5 Questions with the Enemy: Tom Childs of SB Nation’s Arrowhead Pride

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5 Questions with the Enemy: Tom Childs of SB Nation’s Arrowhead Pride

We have another go at things with one of the head men over at SB Nation’s Kansas City Chiefs site.

To get a read on things for the second rematch in as many seasons, we tapped the knowledge of Tom Childs over at SB Nation’s Arrowhead Pride.

1.) AC: So, give me a read on things, if you can, please? There is an embedded rivalry narrative with the and AFC West teams (obviously), but where is Chiefs Kingdom at with these new Bengals? Has Cincinnati leapfrogged a number of past KC rivals with what’s transpired in the last year-plus alone?

So now, I sit here with a conundrum. Do I go with option A? To admit that the Bengals have now replaced the Bills as the Chiefs’ biggest non-divisional rival and admit that previous comments were foolish? Or, do I go for option B? I double down on my comments from a couple of months ago and hope that the Chiefs do enough on Sunday to vindicate me.

However, to answer this question, the answer ultimately stems from a sense of insecurity that I didn’t think would happen so soon in the Mahomes era. It’s not that I don’t think the Chiefs are great — they’re exceptional. I just wasn’t ready for another AFC team to come in and spoil the precession through the AFC that I was expecting. Kudos to the Bengals for playing the role of disruptor.

After all that, I’ve decided to keep the answer to myself. I don’t want the smoke.”

2.) AC: In the last three games, Kansas City has tried a number of tactics, and while they’ve been effective, they’ve still gone 0-3. What’s going to be the key difference, game-plan-wise, that the Chiefs are looking to employ the fourth time around?

With that being said, I am hoping for some adjustments from Chiefs defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo. Too often, Joe Burrow picked on the Chiefs’ linebackers in the passing game so something has to change. If the Chiefs’ defensive line can hold then perhaps the Chiefs can afford to replace Willie Gay with the impressive rookie safety Bryan Cook or the veteran Justin Reid to fill the voids in the middle of the field.”

3.) AC: Being located in Southern California, I’ve been a big fan of Trent McDuffie. Still, the past couple of seasons, Kansas City hasn’t had a ton of answers for the Bengals’ pass-catchers. Is the focus this week to take away the short/intermediate passes to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, or sell out to take away the deep ball and take their chances with Joe Mixon and the battered offensive line?

How much the Chiefs can hold up in the first two or three seconds of money downs (third and longs in case you were wondering) will go a long way to deciding this matchup. The Bengals’ three receivers pose a truly daunting task. I am more hoping and not thinking that the Chiefs’ defensive backs are up to the task.”

The Chiefs’ defensive front (Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Carlos Dunlap, etc.) is impressive and they do a number of things well. What do you believe the plan of attack up front will be (blitzing, contain, or other) their attack will be to counter the Bengals’ offense and attrition on the offensive line?

Both Burrow and Mahomes are masters of extending plays and destroying defensive morale. However, the Chiefs rank second in sacks, pressures and hits in 2022.

Some, but not all of it, has come in the way of blitzing — so I can imagine that Spagnuolo will want to continue that trend on Sunday. My concern is that if a blitz doesn’t pay off, then Burrow will make the Chiefs pay.

In my opinion, the Bengals’ offensive line vs the Chiefs’ pass rush will be the most important battle of the day.”

5.) AC: Be it because of the Chiefs’ high-flying offense and/or his time with the , JuJu Smith-Schuster will be in focus in this one. He gushed publicly about this week’s game plan, but what kind of effect and how important is he this week?

I am intrigued to see how the Chiefs deploy him on Sunday. I’ve got a sneaky feeling that the Chiefs could commit heavily to the run and that JuJu’s sheer mass on the outside could be a part of it.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that JuJu isn’t on your Christmas card list every year. While there will obviously be some added motivation for JuJu to beat this particular team, I want to believe that the motivation of reaching his first Super Bowl will be enough. Beating the Bengals will simply be the cherry on top.”

. The Chiefs were initially favored, but after Vegas learned of Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury and the Bengals’ recent history against Kansas City, the line has flipped to the Bengals being the favorites by 1-1.5 points. How do you see this one going and how surprised are you that this is the line in Arrowhead this Sunday?

I don’t think losing will result in the Chiefs rebuilding their team to beat the Bengals — nor do I believe that a Chiefs win will make them kings of the conference from now until Mahomes’ retirement. This will not be the last time these two teams see each other in the AFC Championship Game.

You asked for a prediction, but I’m going to sit on the fence. Actually no, I’m going to let the law of averages influence my decision and predict a Chiefs win as surely — SURELY — the Bengals can’t get the Chiefs for a fourth time in 14 months, right?

Thanks for having me. I hope I haven’t annoyed you all as much as the last time I was here.”

Our thanks to Tom Childs over at Arrowhead Pride for the chat. Be sure to see our side of the conversation over there, too!