Kansas City dominated all season, cruising its way to a 14-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC. On the other hand, Cincinnati began the season 0-2 and was 4-4 before winning eight consecutive games to close out the regular season and win the AFC North.
With that, Colin Cowherd counted down the top 10 players in the AFC title rematch on Wednesday’s edition of “The Herd.”
Who made the cut?
Where do Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes land on Colin’s 10 best players in the AFC Championship Game?
Colin’s thoughts: “Last two postseasons, over 400 yards — blows every other playoff running back away. He’s the highest-graded running back on either team. He reminds me a little bit of a poor man’s Adrian Peterson — he can run over ya, he can run past ya. He’s terrific.”
Colin’s thoughts: “Arguably the best guard in the NFL. The No. 1 PFF rated pass-blocking guard. He’s allowed one or fewer sacks in four of the last five years. Pro-Bowler, All-Pro this season. He had the best season for any guard this year in the NFL.”
Colin’s thoughts: “He’s the highest-graded edge rusher on either team, Chiefs or Bengals, according to PFF. Last two years, [he has] 25.5 sacks. He was just a good get for them. And again, to beat Mahomes, you gotta rush Mahomes. He’ll be incredibly valuable in this spot.”
Colin’s thoughts: “Back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He’s a tough matchup. He’s 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He’s just big. He’s probably not as gifted as Ja’Marr Chase, but he’s a matchup nightmare. Remember when Ja’Marr Chase got hurt? Tee became their No. 1 and was highly, highly successful. Joe Burrow‘s passer rating when targeting Tee Higgins is 113, higher than Burrow targeting Ja’Marr Chase.”
Colin’s thoughts: “Probably the second or first-best center in football. Highest-graded center his first two years, him and Kelce for the Eagles. Did not allow a sack in over 800 snaps. He was good the second he got to the NFL.”
5. Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase
Colin’s thoughts: “More of a home-run threat than Tee Higgins. Nine touchdowns in his last nine games including the playoffs. He also led the NFL in catches of 50-plus yards, so he is the big home-run threat in this game. I think when you play a Kansas City, there’s a big chance you’re gonna fall behind. Can you get quick touchdowns? He’s the guy on the field that can get ’em.”
Colin’s thoughts: “Highest-graded player on either team. Last four years, four-time Pro-Bowler. And if there are injuries on the Bengals’ O-Line interior, then Jones — he’ll have a good game regardless — could be dominating.”
Colin’s thoughts: “Eight-time Pro-Bowler. Only Jerry Rice in league history has more playoff catches than Travis Kelce. Isn’t that incredible?”
2. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Colin’s thoughts: “He’s not playing at 100 percent. Yes, he’s got the highest passer rating in league history. My guess is, though, he’s not gonna have quite the ability to extend plays.”
1. Bengals QB Joe Burrow
Colin’s thoughts: “Situationally, he’s as good as Mahomes, and he’s healthier. So, Mahomes and Burrow are obviously the best players in this game and the most important. I do not believe you can have a high ankle sprain and be 100 percent. I think Mahomes will gut it out, but I think you’ll see fairly early in this game Mahomes doesn’t move quite as well. If he was 100 percent, I’d go Mahomes No. 1 and Burrow a close second.”
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