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NFL Championship 2023: Kansas City Chiefs' road to Arizona

At this point in the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes duopoly, the Kansas City Chiefs are just expected to make an NFL Championship run every year, but that shouldn't take away from a superhuman season from the quarterback on the road to the big game in Arizona.

Mahomes finished the regular season with the most passing yards (5,250) in the NFL, providing the power source for the Chiefs' number-one-ranked offence as Kansas City went 14-3 further to cement their status as the powerhouse of a competitive AFC conference.

This version of the Chiefs still packs plenty of punch when they have the ball, but as we've seen this season, they are far more balanced than previous incarnations and look a serious match for their forthcoming opponents, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Despite having the favourite for this season's MVP honour and arguably the best quarterback in football on their side, the Chiefs are two-point underdogs at 10/11 for their third world title in five years. Here’s how they got to the game.

What:Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Championship 2023
Where:State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
When:23:30, Sunday 12th February, 2023
How to watch:ITV1 and Sky Sports NFL
Odds (Money Line):KC Chiefs 11/10, PHI Eagles 10/13

Chiefs set out stall early on

Kansas City had to reshape their offence during the off-season following the departure of Tyreek Hill, bringing in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the hope of replacing the Cheetah.

On defence, the Chiefs had also lost leader Tyrann Mathieu, while their AFC West rivals had spent big in the off-season in the hope of closing the gap to KC.

But any hopes their divisional foes might have had that they would need time to figure things out were quickly dismissed as Reid's men went 4-1 to start the season.

The only blip on the radar was a loss to the Indianapolis Colts as they went into a key matchup with the Buffalo Bills appearing to be in fine form.

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Kansas City fail key tests

A playoff rematch with the Bills was seen as a key indicator of where the power lay in the AFC and ended with Buffalo just claiming the spoils 24-20 after a back-and-forth encounter.

Kansas City quickly bounced back, demolishing the San Francisco 49ers 44-23 in their next game to start a run of five straight wins.

That led Mahomes and co into another acid test away to the Cincinnati Bengals, the team that beat them in the AFC Championship game the previous season.

Once more, it was the Bengals and their own star quarterback Joe Burrow who came out on top 27-24 after a thrilling game, leading to questions as to whether Burrow and Bills QB Josh Allen had surpassed Mahomes.

The Chiefs would quickly bounce back from the Bengals' loss to win their final five matches, clinching a seventh straight AFC West title with a 14-3 record.

Mahomes comes up big again

With the postponement of the Bills and Bengals' Week 17 matchup leaving them unable to catch the Chiefs and use the tiebreaker they held over Kansas City, the Arrowhead Stadium outfit secured the AFC's number one seed and home advantage through the playoffs.

Following their bye through the Wild Card Round, the Chiefs were given a scare by the Jacksonville Jaguars when Mahomes suffered an ankle sprain early on.

Mahomes returned to finish the game but it was the defence that saw Reid's men across the line, securing two vital turnovers in the fourth quarter to see the Chiefs through to a fifth straight AFC Championship game.

A rematch with the Bengals awaited and despite not being at 100 per cent, Mahomes was able to do enough with a banged-up offence to edge out Cincinnati in a nail bitter 23-20.

The defence once again had a big role to play with Chris Jones and Frank Clark having monster games to help send Kansas City back to the NFL Championship game in search of redemption after their 31-9 mauling at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago.

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