying the last place position in the AFC West at one point.
But seriously, it was only a matter of adjustment, as Mahomes had to essentially take what the defense was giving him. Now, if you take the playoff games into account, he has thrown 26 touchdown passes with only four interceptions in his last eleven appearances. And those figures are even better if you just took a sampling of the last seven games — 20 touchdowns and two INT's.
So according to football betting experts, he is adapting.
You can tell at the same time that the defenses have succeeded if they were looking to prevent him from getting a lot of yardage at once. He has averaged 7.4 yards per attempt, which is certainly a reduction when you consider 8.8, 8.3 and 8.1 in his other years as a full-time starter.
What certainly exists, and will continue to exist, is his ability to make something out of what might appear to be a broken play. And he will run with the ball if he has to. He actually had 69 rushing yards last week, part of Kansas City's 182-yard explosion against the Bills, which was their third highest rushing total of the season.
According to bookie software data, one thing the Bengals do not want to do with Mahomes is get caught blitzing. This is because it is where they can't get to him. He WILL burn you. And that is pretty well-known around the league, as Mahomes was blitzed only 112 times, which was 26th highest in the NFL. By comparison, is Buffalo counterpart last week, Josh Allen, faced 182 blitzes. Now, we understand that Allen runs with the ball like few quarterbacks in the NFL, but he does not scramble as well as Mahomes.
Kansas City is still obviously a very potent offense, and has been the league's best on third down, converting 53% of the time. They get off the pretty good starts as well, scoring an average of 7.2 points per game in the first quarter.
So let's put it this way: if Kansas City can't get by Cincinnati on Sunday, it's not because they are going to have inferior quarterback play, or a lack of spark on the offensive side of the ball. It will be because they haven't learned their lessons defensively against Joe burrow, who threw for 446 yards in the initial meeting.
That game wound up a 34-31 Cincinnati victory at Paul Brown Stadium. Ja'Marr Chase had 266 receiving yards, but take note that Kansas City averaged 6.7 yards per rushing attempt in that game. Kelce and Hill totaled only 65 receiving yards, so if Mahomes is on the mark, there's a lot of upside here. That's why we like the OVER.
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