Bengals’ Tre Flowers gets the call again vs. Chiefs’ Travis Kelce

The Bengals will again look to their tight-end stopper to help get a win.

The Cincinnati Bengals hope defensive back Tre Flowers can help shutter Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Sunday, much as he did over two games last season.

Flowers doesn’t see a ton of reps often, but he’s one of the matchup guys defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo goes to when confronted with an elite tight end.

And Kelce is a generational talent — just ask Flowers himself.

“The thing he does best?” Flowers said, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “Get open. He’s a Hall-of-Famer in my opinion. Mahomes is going to find him. He can make any throw and Kelce can make any catch.”

Flowers and the Bengals held Kelce to 120 yards over two contests last year, which sounds like a lot until one looks up the star tight end’s production on a weekly basis.

One of the biggest corners in the league (6’3″), Flowers earned a 66.3 PFF grade in Week 17 against the Chiefs last year while allowing two catches for seven yards. He allowed just one catch for 11 yards in the AFC title game.

Flowers was one of six Bengals who covered Kelce last year as the unit dropped eight in coverage and forced the offense to beat them. But that could change on Sunday, which would ask even more from Flowers.

Like breakouts from Trenton Irwin and other unexpected names lately, Flowers excelling and giving the team a chance to win would just be another example of the team’s superb depth.

[listicle id=154081]

Chiefs vs. Bengals carries huge AFC playoff implications

Advanced numbers show just how important Chiefs vs. Bengals really is.

To say there is much at stake between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs this weekend would be an understatement.

Most onlookers don’t need advanced numbers or anything special to understand this, of course. The Chiefs sit at first in the AFC at 9-4 and the Bengals actually clutch a share of the AFC North lead at 7-4 while otherwise sitting in the sixth playoff spot.

Those Bengals have a brutal schedule to end the season and have to keep sparring with the Baltimore Ravens in the division. Kansas City’s looking at 9-3 Buffalo as the biggest competition for the top seed in the AFC.

But…advanced numbers and percentages never hurt, either. FanSided’s Matt Verderame broke down what a win would do for both teams in the playoff hunt:

The Bengals have a chance to play No. 1 spoiler on Sunday.

More importantly, there’s a huge difference between 64 percent and 89 percent for a playoff spot, especially considering nothing is guaranteed against a schedule that still included Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England, Buffalo and Baltimore.

When Sunday feels like a playoff game, this is one of the major reasons.

[listicle id=154084]

Bengals issue final injury report before Week 13 vs. Chiefs

A look at the final Chiefs vs. Bengals injury report for Week 13.

The Cincinnati Bengals look remarkably healthier this week as they head into a Week 13 showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, after being unable to go last week, looks on track to play against the Chiefs after working all week for the second week in a row, including his first full practice on Friday.

Running back Joe Mixon remains in concussion protocol, hence the 50-50 tag. But coaches made it sound like he’ll be good to go, too.

In an unfortunate late addition, star linebacker Logan Wilson pops up on the final injury report as questionable due to an illness. He’s considered day-to-day.

Here’s a final look at the injury report before Sunday’s AFC title game rematch, with kickoff at 4:25 p.m. ET.

Behind Enemy Lines: Breaking down Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 13

A behind-the-scenes look at Chiefs vs. Bengals.

Since the schedule was announced, most everyone has had Week 13 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Chiefs vs. Bengals circled in red ink.

The showdown — foolishly not on primetime, by the way — is a rematch of last year’s Bengals upset of the Chiefs in the regular season and the same result from the AFC title game.

It’s a matchup of elite quarterbacks and quite a bit more, so to get a handle on the showdown with huge playoff implications, we linked up with Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire to get the inside scoop on things from Kansas City’s perspective.

Here’s a look at our quick Q&A session.

Titans film study: The REAL reason Tennessee lost to the Bengals

Tyler Rowland dives into the film to break down the Titans’ red zone struggles in Week 12.

The Tennessee Titans lost to the Cincinnati Bengals for a third time in a row, and to put it lightly, it sucked.

The Bengals came out and beat the Titans at their own game with physicality at the line of scrimmage and a great game plan. The Bengals made more individual plays and came up with clutch conversions late.

And yet, I still feel like the Titans had plenty of chances to win that game. They were never entirely outmatched. When the games are tight like that and you lose, you go looking for answers; what happened?

Well, of course you can blame the defensive plan that consistently put the cornerbacks on an island, or the lack of pass rush. You can, of course, blame the run game that vanished, or the offensive line that got moved around all day.

And you would be justified because, hey, football is a team game, but none of those were the biggest issue. The biggest issue is clear: red zone offense.

The Titans scored zero touchdowns in three trips. What had previously been a strength for the Titans throughout the season suddenly became a weakness.

The Titans had a top-three red zone offense coming into the game, so to see the Titans go 0-3 in that area was not only frustrating, but it ultimately was the difference in the outcome.

So, we know WHAT happened — the Titans didn’t score in the red area — but now we ask: why?

As we always do, let’s dive into the film and see how it all went down…

Key players and storylines to watch in Chiefs vs. Bengals

Important items to know for Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 13.

The Cincinnati Bengals hope to make it roughly three wins in a row against the Kansas City Chiefs since this time last season.

Cincinnati upset the Chiefs in the regular season last year, then shocked most again when doing so again in the AFC title game while advancing to the Super Bowl.

This sort of revenge theme that also stuck out before the Titans game a week ago is a big reason at least one Chiefs player was talking big trash talk this week. Chatter, by the way, that had Ja’Marr Chase responding and Jessie Bates and Hayden Hurst doing the same.

Here’s a look at the key players and storylines to watch in this week’s AFC rematch.

Bengals accuse Jeffery Simmons, Titans of cheap shots in Week 12

Bengals players accused the Titans of taking cheap shots at the end of the Week 12 game.

Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is no stranger to being accused of dirty play, something we’ve heard from multiple opposing players during the course of his young career.

And now we can add some Cincinnati Bengals players to that list.

After the Week 12 game against the Titans, Bengals center Ted Karras was quite animated as he left the field, dropping F-bombs galore as he exited (you can check out the video here, but warning: NSFW language).

Karras was asked about his boisterous exit from the field and he said it had to do with Simmons and the Titans taking cheap shots at the knees of Bengals offensive linemen while the team was kneeling the ball to close the 20-16 win over Tennessee.

“It was Jeffery Simmons,” Karras said, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “That’s their right, but usually protocol [is not to do that] and we have the right to let them know how we feel about that.”

Bengals tackle La’el Collins also chimed in about the alleged cheap shots.

“The linemen were a little mad we got after them,” Collins said. “They were cheap-shotting when we were taking a knee. We were saying, ‘game’s over, y’all lost. Don’t take cheap shot at our guys.'”

[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqbyh7crnrcs3ypf player_id=none image=https://titanswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/plugins/mm-video/images/playlist-icon.png]

[lawrence-related id=103817,103796,103763]

[listicle id=103780]

Here’s how experts pick Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 13

How do experts feel about Chiefs vs. Bengals?

The Cincinnati Bengals enter Week 13 against the Kansas City Chiefs as underdogs and that’s something that applies to both odds and outright picks by experts.

Over at NFL Pick Watch, which polls experts everywhere on the week’s slate, 75 percent of those picking the game side with the Chiefs outright.

When asked to pick against the spread, that number changes to 69 percent.

This will feel pretty similar to last year for Bengals fans. Most didn’t expect them to pick up a win in the regular season against the Chiefs. And even after that, the Chiefs sat favored in the AFC title game before another win.

That was last year, of course. Much has changed, but the Bengals continue to heat up in a way that suggests they again aren’t the worst pick of the week by any means.

Plus, it sure doesn’t hurt the Chiefs have seemingly gone out of their way to give the Bengals motivation via trash talk. Ja’Marr Chase responded to that chatter and both Jessie Bates and Hayden Hurst weren’t far behind him.

[listicle id=154037]

Hayden Hurst, Jessie Bates respond to Justin Reid before Chiefs vs. Bengals

More trash talk, this time as Bengals respond to Justin Reid.

The battle between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs this weekend had even more spice added to it on Thursday.

In the wake of Chiefs safety Justin Reid talking some trash and Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase quickly responding to it, two more Bengals have thrown down some talk, too.

Both tight end Hayden Hurst and safety Jessie Bates responded to the trash talk. Hurst was especially noteworthy considering it was his name getting tossed around by Reid.

“I don’t know,” Hurst said, according to ESPN’s Ben Baby. “You can pick anyone in this locker room. I feel like I’m the last person you wanna talk s—- about because I have a long memory.”

Then there was Bates, a fellow safety, who offered Reid some pregame advice:

The long and short of it? Reid said he’d clamp down everybody, then sparred with Chase on social media. Now Bengals on both sides of the ball have weighed in, too.

Everyone will get to settle the differences on Sunday at Paycor Stadium.

[pickup_prop id=”30381″]

[listicle id=154037]

Ja’Marr Chase wants Chiefs safety Justin Reid to put a bet on his ridiculous vow to lock up every Bengals receiver

This was a bold statement by Reid.

Some people have to do a little talking to pump themselves up for maximum performance.

In sports, that can sometimes leads to unintended consequences…like pumping up the opponent.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid might have done both Wednesday when he said he would lock down any Cincinnati Bengals player he’s matched up against on Sunday.

It all started with him mistakingly saying he would lock down Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. The player he meant to say was tight end Hayden Hurst. But instead of simply correcting himself on Twitter, Reid doubled down by saying “any and everybody still getting locked up.”

Well, it’s funny he should say that, because Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Bengals is also the game Ja’Marr Chase returns from his four-game absence.

He saw Reid’s bold claim and asked the safety to put his money where his mouth is. Reid didn’t accept the bet — at least not publicly — but he didn’t back down either.

This is the part where I should mention that Reid and Chase won’t be matched up often if at all in this game. But if and when it does happen, I don’t love Reid’s chances.

In fact, I don’t love his chances against most of Cincinnati’s weapons.

Reid has the NFL’s ninth worst passer rating allowed (125.6) among players with at least 11 games played, according to Pro-Football Reference. Even without the games played qualifier, his rating is bottom 10 among safeties.

To his credit, he does seem to keep big-yardage plays to a minimum, but he’s just the 56th rated safety out of 88 on Pro Football Focus.

So yeah, it’s probably a smart move not to take that bet. Because it’s not likely that he’ll lock up all of Chase, Higgins, Hurst, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon (if he returns from injury).

Either way, this adds a little spice to what was already a fun mid-season matchup with the Chiefs favored by 2.5 points on the road.

[listicle id=1989622]

[mm-video type=video id=01gk6z9jphwqz1gsyq33 playlist_id=none player_id=none image=https://images2.minutemediacdn.com/image/upload/video/thumbnail/mmplus/01gk6z9jphwqz1gsyq33/01gk6z9jphwqz1gsyq33-abb83edc5a9897a03f1dc6241a2c053d.jpg]