The Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon in a crucial AFC West showdown from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers come in fresh off a loss the last time out, while they look to spring the upset against the top dog in the AFC. For the Chiefs, five-straight wins since their season-opening defeat has them exactly where they expected to be at this point in the season, though they won’t want to take their foot off the gas. The Chiefs have won three straight in the series, though each of the last four meetings has been decided by a touchdown or less. This one expects to go down to the wire too, as fans won’t want to miss this showdown.
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Chargers Eyeing Massive Opportunity
The Chargers have continued to be little brother to the Chiefs over the last few years and having lost three in a row to them has them looking to snap that streak. They enter this weekend with a losing record and know how important this game is. Not only can they gain ground on the Chiefs in the standings but with a pair of winnable games coming up next, can propel themselves forward in the playoff race too. The scheduling hasn’t been too daunting for them yet, which adds even more concern as to how they’ll handle the defending Super Bowl champs. Even their two wins have only come by a combined 11 points and it’s clear that one way or another, this is likely to be a close one. With Kansas City’s recent run of success in the series, questions remain if the Chargers can overcome those woes.
The Chargers have a number of injuries to worry about, especially on the defensive side as Sunday approaches. Derwin James Jr. (ankle) and Joey Bosa (toe) are both questionable, casting serious doubt over how they’ll gameplan for Kansas City’s offense. The safety position alone has four players ruled as out or questionable, as fans will want to keep an eye on how the secondary holds up in this one.
There’s no doubt that Los Angeles has the offensive firepower to keep pace with Kansas City. They rank top ten in the league in a number of categories, though the ground game will need to improve as they hit the road for this one. The loss of Mike Williams on the outside has hurt but that hasn’t stopped Justin Herbert (9 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) from putting up big numbers thus far. With a healthy Austin Ekeler in the mix, along with the always-reliable Keenan Allen, this offense knows that they need to put up big points to have a chance in this one. With a defense tanking near the bottom of football, especially against the pass, beyond the added injuries too, that’ll put quite a bit of pressure on the offense to be buttoned up.
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Chiefs Wins Keeping Coming
After serious questions were raised after losing the opener, the Chiefs have done nothing but continue their winning ways of late. They’ve won five in a row, granted four of those came against teams that are unlikely to make the playoffs. With those wins has come growing momentum and while the offense still needs work, they’ll be happy to be seeing a familiar foe with an injury-riddled secondary in this one. Luckily for Kansas City, the defense has been elite, which has been a worry in previous seasons. With both the offense and defense growing together, they remain a serious contender for the Super Bowl as the season wears on. Given their domination against AFC West foes over the years, they’ll be looking to keep that momentum going into this one.
It has helped that Kansas City has been able to stay relatively healthy in this one. The passing game might take a slight hit, with Justin Watson (elbow) and Richie James (knee) both being ruled out. Beyond those two though, the starters and key pieces remain intact as they get ready for Sunday’s home game.
All eyes continue to be on the offense but the defense is what has set this team apart this season. They rank fifth in the league in total defense and fifth in the league against the pass, both of which should take some pressure off the offense. Patrick Mahomes remains an elite quarterback and despite the increase in turnovers, continues to turn heads. It doesn’t hurt to have Travis Kelce but the emergence of Rashee Rice could be exactly what this team needs at a key position. With the ground game growing in confidence too, this team certainly has the weapons to make life difficult for the Chargers in this one.
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Full-Game Side Bet
The Chiefs finally have the elite defense to set themselves apart and that’ll be the difference in this one. The offense continues to grow in confidence and as long as they improve their red zone scoring, will continue to put up points. Kelce will see his health improve and with the youngsters in the wide receiver room growing in convenience too, that’s going to spell trouble for an injury-riddled defense for the Chargers. While LA has been able to stay in games with their offense this season, this is likely the best defense they’ve seen thus far, with Kansas City’s ability to pressure Herbert, coming in as a huge factor. The Chargers have only covered the spread once this season, while the Chiefs have covered in back-to-back weeks and four of their last five overall. It’s clear that the Chiefs have their gameplans working on both sides of the ball and the Chargers will be a step behind in this one.
Prediction: Kansas City (-5.5)
Full-Game Total Pick
While these two typically play high-scoring affairs, Kansas City’s defense and tendency lately to lean more on the run, will drive down scoring in this version of the rivalry. The Chargers have talent but they have made mistakes at times too, while Staley’s play-calling continues to be a major concern. Against a Kansas City defense that is stout at all levels, the scoring won’t come nearly as easily as it has come in previous weeks. For the Chiefs, they’ve decreased their reliance on the home run threat, will improving the ground game too. Their ability to work the clock more has helped them this season and will keep the Chargers off the field. The under has hit in each of Los Angeles’ last three games, while hitting in both of Kansas City’s last two games too.
Prediction: Under 48
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