It’s safe to say that the Kansas City Chiefs‘ biggest competition in the AFC is easily the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Chiefs have hosted the last five AFC Championship games. The last two of those games were against the Bengals.
Cincinnati got the win two years ago to advance to the Super Bowl. This past season, it was the Chiefs that won the AFC. And the odds are high that KC and Cincy will meet again this upcoming season in the AFC Championship game.
The rivalry between the Chiefs and the Bengals is comparable to the rivalry between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots that dominated the NFL for nearly a decade.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow are essentially this generation’s version of Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning.
The rivalry between the Bengals and the Chiefs can be intense at times — we saw that during the playoffs last season. So when a player leaves Kansas City for Cincinnati (or vice versa), it’s a big deal.
And that’s exactly what happened earlier this offseason. Offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr, who spent the last two seasons with the Chiefs, signed a four-year deal with the Bengals in March.
Brown is expected to start at left tackle for Cincinnati in 2023.
On Wednesday, Mahomes was asked about Brown leaving the Chiefs for the Bengals.
“It’s tough, I still talk to Orlando, I mean we had a real friendship off the field just as much as on the field,” said Mahomes. “And you understand how great of a player he is — he makes Cincinnati an even better football team so that stinks for us. But at the same time, I’m happy for him that he got to a good place where he was able to get a good contract that he deserved and everything like that. And then we’ll still have that friendship, but he’s a competitor like me so we’re going to be wanting to be able to brag about who wins that football game.”
The matchup between the Bengals and the Chiefs on New Year’s Eve could determine home-field advantage in the AFC.
The Chiefs are the kings of the AFC until they’re not. But the Bengals have proven to be a worthy opponent. And the Chiefs know they will have a difficult battle on their hands every time they see Cincinnati across the field.
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