AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City ChiefsPatrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow have met twice in the AFC Championship Game

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have established a Super Bowl dynasty that has loomed over the NFL, but Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals have come the closest to ending it early.

In between Super Bowls LV and LVII, the Chiefs lost to the Bengals in the 2021-22 AFC Championship Game. They would meet in the next edition, this time with the opposite result.

Unfortunately, Burrow injured his wrist in the 2023-24 season, curtailing his team’s title hopes. The development seemingly caused Chris Long, the Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, to lose confidence in them.

Speaking to Rich Eisen’s eponymous show last week, Long instead called the Houston Texans as Mahomes and company’s biggest threats.
“It’s not a stretch to say that they’re [Texans] going to win that division and play some home games,” Long said. “You have Danielle Hunter, whom I think is fantastic. Some of the other additions they made, I think, have been really shrewd; and that’s a team that’s gonna have a lot of juice. They get Joe Mixon, who’s still pretty young… They look so damn competent.”

CJ Stroud, Texans have potential to emulate Joe Burrow and Bengals’ 2021 Super Bowl run

Are the Houston Texans the new Cincinnati Bengals? Their roster seems to lean towards that, though with a few differences.

Unlike Joe Burrow, who got injured during a horrid rookie season, CJ Stroud immediately proved himself a winner, clinching the AFC South and reaching the Divisional Round. But just like his AFC North counterpart, he could be set for a better run as a sophomore.

Even if they are set to miss Tank Dell for at least the early part of the 2024 season, the Texans still have Nico Collins, who is coming off career-highs in every statistical category; and tight end Dalton Schultz – just as the Bengals had Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase, and CJ Uzomah.

On the ground, they will have a formidable running back duo of free agent signing Devin Singletary and Burrow’s old teammate Joe Mixon.

On the other side of the ball, Danielle Hunter joins forces with Will Anderson to form a defensive end/edge rusher combination. Speaking of the Chiefs, punter Tommy Townsend provides a massive upgrade on special teams.