If the Cincinnati Bengals are going to make it to the Super Bowl for the second straight season, safety Jessie Bates III wants to leave no question the Bengals are the best team in the AFC. That's why Bates is hoping Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is fully healthy for the AFC championship game Sunday.
Despite that injury, Mahomes is expected to start against the Bengals. If Mahomes can't go, Chad Henne, who led the Chiefs on a 98-yard touchdown drive against the Jaguars, would get the starting nod.
Bates is hoping Henne stays on the bench. Because if the Bengals defeat the Chiefs, Bates doesn't want anyone to say they only won because Mahomes was injured, per Arrowhead Pride.
“I hope that he is healthy,” said the safety. “I hope that he is 100 percent healthy so there is no excuses. We’ll be ready.”
That's a bold statement. Mahomes is arguably the best player in the NFL. He's already won a Super Bowl, he's been the league MVP and will likely take home his second MVP award. Mahomes will likely win the award despite losing All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill last offseason. If Mahomes were to miss the contest, the Bengals, who are already favored, would see their odds rise drastically.
Bates, however, doesn't want it to be easy. If the Bengals are going to make a title run, Bates wants to beat the best of the best. It's an admirable way to play the game.
Here's hoping Mahomes feels good enough to do his usual thing Sunday. Bates will get the tough matchup he wants and fans will get to see a tremendous football game. You can't ask for a better quarterback matchup than Joe Burrow versus Mahomes.