Who starts for the Cincinnati Bengals? Here's a look at the offense

·5 min read

The Cincinnati Bengals play the Kansas City Chiefs at 3 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

The winner will advance to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles to play either the Los Angeles Rams or the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs are trying to reach the Super Bowl before the third-straight year. In February of 2020, Kansas City won its second Super Bowl ever when they beat the 49ers. But the Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago.

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The Bengals, meanwhile, haven't been in this position since 1989, when they reached the Super Bowl. The Bengals playoff history is filled with landmines, but the AFC Championship isn't one of them.

The franchise is 2-0 in AFC Championship Games.

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And if the Bengals are to make it 3-0, they'll need the "Big Play Bengals" moniker to hold up against the high-powered Chiefs offense led by Patrick Mahomes.

Here's who starts for the Bengals offense.

Bengals quarterback: Joe Burrow

Burrow is the leader of the Bengals and the face of the franchise. He is the first quarterback ever taken No.1 overall in the draft to led his team to the AFC Championship in his first two seasons.

Backup: Brandon Allen.

the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line regroups between drives in the second quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.
the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line regroups between drives in the second quarter of the NFL Week One game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. The Bengals led 14-7 at halftime.

The Bengals offensive line

  • Left tackle: Jonah Williams

  • Left guard: Quinton Spain

  • Center: Trey Hopkins

  • Right guard: Hakeem Adeniji

  • Right tackle: Isaiah Prince

No unit has been under the microscope quite like the Bengals offensive line has in 2021. The Bengals allowed 51 sacks in the regular season and the Tennessee Titans had nine sacks against the Bengals last week.

Some of those sacks shouldn't be completely pinned on a line that blocks for more empty sets (five wide outs and no running back in the backfield) than anyone in the league, but it's been a problem all year.

Riley Reiff started most the season at right tackle before the veteran was placed on injured reserve. Isaiah Prince took his place.

At right guard, Adeniji has been the starter for most of the second half of the season following injuries to Xavier Su'a-Filo and inconsistent play from 2021 second-round pick Jackson Carman.

Bengals tight end: C.J. Uzomah

The pending free agent is one of the longest-tenured Bengals on the roster and had one of his best seasons in his seventh year. He caught 49 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns.

Backup: Drew Sample

Bengals running back Joe Mixon

The Pro Bowl running back finished near the top of the NFL in rushing yards in his first season as a true every down running back. Mixon rushed for 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns and averaged 4.1 yards per carry. He also had 42 receptions and three more touchdowns on 171 yards.

Mixon is often lined outside or taken off the field in some obvious passing situations and replaced by Samaje Perine, Mixon's former college teammate at Oklahoma. Perine, along with the tight ends, has served as the Bengals blocking back for a team that has no true fullback.

Backup: Samaje Perine, Chris Evans (no, not Captain America Chris Evans).

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83), Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) and the Cincinnati Bengals offense get set to take the field before kickoff of the first quarter during a Week 13 NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-22.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83), Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) and the Cincinnati Bengals offense get set to take the field before kickoff of the first quarter during a Week 13 NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-22.

Bengals receivers: Tee Higgins, Ja'Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd

The Bengals start three wide outs and they may be the best group in the NFL.

Ja'Marr "Les Miles said I couldn't play receiver" Chase is the favorite to win NFL Rookie of the Year and was second team All-Pro this season. He had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 18 yards per catch.

Higgins missed several games with an injury and still finished with more than 1,000 yards receiving (1,091) and 74 catches with six touchdowns.

Boyd is in his sixth season and is one of the league's best slot receivers. He finished with 828 yards, five touchdowns and 67 catches.

Backups: Mike Thomas, Trenton Irwin, Stanley Morgan

How the Bengals got to the AFC Championship Game

What's the 2022 NFL playoff schedule look like?

Here's the playoff schedule this week:

AFC:

  • Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, 3 p.m. Sunday on CBS

NFC:

  • San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams, 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Fox

Cincinnati Bengals 2021schedule

  • Week 1: Bengals 27, Minnesota Vikings 24

  • Week 2: Chicago Bears 20, Bengals 17

  • Week 3: Bengals 24, Steelers 10

  • Week 4: Bengals 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 21

  • Week 5: Green Bay Packers 25, Bengals 22

  • Week 6: Bengals 34, Detroit Lions 11

  • Week 7: Bengals 41, Baltimore Ravens 17

  • Week 8: New York Jets 34, Bengals 31

  • Week 9: Cleveland Browns 41, Bengals 16

  • Week 11: Bengals 32, Raiders 13

  • Week 12: Bengals 41, Steelers 10

  • Week 13: Los Angeles Chargers 41, Bengals 22

  • Week 14: San Francisco 49ers 26, Bengals 23

  • Week 15: Bengals 15, Denver Broncos 10

  • Week 16: Bengals 41, Ravens 21

  • Week 17: Bengals 34, Kansas City Chiefs 31

  • Week 18: Browns 21, Bengals 16

  • Wild-card round: Bengals 26, Raiders 19

  • Divisional round: Bengals 19, Tennessee Titans 16

  • AFC Championship Game: Bengals at Chiefs, 3 p.m. Sunday in Kansas City

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Bengals starters on offense in AFC Championship game

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