The AFC title game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs is about as hard to predict as it gets.
It’s the fourth meeting between the teams in roughly a year and while it takes place in Kansas City, Joe Burrow and the Bengals have won each encounter in close games.
Adding to the complexity is the ankle sprain suffered by Patrick Mahomes last week, which was thought to be a serious one before he practiced in full on Wednesday.
At NFL Pick Watch, which compiles the picks of experts everywhere, 70 percent pick the Bengals to win the matchup straight-up. At least as of this writing, 72 percent pick the Bengals against the spread.
The Bengals have been utterly dominant against the spread in the Burrow era, so rolling with them no matter how many shifts happens makes sense.
Picking the game straight-up is a different animal, though. All three of the recent encounters had the game decided by small point margins and very late game-changing plays.
Even if Mahomes isn’t at 100 percent, the game figures to be a close one — at this point, the two teams are nearly divisional rivals with how often they run into each other.
On paper, the Bengals might make more sense simply because one quarterback is healthier than the other. But there’s no wrong answer, even if experts like Cincinnati to make it back to a second Super Bowl in as many years.