Insight from the Real Experts: KC vs. Bengals

It is time again for our weekly conversation with the real experts of the Chiefs upcoming opponent, the fan who follows the team day in and day out. The Chiefs encounter the final stage of their six-week gauntlet against some of the NFL's elite teams this Saturday by hosting the 11-4 Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals enter the game with the playoffs on their minds as they clinched the AFC North division a couple of weeks ago. They stumbled last week at home against the Buffalo Bills, falling 57-27. The Chiefs rebounded from their dreadful performance in New York two weeks ago by beating division rival San Diego Chargers 20-7 at Arrowhead, thus keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.

The Chiefs playoff picture is bleak, but not destroyed. In order to participate in games the weekend of January 7th and 8th, the Chiefs must beat the Bengals this week, see the Broncos defeat the Chargers and the Detroit Lions defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The odds of all that happening are longer than a long shot, but while the Chiefs are still alive, there is reason for optimism.

For the second time in three weeks we were only able to get one expert to respond to our questions. So once again we eavesdropped on a message board from our opponent to glean their thoughts on the game. Our one respondent this weak is:
• TJ Justice, a 39 year-old pastor fan from Wellston, Ohio a Bengals fan for his entire life.

Question: What will be the Bengals offensive attack on the Chiefs defense that the Chiefs will not be able to stop and why?

Answer: "I look for a good balance of pass and run from the Bengals this weekend. The game plan may vary depending on how much time Carson Palmer is on the field. If Rudi gets going, it will be a long day for the Chiefs and this may be key for the Bengals on Sunday." – TJ Justice

Question: What aspect of the Chiefs defense will be successful against the Bengals offense?

Answer: "Very few teams have been able to consistently put pressure on Palmer this season. The Bengals offensive line is one of the strongest and most effective in the league. Cincinnati picks up the blitz well and that leaves the pass defenders in deep trouble. I look for Kansas City to try and plug the run which some teams have been able to do. This forces Palmer to pass and KC then hopes for an off day from him." – TJ Justice

Question: Talk about Rudi Johnson?

Answer: "What a quiet season for Rudi. However, he will STILL break his team record for rushing yards this season against the Chiefs in the 1st quarter. In fact, he has had a much better season this year than last year. His yards per carry is higher this season. It was an excellent move by Mike Brown to lock him up with a new contract." Chand!er on message board

Analysis: The Bengals have proven to be a very high-powered offense this year. They are ranked 4th in the NFL in total offense. Quarterback Carson Palmer ranks 2nd in the NFL in total passing yards, Rudi Johnson ranks 5th in rushing yards and Chad Johnson ranks 3rd in receiving yards. Talk about a trifecta. At full strength, the Bengals offensive attack would be very concerning for the Chiefs defense. Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry form a very explosive receiving corp.

The Chiefs will once again need to control the line of scrimmage and keep Johnson in check while putting pressure on Palmer. If they can't do that, Chad Johnson may end up on Sportscenter with his latest TD celebration. The Surtain/Johnson matchup should be a great matchup.

Question: How will the Bengals defense be successful against Larry Johnson and the Chiefs play action passing attack?

Answer: "Cincinnati is still struggling to have a balanced defense. They've been successful in stopping great running teams (Indianapolis and Pittsburgh among others) but give up significant yards in the air when focusing on stopping the run. The Bengals can limit Johnson's role but the secondary needs to be solid also and make plays happen like they have. Playaction against Cincinnati is always a concern for Bengal fans. Cincinnati isn't likely to defend the run and pass well - it's one or the other on most days and Sunday won't be any different. "– TJ Justice

Question: What aspect of the Bengals defense do you hope will be hidden from and not exposed by the Chiefs offensive game plan?

Answer: "I hope Cincinnati's opportunistic but yielding pass defense isn't exposed. It makes big plays but also gives up big plays. I hope the KC passing game isn't effective Sunday. "– TJ Justice

Question: Talk about the Bengals defense?

Answer: "Our D is young, fast, athletic, opportunistic, and has a lot of potential. It is also lousy vs. the run, gives up too many big plays, and doesn't get consistent pressure on the QB. Our secondary and LB's are pretty good, what we lack in a DL! We need some serious beef up front. Look at Baltimore's D when they won the super Bowl. Lewis had everything in place, then his last 2 pieces he added were the 2 huge DT's and that changes the whole complexion of that D. The same is true here. You significantly improve the DL with some PROVEN talent, and the entire D will look better. The LB's will look better with someone eating up blocks. The Secondary will look even better and give up fewer big plays if the QB is harassed. The whole D hinges on the DL, we fill in the final pieces there and watch out. Till then we have what we have, We will live and die by the INT." Miller Time on message board

Analysis: The Bengals defense reminds me of the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs defense. Creates lots of turnovers, but gives up a lot of yards. The Chiefs will likely run Larry Johnson early and often against the Bengals and then use play action to move the ball in the air. Just like in 2003 for the Chiefs, an offense like the Chiefs should cause a lot of problems for the Bengals. Teams that can run effectively (in 2003 remember Denver, Minnesota and Indianapolis) give a defense that relies on interceptions fits.

Conclusion: - I expect the Bengals to treat this game much like a preseason game. I say this for two reasons. First, they can't really improve their playoff positioning this week. They will host a playoff game next week no matter what happens on Sunday. Their quarterback, first and second runningback and top cornerback have all appeared on the injury report this week. There is very little doubt that they will seek to keep them healthy for the second season. Second, there is a remote chance the Bengals will face these same Chiefs next week. They won't want to show the Chiefs how they will attack them in the event they face each other next week. I look for a very vanilla game plan.

The Chiefs need to win this game. It will be emotional because the playoffs could be on the line and it could be Dick Vermeil's last game as the Chiefs head coach. It could be Will Shields' last game as a Kansas City Chief. I look for the Chiefs to play with much passion and emotion on Sunday. Top Stories