Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Matchup Preview (1/3/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Chiefs have already locked up the #1 seed in the AFC for the second straight year and will be looking to use this week’s game as an opportunity to gain some much-needed rest ahead of the playoffs. Head coach Andy Reid has already stated that Chad Henne will take over for Patrick Mahomes, and it would not be surprising to see other important players miss this game. The Chargers have lost 12 of their last 13 games against the Chiefs, but this could be a great opportunity to get one back in the win column for LA. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, January 3th, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, MO
TV Coverage: FOX
Chargers vs. Chiefs Live Stream
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Los Angeles Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) Q, DE Joey Bosa (concussion) Q, OT Bryan Bulaga (foot) Q, CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) Q, S Rayshawn Jenkins (ankle) Q, LB Drue Tranquill (ankle) IR eligible to return, TE Virgil Green (ankle) IR eligible to return, TE Hunter Henry (COVID-19) IR
Kansas City Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill (hamstring) Q, WR Sammy Watkins (calf) Q, RB Le’Veon Bell (knee) Q, LB Damien Wilson (knee) Q, LB Ben Niemann (hamstring) Q, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) D, OT Mitchell Schwartz (back) IR eligible to return, DE Taco Charlton (lower leg) IR eligible to return, LB Dorian O’Daniel (ankle) IR eligible to return
Los Angeles Chargers Analysis
The Chargers have seen inspired play from rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as he has already surpassed the rookie passing touchdown record with 28 touchdowns through just 14 games. He needs 340 passing yards to surpass Andrew Luck’s record for most rookie passing yards in his final game.
Keenan Allen has been the team’s top pass-catcher with 100 catches for 992 yards and 8 touchdowns through 14 games. However, he missed last week’s game with a hamstring issue that will likely keep him out this week as well. Hunter Henry also missed last week’s game on the COVID-19 Injured Reserve list, but he has a chance to return this week.
If Allen and Henry are out again, the receiving game will come down to ancillary players. Mike Williams has 42 catches for 648 yards and 4 touchdowns this year, while Austin Ekeler has 48 catches for 370 yards and a score, despite playing in just 9 games. Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson each have 3 receiving touchdowns this year, as well.
The Chargers’ defense has been a problem spot all year as they’ve allowed 27.0 points per game, the ninth-most in the NFL. An early-season injury to safety Derwin James set the tone for this defense. More recent injuries to defensive end Joey Bosa and cornerback Casey Hayward have created problems for the passing defense. While the Chiefs are expected to be without their top offensive players, Los Angeles’s defense isn’t set up to challenge them too much.
Los Angeles Chargers Depth Chart
Kansas City Chiefs Analysis
Patrick Mahomes will get a much-needed week of rest as he’s not expected to play in this game. He leads the NFL in passing yards with 4,740 yards and has thrown 38 touchdowns to 6 interceptions. Chad Henne will get the start in his place, although he hasn’t started an earnest game since 2014. In his last start, he completed 14 of 28 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown to an interception with the Jaguars. He’s completed just 7 passes across his two years with the Chiefs.
Henne won’t be helped because Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are expected to miss this week’s game. Travis Kelce will remain as Henne’s top pass-catcher, and he ranks second in the NFL with 1,416 receiving yards on 105 catches with 11 touchdowns. Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson will serve as the team’s top wideouts, and each has 39 catches this season.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has run for 803 yards, and 4 touchdowns on 181 carry in his rookie season, but he’s set to miss this week’s game. Le’Veon Bell has 63 carries for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns through his 9 games with Kansas City, and he’ll be the top rusher this week. Darrel Williams has 283 yards from scrimmage on 56 touches so far, and he’ll be heavily involved as well.
Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo has turned the defense around this season as they’re allowing just 21.6 points per game, the 6th-fewest in the NFL. Daniel Sorenson leads the team with 91 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles, Tyrann Mathieu ranks first with 6 interceptions, and Chris Jones has registered 7.5. sacks, 36 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles. Kansas City’s defense will challenge rookie Justin Herbert.
Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart
Spread: Chargers -4.5, Chiefs +4.5
Moneyline: Chargers -190, Chiefs +170
Over/Under: 43 points
The implied points total for this game is 19.25 points for the Chiefs and 23.75 for the Chargers. That’s 11 points fewer than the Chiefs’ season average of 30.1, which is a lofty endorsement for Patrick Mahomes’s impact on this offense. It’s hard to picture what this offense will look like with Chad Henne under center, but without Tyreek Hill, one of the best receivers in the NFL, I’m not expecting an abundance of scoring for the team. Los Angeles will also have its work cut out for them as they’re likely to be without their top two targets in Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. I’m betting on the under in this game, and I’ll take the Chargers to win a close one.
My predictions: Chargers win 20-19, Chiefs cover, under 43 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
The Chiefs’ offense isn’t going to be the same force as normal this week, as Chad Henne is nowhere near the level of a passer as Patrick Mahomes. However, Henne is an interesting minimum-cost play for DFS in Andy Reid’s offense. I also like Travis Kelce as a high-upside, high-floor play without Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins in the offense. On the other side of the ball, Justin Herbert’s upside is capped without Keenan Allen and in a tough matchup. However, Mike Williams is an interesting high-upside play at wide receiver. I also like Austin Ekeler’s baseline against a defense that has struggled to defend the run all season.