The Bengals play with a feeling that everyone is against them, and that’s just how they like it.
That attitude starts with the team leaders, especially Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals will head to Highmark Stadium this Sunday to play the Bills in the divisional round, but they feel the game should be played on a neutral site like the potential AFC Championship between Buffalo and the Kansas City Chiefs will be.
The teams have started selling tickets to that game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which running back Joe Mixon has called “disrespectful.” The Bills are a consensus 5.5-point favorite over the Bengals, but they want to remind the world of one fact.
“I guess we’re underdogs to them, but at the end of the day, they got to remember, we got the same folks and we only better,” Mixon told reporters Wednesday, per team video. “We were the team last year to win the AFC Championship, and at the end of the day, we got all the cards right now. So we’ve got to do whatever we can to go in there and play Bengals-style of football. …”
Cincinnati survived a battle against the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round, thanks in large part to Sam Hubbard’s unbelievable touchdown. But head coach Zac Taylor knows his team’s identity isn’t backing down from any challenge.
“We know that we’re the defending AFC champions, Taylor told reporters Wednesday, per team video. “There’s an edge to this team. We’re not an underdog to anybody. I think that’s just the feeling we’ve had all season. We don’t really care what anyone says about us. We know we belong on the field with every team in this league.”
The Bengals have +400 odds to win the conference and +800 odds to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Chiefs and the Bills are the favorites to come out of the AFC with +140 and +165 odds to win the conference, respectively, and +300 and +350 odds to win the Super Bowl, respectively.