In Week 10, the Chiefs took their fourth loss of the season, as the Titans blocked a game-tying field goal in the final seconds. While the Chiefs lost the game in the standings, they dominated the box score, outgaining the Titans by 159 yards and going 7-14 on third down compared to 2-8 for Tennessee. In the end, this game confirmed what we have come to know about the Chiefs: an elite offense, combined with a sub-standard defense is not always a winning recipe.
The Chargers head into this game with a nice long rest after their 2-point defeat at Oakland last Thursday night. Similarly to KC, the Chargers actually outgained the Raiders 315 to 278 in that game, but somehow only managed to throw for 169 yards on a very below average Raiders secondary. The Chargers did run for 146 yards, and rush defense is the major weakness the Chiefs have on that side of the ball.
Chiefs Offense vs. Chargers Defense
Patrick Mahomes wasted no time getting back to elite-level form in his return from a knee injury, completing 36-50 passes for 446 yards and 3 TD. He was sacked just twice and racked up a QBR of 81.2 and a passer rating of 119.3. Overall, the Chiefs have the number one passing attack in the NFL, which should surprise no one.
In an attempt to slow them down, the Chargers will be trotting out the 25th ranked pass defense against this Chiefs offensive arsenal, yikes. It doesn’t get any better for the Chargers when the opposition runs the ball, as LA ranks 26th in rushing defense. KC doesn’t run the ball much, but when they do, they should have no problem moving the ball with Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy.
The Chargers have no reliable way of stopping the Chiefs on offense. It would not be surprising to see more touchdowns from the Chiefs than punts.
Chargers Offense vs. Chiefs Defense
Heading into their game against the Titans, the Chiefs surprisingly had the 11th ranked defense per DVOA, with their pass D leading the way. The Chiefs currently have the #5 pass defense in the NFL, but after getting gashed by Derrick Henry for 188 yards on 23 carries, the Chiefs have fallen to #17 overall on defense, anchored by their 31st ranked rushing defense.
The Chargers welcomed running back Melvin Gordon after his holdout ended in early October, and he racked up his first 100+ yard game of the season on Sunday with 108 yards on 22 carries at the Raiders. The Chargers should feature a steady dose of Gordon in this game to open their passing attack.
If LA cannot establish the pass, it likely won’t matter how many yards Gordon runs for, as this Chargers offense will likely fall too far behind. The Chargers are middle of the pack when it comes to pass protection and are below average when it comes to their offensive line opening running lanes.
This line opened at Chiefs -3 but after the vast majority of bets came in on the Chiefs, the number was adjusted to as low as 3.5 to as high as 5.5. Early in the week as many as 80% of the bets were on KC, but that number has since dropped. Currently, a total of 72% of the bets and 67% of the money has come in on Kansas City, as the public is not concerned at all by the Chiefs loss to the Titans last week.
While fading the public is almost always a sound strategy, I’m not sure how wise it would be to side with Phillip Rivers and this shell of a Chargers team. The venue in Mexico City is a wildcard, but ultimately should not favor one team over the other.
The one area where the venue may have the biggest effect is on the total. Estadio Azteca is the home of the Mexico national football team, as well as Club America. The playing surface is grass, and should be fast enough to allow for points, as long as the field is in good condition. Finding out the status of the playing surface would be wise before placing a bet on the total.
The total on this game opened at 49 and has been bought up to 52 points almost across the board. There is a rogue 50 available if you want to shop around and take the over. 52 is a lot of points, but this game could get into the 60’s without breaking much of a sweat. Neither team can play defense, and both teams have more than capable quarterbacks.
The Chargers might be able to keep this game close for a while, but I would look for the Chiefs to pull away late. A potential cover for the over should be in play the entire game, as long as the field is in quality playing condition.
By Kyle Johansen