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This Thursday night, the Los Angeles Chargers (10-3) travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs (11-2). This Thursday night primetime matchup could easily decide the winner of the AFC West. In addition, the AFC playoff picture will be significantly affected by the outcome. The stakes are high, as both teams are coming off a short week with multiple key players possibly out with injuries.
The Chiefs have proven themselves as an incredible offensive team led by second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. With weapons like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Mahomes has had a field day this season, slinging the football all around the field.
The Chiefs’ defense, however, is incredibly suspect. Their secondary has been flat out bad. But with a now consistent pass rush and the prospect of a returning Eric Berry, the Chiefs might see better play on the defensive side of the ball.
The Chargers are on fire. They’ve won nine out of their last ten games after starting the season 1-2. Before a few weeks ago, the Chargers hadn’t beat real contender, but on December 2, they marched into Pittsburgh and defeated a confident Steelers team. Philip Rivers has been great. Like Mahomes, he has a plethora of deadly weapons to throw to. Keenan Allen is a premiere talent and the Chargers go-to wide receiver, but don’t forget about Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, both of whom are consistent contributors.
The Chargers also recently welcomed back outstanding pass rusher Joey Bosa. Bosa’s presence was immediately felt in last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Charger defense has been good, but it just got better.
Time: 8:20 ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Channel: NBC (National)
Kansas City Chiefs & Los Angeles Chargers Depth Charts
|Kansas City Chiefs||Patrick Mahomes||Spencer Ware||Tyreek Hill||Chris Conley||Demarcus Robinson||Travis Kelce|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Philip Rivers||Justin Jackson||Keenan Allen||Tyrell Williams||Mike Williams||Antonio Gates|
NFL Team Rankings: https://www.lineups.com/nfl-team-rankings
Coming off a comeback overtime victory against Baltimore, the Chiefs hold their fate in their hands. They are banged up and on a short week. The first game of the season, the Chiefs came out and put up 38 points on the Chargers, dominating them with offensive firepower. However, it’s December now. The Chargers have hit their stride, and the Chiefs are looking at multiple questionable players. Last weekend, Tyreek Hill hurt his foot during the game against Baltimore and claims that his “foot’s bad”. Hill is a game-changer. He is currently 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards (1,258) and leads the league in yards per touch (15.4). Hill’s participation and health are major keys to a Chiefs’ victory on Thursday.
Also on the Chiefs’ injury report is RB Spencer Ware, and G Cam Erving, two important parts of the Chiefs’ potent offense. Both did not participate in practice on Monday.
Also, the releasing of Kareem Hunt two weeks ago will limit the Chiefs’ offense going forward. Hunt was a 1,000 yard rusher his rookie year and made dynamic plays all throughout this season.
On the more optimistic side of the Chiefs, both Travis Kelce and the defensive pass rush have been fantastic. Last week, pass rusher Justin Houston had a huge game, sacking Lamar Jackson multiple times, including a clutch strip sack at the end of regulation. Pass rusher Dee Ford has been fantastic all year. There’s only been four games this season that he hasn’t had a sack.
The Chiefs’ defense has been notoriously bad. They are the 3rd worst defense in the NFL, despite being a two loss team. Against a team as hot as the Chargers, the Chiefs need an x-factor. And they just might get it in the form of a returning Eric Berry. He hasn’t seen the field in over a year due to an Achilles tear, but he’s the leader of that defense. If Berry plays, he will bring a new energy to the defensive side of the ball.
The Chargers rank 12th in rushing yard per game in the NFL. This is huge because the Chiefs have the 8th worst rush defense in the league. Like we saw last week with the Ravens, teams can run all over the Chiefs. Both running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are questionable, but if one (or both) of them can play, expect big yards on the ground.
Neither Ekeler or Gordon practiced Monday, but the Chargers have much more than a ground game. Philip Rivers has over 3,500 yards passing this season with a fantastic 114.5 QB rating. Rivers is especially good at getting the ball out of his hands quickly which will pose as a huge challenge to a Chiefs’ defense that relies heavily on its pass rush. If Rivers can get the ball out quickly, the Chiefs will have problems. The Chiefs have the worst pass defense in the NFL, giving up 281.8 passing yards per game. Expect Rivers to have a big game.
Joey Bosa also has returned for the Chargers. The Chargers already had a solid defense that only allows 20.8 points per game. Now, with Bosa, the Chargers could have something special; Bosa is one of the best pass rushers in the game. Look for him to give the Chiefs’ O-line and Pat Mahomes trouble.
Don’t overlook special teams either. Chargers’ kicker Michael Badgley made a 59 yard kick last Sunday. They might finally have a kicker. It’s possible that the Chargers have something special in every facet of the game.
With the newly released ESPN Power Rankings, the Chargers are now fourth in the NFL while the Chiefs are second. This game will certainly be exciting, but what it will probably come down to is health: which team can play their offensive weapons with near hundred percent health.
Chargers vs. Chiefs Betting Odds
The Chiefs are a -3.5 favorite to win Thursday night. The Chiefs are undefeated at home this season, a stat that shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, the Chiefs haven’t lost to the Chargers at home since 2013.
The over/under opened at 56.5 but is now at 53. The Chiefs are have hit the over eight times this season, including their last three games. The Chiefs are also 8-4-1 against the spread this season.
The moneyline is at -190 for the Chiefs and +160 for the Chargers. The Chargers are 7-6 against the spread, but 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games, including 5-1 in their previous Thursday Night Football matchups.
NFL Live Vegas Odds: https://www.lineups.com/vegas-odds/nfl-live-vegas-odds
NFL Bet Predictor: https://www.lineups.com/nfl/betting-system
If Tyreek Hill is listed as active and healthy by game time, pick him up. Right now, his FanDuel salary is $8200 which might seem steep, but again, he has the second most receiving yards in the entire NFL. The Chiefs say that he will practice this week and that he is expected to play this Thursday. Make sure he’s active, but you can’t pass up on this game-changer at home. Last game against the Chargers, Hill had 38.8 points on FanDuel. He’s had his best games this season in the toughest games the Chiefs have played (Chargers, Patriots, and Rams). Expect him to show up again.
For the Chargers, this week relies heavily on the injury report. The Chargers are reportedly not optimistic about Gordon’s opportunity to play, and they don’t expect Austin Ekeler to play. If the situation stands by game day, look to Justin Jackson, the number one pick add in leagues he’s still available in. Also, Keenan Allen has been tearing up both FanDuel and DraftKings. His salaries are $7900 and $7400, respectively. He’s had over 15 fantasy points on DraftKings for the past six weeks. And the Chiefs have the worst pass defense in the NFL. Expect numbers from Allen and Rivers.
Bet on Matchup
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