The Kansas City Chiefs still have a chance to claim a first-round bye in the playoffs, but it leaves no room for error in their final divisional game of the NFL regular season.
The Chiefs (11-4) can claim the AFC’s No. 2 seed in the postseason with a home win over the Los Angeles Chargers along with seeing the Miami Dolphins upset the New England Patriots on Sunday, and the oddsmakers seem convinced they can do their part with Kansas City opening at nine-point favorites. But the Chargers (5-10), who are playing for nothing but confidence, have only lost just once all season by more than a touchdown and are looking for a little bit of revenge against the AFC West champions.
Here’s a closer look at the Week 17 showdown between the two AFC West rivals along with background, stats and advice on where to put your money.
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Chargers vs. Chiefs Game Details
Date: Sunday, December 29
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
Spread: Chiefs -9
*All odds are courtesy of OddsShark.
Some of the popular books are only giving the Chiefs eight points, but all of them have them favored by at least touchdown ever since they opened as 7-point favorites, according to VegasInsider.com. It shows in the way the bets are rolling in with 84 percent of public bets taking the Chiefs, according to ActionNetwork.com.
The majority of bets, though, are trusting the under on this one with just 36 percent of public bets taking a risk on the over. Reasonable deductions on both fronts, especially when you consider how well the Chiefs’ defense has played over its past two games.
- Los Angeles is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
- Total has gone OVER in 4 of Los Angeles’ last 6 games
- Kansas City is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
- Kansas City is 12-5 SU in its last 17 home games
- Kansas City is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games against Los Angeles
- Los Angeles is 1-10 SU in its last 11 games against Kansas City
*All trends are courtesy of OddsShark.
Analysis & Picks
Patrick Mahomes is off the injury report at the right time for the Chiefs with one final tune-up game left before the start of the playoffs. Despite battling injuries for much of the season, the reigning MVP has maintained the NFL’s second-best quarterback rating of 77.6 while throwing for 3,857 yards, 25 touchdowns and just four interceptions — tied for the second-fewest in the league. Mahomes is also coming off a three-touchdown performance against Chicago, in which he tossed for two touchdowns and ran for another without turning the ball over once.
Figuring out how best to keep Mahomes safe, though, is the newest wrinkle for Andy Reid and his staff after placing pass-blocking rusher Spencer Ware on the injured reserve earlier this week. The Chargers don’t boast the most fearsome pass rush, but defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram make for dangerous pieces that could do some damage if allowed to bust through.
Meanwhile, the Chargers offense stacks up against a Chiefs defensive unit that has held two straight opponents to three points and must find a way to do more than in recent weeks. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw no touchdowns or interceptions in Week 16’s home loss to Oakland, but he buckled when facing pressure from Minnesota in the game prior and was picked off three times. To avoid similar mistakes, the Chargers would be wise to turn to dynamic running backs Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon against a defense that allows 129.5 rushing yards per game.
In all honesty, though, it is hard to imagine a Chiefs team this determined would drop a home game against the last-place team in the division. Even if there are a few head-scratching moments, the Chiefs shouldn’t have much trouble doing to the Chargers what they did last week to the Bears.
Pick: Chiefs -9
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Chargers 13