Bengals Running Back Joe Mixon Stakes Claim To Bengals Being Best Team In AFC

Running back Joe Mixon has been a secret weapon in helping Joe Burrow and Cincinnati Benglas reach the franchise's first Super Bowl in 33 years. He wants his respect. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals star running back Joe Mixon is putting the rest of the AFC on notice as it pertains to who’s the team to beat in the conference. All season we’ve heard it’s a two-team race between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, and with good reason; they have arguably the two best quarterbacks in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. But Mixon is saying the Bengals are the defending AFC Champions who came one play away from winning the Super Bowl.

As his team prepares for a huge Monday night home game against those aforementioned Bills, Mixon let his feelings be known. Talking to reporters Saturday, the former Oklahoma Sooners star — who’s never lacked confidence — had a lot to say.

“At the end of the day, what people got to realize and understand, we the big dog of the AFC and that’s what it is. For anything to happen, it goes through us.”

The 11-4 Bengals host the AFC-leading 12-3 Bills in a game with huge playoff seeding implications.

“We know what our end goal is, and in order to get to that end goal we have to get through Buffalo. We got to keep one week at a time, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Mixon Likes His Guys Chances Against Bills Defense

The Bills are a very good defense known for making it tough on opposing teams. And while the season-ending injury to superstar edge rusher Von Miller stings, it hasn’t hurt the team too much yet. Mixon says while they’re good, they’ll have to play the Bengals straight up, with their three talented wide receivers in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.

“The best thing they’re gonna have to play us honest. If you want to cheat, whatever you want to do, we’re going make you pay, whichever way you want to do it. That’s on you, however y’all want to play it.

“But at the same time, we’re going to play our game and we’re not going to let nobody dictate what we wanna do. That’s just what it’s gonna be.”

Bengals have been good in all three phases this season. They upgraded their porous offensive line, and their defense has been good all season. On special teams they’ve also thrived. Quarterback Joe Burrow is one of the best and coolest customers under pressure at the position.

Bengals Aren’t Afraid: Beat Chiefs Three Times In 2022

What gives Mixon and the Bengals the confidence needed to believe they can play with anyone is their success they’ve had against the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2022, the Bengals beat Chiefs three times, including their memorable AFC Championship Game comeback win from 21-3 down at Arrowhead Stadium. That in itself has given them the belief that they’ve arrived, and the confidence of Burrow, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick and 2019 Heisman winner, just adds to the belief.

The Bengals believe they’re positioned to make a return trip to Super Sunday, and from the sound of it that confidence is running rampant throughout the team’s facility. Now they have to go out and prove it, beginning with Monday night’s big game.