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We’ve learned never to underestimate Saint Joe and the Freak Show, which sounds like a ‘60s rock band but in reality is a ‘20s passing offense. If this ker-razy season of heightened expectations has taught us anything, it is that Joe Burrow happens to all opponents. Joe Burrow is inevitable.
At some point in the game, he is going to conspire with his mates to do something outlandishly outrageous that will lead to an improbable win by the Men.
Take 3rd-and-27, for instance. You remember 3rd-and-27.
Jan. 2, PBS, 4th quarter, 3:19 to play, game tied at 31. Third-and-27 from the Kansas City 41. Conventional thinking suggests something across the middle, for enough yards to make a go-ahead field goal highly realistic.
Convention doesn’t suit Burrow or his coach Zac Taylor and a field goal at that juncture would leave Patrick Mahomes with way too much recess.
The play is an impossible deep ball down the right sideline to Ja’Marr Chase (he’s a super freak, super freak, he’s super freaky, yow). Chase is well covered by KC corner C. Ward, but the ball is delivered so perfectly back-shoulder it doesn’t matter. Thirty yards to the Chiefs 11, where the Bengals mess around for the next eight plays until E. McPherson makes the game-winning chip shot.
Do not doubt the ‘60s rock band.
Round 2 is in KC Sunday at 3, for a trip to the Super Bowl.
You’d think with the God-ding up I just did, I’d be picking the Bengals to win, and maybe I will. Read on.
Bengals bandwagon: Doc's Morning Line: Embrace the bandwagon fans hopping aboard, Bengals fan.
If you could convince me that all the crazy improbabilities of Game 1 will recur on Sunday, I’d run to the window at Hollywood, pick the Men and take the 7 points they won’t need. If you could assure me that all the following will reoccur, you’ve got me. To wit:
Chase again will catch 11 balls for 266 yards and 3 TDs, two of which will go for 72 and 69 yards. Burrow again will complete passes of 39, 35 and 30 yards. . . in the 4th quarter.
Cincinnati will have six tries – six!!! – from the Chiefs 1, get nothing but twice will be saved by penalties.
The Chiefs again will have a kickoff return TD killed by a holding penalty.
Running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon won’t play, same as Game 1.
Patrick Mahomes again will be held to 50 passing yards in the 2nd half.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill again will be held to 65 total receiving yards.
On the road, the Bengals again will overcome 14-point deficits, three times.
See what I’m getting at?
Talk about freak shows.
I know, I know. Every game is different. Maybe this time, the running and flat-pass catching talents of Joe Mixon keep the Chiefs possession time to under 30 minutes. It’s not likely that the Bengals will fall behind three times by two touchdowns. Maybe the Chiefs will be hung over from all of last Sunday's dramatics. But the larger point is, crazy stuff had to happen last time, and the Bengals still only won on a last-play FG at home.
The Chiefs are better, at least on offense, than they were Jan. 2. Defense, maybe not. Tyrann Mathieu is in concussion protocol as I write this. Losing him would be bad news for the Chiefs.
History and the law of averages suggest Kelce and Hill will be better this time, Mahomes won’t be held to 50 passing yards in a half, Chase won’t get 266 and 3 touchdowns. If KC returns a kick for six, it won’t be called back.
The Chiefs are the best team in the Final 4. They have the best coach, or at least the coach with the most experience. They have the best QB. They know what they know about postseason football. They’re hosting the AFC title game for the 4th straight year.
Magic isn’t endless, culture only takes you so far. And Patrick Mahomes ain’t Ryan Tannehill.
Chiefs 36, Bengals 30. I’d love to be wrong.
Now, then . . .
LOCAL HOOPS IS . . . what? Lacking/slumping/not what we’ve come to expect?
I watched UC lose at Temple the other night. Blow a 14-point 2nd-half lead. All I gathered from that disappointment was, Wes Miller better be a recruiting superstar. This group simply does not have the talent to play at a level UC fans have come to expect.
It didn’t help that the Bearcats don’t seem to run a lot of offense. Too often, a possession ends with a missed 3. Open looks aren’t often there.
As for Xavier . . . the Musketeers have too much talent to have lost their last two. They drift for stretches. Travis Steele has shown he can get the talent. We’re wondering if he can coach it up.
Starting Jack Nunge is a beginning. More time for Dwon Odom might be good. Convincing everyone that 40 minutes of focus is important might lead to better things. When I watch Xavier, I don’t see a team that can’t challenge for a Big East title. But right now, the mix isn’t meshing, and we’re four days from February. That’s on the coaches.
AND NOW. . . Hey Michelle!, keeping spirits bright, but not warm.
The Chill of a lifetime at the Greater Cincinnati Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics! I love this event. “Freezin for a Reason” is a bunch of fanatical people who can win prizes for best crazy costumes or most money raised. What a way to wake up on Saturday! Each plunger must raise at least $75, $50 for 18 and younger plungers. Or you can just be like me and bundle up and watch these crazy a** people! Come to The Banks from 9am - 1pm Saturday and check it out.
Lori’s Roadhouse in West Chester has a heck of a lineup for the weekend. If you haven’t been to this unbelievable honky tonk you have to put on your cowboy boots and scoot on over. Friday's headliner is Whiskey Town, Saturday, Chase Matthews and Sunday they’ll have a Bengals Watch Party (They have more TVs than Best Buy so you’ll be good to go. They have a great menu, plenty of seating, VIP areas for concerts and a big ol’ dance floor. 4924 Union Center Pavilion Dr.
Garage Brewed Moto Show at Rhinegeist ~ Saturday 12pm -12am Beers and sweet motorcycles now that’s a great day. More than 60 rides of all kinds… custom, vintage, classics and more. They’ll have vendors, raffles, food and obviously tons of beer. 1910 Elm St.
And because it’s never getting old to say… WHO DEY!
Do you want to know where to eat, drink and have fun in Cincinnati? Check out my page https://heymichelle-help.com
Imbiber Dave is eating a wheelbarrow of cheese.
Another amazing weekend, and another date with the Grim Reaper himself on Sunday. How lucky are we? I basically look like Andy Reid after these last two weekends of football, but fear not, I’m going to load up like I’m having Santa’s stunt double over and he hasn’t eaten all day.
Please make sure you are making Cincinnati chili dip. Use Dixie Chili if you know what’s good for you. Ratio is one block of cream cheese spread evenly across a 13x9 pan, two cans of chili, and then I like to add 1/4 cup of Frank’s into the chili. Add at least 12 oz of shredded cheese on top. If you have a Costco sized bag, that’s fine, in fact a wheelbarrow of cheese is acceptable. Cleaning the oven is a Monday you problem, Sunday you is all about self care.
Now if you have a crowd then please make Buffalo chicken dip too. Same cream cheese starter, but this time add a large can of shredded chicken and 1 cup of ranch along with at least 1/2 cup of Frank’s and top with your other wheelbarrow of cheese. If you wanna be real fancy, use a rotisserie chicken shredded up nicely.
Maybe you are heading west this weekend, in which case you will definitely drink a few delicious Boulevard beers. But even if you are in Cincy, maybe that’s just the good luck charm we need. I prefer the Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. It packs a punch with a higher ABV and 16oz format. Perfect for the game of the century thus far.
TUNE O’ THE DAY . . . Rick James, Doc?
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Chiefs prediction in AFC Championship