While last night’s 34-20 contest on Thursday Night Football was a victory for Baltimore, it was a loss for the Ravens as well as their opponents, the Cincinnati Bengals, as both teams lost key players to injuries. The Ravens, who moved to 8-3 on the season with the win, lost star tight end Mark Andrews to an ankle injury that is expected to end his season. The Bengals, who dropped their second game in a row to fall to 5-5, lost superstar quarterback Joe Burrow to a sprained right wrist and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return. With Cincinnati’s season potentially already circling the drain, the team may take its time getting Burrow back onto the field. (UPDATE: Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor announced on Friday afternoon that Burrow suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist and will not play again this season. With Burrow out, the Bengals will turn to backup quarterback Jake Browning.)
While neither team was a Super Bowl favorite entering last night’s game, the Ravens and Bengals were both definitely contenders to unseat the Chiefs atop the AFC and make it to the NFL’s championship game. Now, thanks to the injury to Andrews and Burrow potentially missing extended time for a team that is hovering at .500, the odds of Baltimore or Cincy getting past Kansas City and making a championship run are not very good.
According to DraftKings, the Chiefs have the best chance at making, and winning, the Super Bowl, followed closely by the 49ers and then the Eagles. Based on those predictions as well as what happened last night, it is seeming increasingly likely that the Eagles traveling to Kansas City in three days to take on the Chiefs on Monday Night Football will be a Super Bowl rematch as well as a Super Bowl preview.
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While the Chiefs have not really (7-2) cooked on offense the way they have in years past and something has seemed a bit off with the Eagles (8-1) all season despite their sparkling record, Philadelphia and Kansas City lead their respective conferences with eight regular-season games remaining. The loser of Monday’s game may fall out of the top spot temporarily but, at this point, there’s reason to believe that the Eagles and Chiefs will be the last two teams standing, again, when all is said and done.
As for Monday’s game, the Chiefs are slight favorites — for good reason. Andy Reid, who is the winningest coach in Philadelphia history and will pass Hank Stram, Kansas City’s winningest coach, with a win on Monday, is 31-6 after a bye week. To improve on that mark, the Chiefs will need to contain Jalen Hurts and Philly’s explosive offense as well as produce some fireworks of their own with Patrick Mahomes.
“It’s going to be a great game. You’ve got great teams in general,” Mahomes said this week. “Jalen is a great quarterback but I think just the whole entire team on both sides — two teams that usually find a way to get a win, playing on Monday Night Football in front of the whole world. I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Don’t be shocked if you see the rematch in February.