Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers (11/20 @ 8:20 PM EST)
Spread: KC -6.5
Money Line: KC -292 / LAC +249
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Overview and Betting
The Kansas City Chiefs (7-2) will head to LA Sunday night to renew their rivalry with the Chargers (5-4). It’s been a close series over the last few years, with their previous five games being decided to be no more than seven points. The Chiefs lead the AFC West, with the Chargers trailing by two games. LA will need a win tonight to keep their hopes of a division title alive.
KC is 4-5 against the spread, going 3-1 on the road. They have gone over the point total four times this season.
LAC is 6-3 versus the spread, going 1-3 at home. They have gone over the point total of four times.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chief’s offense has again been dominant, averaging 435.4 yards per game (2nd in NFL). Despite losing Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes is playing at an MVP level again. He leads the NFL in passing yards (2,936) and touchdowns (25). He went for 331 yards last week, which was his lowest total since October 10th. Mahomes has been locked in on tight end Travis Kelce, who leads the team with 750 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s been dominant as always, despite seeing more coverage with Hill gone. JuJu Smith-Schuster is their top receiver, with 615 yards and two touchdowns. Smith suffered a concussion last week, so his status for Sunday night is up in the air. If he can’t go, look for newly acquired Kadarius Tony to see more looks and have an opportunity to establish himself in this offense. The Chiefs also have two major deep threats, with speedsters Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman rounding out one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.
The run game has had less success this season, finding themselves in the bottom ten of the NFL. They are splitting time between Clyde Edwards-Helaire (239 yards, 5 combined TD) and Isiah Pacheco (279 yards and 1 TD). Last week, Pacheco took most of the carries while CEH was limited to passing downs. Pacheco played well, but he did have a fumble, so we’ll see if they continue to lean on him Sunday night.
The KC defense allows 368 yards per game, partly due to a struggling secondary. They rank in the bottom 10 of the NFL, but are supported by a run defense allowing the 5th fewest rush yards per game. Their line is loaded with talent, including Chris Jones, who leads the team with seven sacks. He’s supported by linebacker Nick Bolton who has a team-high 81 tackles, including eight for a loss. The secondary isn’t deep, but L’Jarius Sneed has been making big plays all season. He has three interceptions, 3.5 sacks, and forced three fumbles. This week, he’ll be a player to watch as the Chargers may get Mike Williams and Keenan Allen back.
Los Angeles Chargers
The play of Justin Herbert has this offense averaging 357 yards per game, despite a slew of injuries. He has 2,450 yards and 14 touchdowns and is finding ways to generate offense without Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. That could change this week, and the Chargers will have both receivers back at practice. Given the game’s stakes, we expect both will have a good chance to suit up this weekend. The duo would be a massive upgrade, as Herbert’s top options are currently Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter. The other question mark is tight end Gerald Everett (364 yards, 2 TD), who has played a prominent role with Allen and Williams out but picked up an injury last week. He has a good chance to play, meaning this may finally see this Chargers offense at full strength.
Austin Ekler has been fantastic as the Charger’s top weapon, doing damage on the ground (451 yards, 6 TDs) and through the air (420 yards, 4 TDs). He’s always good for 100 combined yards, despite being the main focus of opposing defenses. With Allen and Williams out, Ekler has led the team with 67 receptions. He’ll be facing an elite Chief’s defense against the run, but his ability as a pass catcher will keep them honest.
The Charger’s defense allows 372 yards per game, thanks to a run defense that ranks 29th in the NFL. This is despite another great year from Khalil Mack, who leads the team with seven sacks. The LA pass defense is better, led by safety Derwin James Jr. He has been making plays all over the field, with a team-high 85 tackles (3 sacks, 4 TFL, 3 PD). He’ll be the focal point of this unit Sunday as they face the NFL’s most prolific pass attack.
Free Pick: Chargers -6.5
We believe the importance of this game will lead Allen, Williams, and Everett to suit up Sunday night. It cannot be understated how much Allen and Williams have been missed, and their addition will help open up more room for Ekler to work against a bad Chief’s secondary. Their first matchup was decided by three points, and the Chargers were already without Keenan Allen. That game also showed us that the defense can handle the Mahomes-Kelce combination, as they limited the dominant tight end to 51 yards. We think the Chargers will come in desperate for the win at home and will flash the potential of this offense when healthy.
We’re taking the 6.5 points to roll with the Chargers Sunday night.