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OK, so the Chiefs won’t be going undefeated. The silver lining, if there ever is one in a loss, is that it took a last second field goal for Tom Brady and New England to dispatch Kansas City at Foxborough.

There’s no rest for Andy Reid‘s group, though. The Chiefs host one of the AFC’s other playoff contenders when Cincinnati comes to Arrowhead for Sunday Night Football. A win keeps Kansas City in charge of the conference. A loss, and suddenly the view from the top becomes crowded.

What would help the Chiefs tame the Bengals?

Vontaze Burfict vs. Travis Kelce

Despite a host of fines over the years, Cincinnati’s Burfict doesn’t appear interested in changing. NFL types spent the week discussing what punishment the linebacker should get for his hit on Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown.

As it turns out, the league doesn’t appear to be concerned over Burfict’s latest cheap shot, so he should be on the field Sunday. Unfortunately for Kansas City, he’s actually an equal opportunity offender. Burfict hits quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends with equal menace.

While the Chiefs can least afford to lose Patrick Mahomes, it’s Kelce who will be exposed the most. The Kansas City tight end is second among NFL tight ends with 33 catches for 468 yards. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s defense has struggled against tight ends, giving up 14 catches and 129 yards to the Steelers’ group.

For his part, Kelce isn’t worried about facing Burfict. In fact, he doesn’t think the hit on Brown was any big deal.

We’ll see what Kelce thinks come Monday morning.

A.J. Green vs. Kendall Fuller

Two weeks ago, Fuller and the Chiefs secondary came alive against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last week, Brady had them looking like the woeful unit from the season’s first four weeks.

Perhaps its because he plays in Cincinnati, but Green frequently gets lost when people discuss the NFL’s best receivers. That doesn’t mean that he can’t destroy even a good defense.

In fact, he’s one of the toughest covers in the NFL.

https://twitter.com/nflnetwork/status/1051140891048468480

Fuller was the player that Kansas City brought in to take the place of Marcus Peters, but the results have not been great. After giving up 247 passing yards a game last season, the Chiefs are currently surrendering 340.3 yards through the air, next-to-last in the NFL.

Safety Jordan Lucas has been coming on strong in recent weeks, but its the corners who will have to keep Green in check. There’s plenty of debate about where Andy Dalton ranks among quarterbacks, but he’s plenty good enough to take advantage of a weak secondary.

Fuller, Steven Nelson, and Orlando Scandrick need to put up at least some resistance to keep from getting into a shootout with Dalton and Green.

Tyreek Hill vs. Dre Kirkpatrick

This just in, the Cheetah is one dangerous cat.

Coming into the season, pass defense was expected to be a strength for the Bengals. Cincinnati finished eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season. Things have not gone according to plan.

The Bengals pass defense hasn’t been as bad as Kansas City, but that’s not saying much. Cincinnati is 28th in the NFL, giving up 292 yards. Kirkpatrick hasn’t come up with an interception yet this season, and neither have his corner counterparts William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard.

Kelce is a threat for the Chiefs. So are Sammy Watkins and Kareem Hunt. Hill, though, is a game breaker. He torched New England for three touchdowns (even if one wasn’t actually meant for him).

The Bengals did a decent job on Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown — right up until they lost him at the worst possible moment.

Hill isn’t as consistent as Brown, yet, but like the Steelers great, he doesn’t need much of an opening to tear the heart out of a defense. If Cincinnati has any hope of coming up with a road win in Kansas City, they can’t afford to let the Cheetah run loose.

Brendon McCullin

Author Brendon McCullin

Once a mover & shaker in Los Angeles, I made the bold move to move to the Midwest, where I now write about sports and entertainment industry topics. A long suffering Philadelphia sports fan, I've learned to trust the process but never trust Pete Rose.

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