For the second week of the preseason, the schedule pits the Chiefs against the Bengals in Cincinnati. The Chiefs are coming into the game following a home loss against the 49ers, while the Bengals defeated the Buccaneers at home in week one. Last season, the Bengals failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2010. That was the year before drafting quarterback Andy Dalton, who has been good, but not great in Cincinnati. This will be a good test for both teams as teams inch closer to the regular season. Here are some questions to look for going into tonight’s game.
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Can the Chiefs defense stop Joe Mixon?
Joe Mixon enters his rookie season in Cincinnati, surrounded by some chatter. Mixon may have been the first running back taken in this year’s draft if not for the off field worries made by teams. Mixon enters a situation in Cincinnati where the Bengals already have two experienced running backs. Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill have split the backfield duties for the last few seasons. In the first preseason game, Mixon rushed for 31 yards on 6 carries. He also caught a pass for 11 yards. Mixon has all the tools to be an outstanding and versatile NFL running back.
How many deep balls can the Chiefs quarterbacks connect on?
In the first preseason game, all of the Chiefs quarterbacks went deep on the first snap that they took. Fans are aware of the strength in Patrick Mahomes arm, but Alex Smith is still the main guy and he is rumored to be playing the entire first half. Smith has improved on the deep ball the last few seasons in Kansas City. If this continues into the regular season the offense could have one of their best seasons under Andy Reid.
How many points could be put on the scoreboard?
Last season, the Bengals declined in scoring defense. In 2015, Cincinnati was second in scoring defense. The Bengals have added a good crop of defensive players in the draft the last few seasons that they are high on, to prepare for the future. Players like Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis are plus sized edge defenders with speed. The Chiefs may see a lot of those two tonight. Plus, since the Chiefs last game against the Bengals, Kansas City has allowed 473 points in 28 games, the lowest in the NFL. This game could see points at a premium, or it may be an all out back and forth shootout.
Will Chris Jones be playing?
From the looks of things on social media, it looks like Chris Jones did not make the trip to Cincinnati. Jones was able to practice for a full week for the first time all training camp, as he was coming off a knee surgery. It would be good to see him in the game, but knowing Jones is improving with his health is important for the Chiefs defense.
Any special teams highlight this week?
Last week, the Chiefs defense was able to block a punt and recovered the ball deep inside of San Francisco territory. The history of success that special teams coach Dave Toub has had in Kansas City and in the NFL has been proven. Last game, the Chiefs tested out multiple return men on kicks and one of them could possibly break one for a score tonight.
As stated earlier, Alex Smith is expected to play the first half, while Mahomes will get the third quarter and Tyler Bray the fourth quarter. Mahomes was listed as the third quarterback for the game against the 49ers. Now, his recent improvements have propelled him into the backup role. This should be an entertaining matchup and it will be the Chiefs first road game of the year.
Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.