Will Chiefs extend dominant run by AFC Championship Game hosts?
For the fourth time in as many seasons, the AFC championship runs through Arrowhead Stadium. And if past results are any indication, that bodes well for the hosts on Sunday.
After last week's thrilling overtime win over the Bills, the Chiefs will make history this weekend as the first NFL team to host four consecutive conference championship games. This time, they'll take on the Bengals (+7), who are on this stage for the first time in 33 years.
Home-field advantage has paid off for Kansas City in the last two postseasons, and it could be a deciding factor in this matchup, too.
Since the 2006 season, the home team has won 13 of 15 AFC title games with an impressive 10-5 record against the spread. Oftentimes, it hasn't been close - the 15 hosts have outscored the visiting side by 8.0 points per game, which includes eight wins by at least nine points.
Two of those came courtesy of Kansas City, which has blown out the Titans and Bills in consecutive seasons. Next up is Cincinnati, which is looking to avoid becoming a footnote in an ominous trend:
|2020||Chiefs (-3) vs. Bills||38-24||W||W|
|2019||Chiefs (-7.5) vs. Titans||35-24||W||W|
|2018||Chiefs (-3) vs. Patriots||31-37||L||L|
|2017||Patriots (-7.5) vs. Jaguars||24-20||L||W|
|2016||Patriots (-6) vs. Steelers||36-17||W||W|
|2015||Broncos (+3) vs. Patriots||20-18||W||W|
|2014||Patriots (-7) vs. Colts||45-7||W||W|
|2013||Broncos (-5) vs. Patriots||26-16||W||W|
|2012||Patriots (-8) vs. Ravens||13-28||L||L|
|2011||Patriots (-7) vs. Ravens||23-20||L||W|
|2010||Steelers (-4) vs. Jets||24-19||W||W|
|2009||Colts (-8.5) vs. Jets||30-17||W||W|
|2008||Steelers (-6) vs. Ravens||23-14||W||W|
|2007||Patriots (-14.5) vs. Chargers||21-12||L||W|
|2006||Colts (-3.5) vs. Patriots||38-34||W||W|
Since the Patriots' outright loss in the 2013 AFC title game, home teams are 7-1 straight up / 6-2 ATS and have outscored visiting teams by 11.5 points per game, with five of those eight contests decided by double digits.
As mentioned above, two of those wins were by the Chiefs, who have been nearly invincible at home since Patrick Mahomes took over as the team's starting quarterback in 2018.
In the last four seasons, Kansas City is 6-2 ATS in home playoff games, outpacing opponents by 11.1 points per game with a 7-1 record outright. One of those two ATS losses came against the Browns in a game that Mahomes left early; the other was that epic 2019 AFC title game against New England in Mahomes' AFC championship debut.
This time, second-year passer Joe Burrow is the one making his first start in this spot, which is bad news for the Bengals. Since the NFL changed its postseason format in 2002, quarterbacks making their AFC title debuts are 0-11 SU / 2-9 ATS. Those within their first three NFL seasons have fared even worse, losing all six tries by an average of 15.7 points.
Burrow will be tasked with not only reversing that trend but doing it in one of the NFL's most hostile environments against the league's preeminent coach and quarterback duo. Andy Reid has won 14 of 20 playoff home games in his 23-year career with a 7-1 SU / 5-3 ATS mark as a home favorite of 7-plus points, including 4-1 SU / 3-2 ATS in nine years in Kansas City.
It all adds up to an overwhelmingly favorable spot for the reigning AFC champions, who have already made history with their dominance over the past four seasons. Fittingly, all that stands between them and a third straight Super Bowl berth is another home win.
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