This Week: 2-5
All Time Results: 71-66-1, +10.02 Units
Melvin Gordon Over 70.5 Rushing Yards – .5 Units
Kansas City decided immediately in their off-season that in order to reach their ultimate goal, they were going to have totally rethink everything they were doing on the defensive side of the ball. HC Andy Reid fired Bob Sutton and brought in former Giants defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnolo. The results? Mixed.
Chiefs are allowing 148 rushing yards per game. Coming into last week against the Titans, the Chiefs had the 11th best defensive according to Football Outsider. Then, unfortunately, they started to look like their old selves, allowing 35 points to a team that hadn’t had more than 27 since the first game of the season. It’s starting to look like their roster simply doesn’t have enough talented run stoppers for an entirely new scheme to make any difference.
The Chargers have been running much more heavily since undergoing a coordinator switch of their own. With Ken Whisenhunt out, the Chargers have promoted position coach Shane Steichen to play-calling duties. He has responded by making life easier on his long-time friend Philip Rivers, with a renewed focus on pounding the rock. In two games with Steichen calling plays, the Chargers have racked up 365 rushing yards, only 10 yards less than they had achieved in their previous 6 games with Whisenhunt calling plays.
Corresponding to this new emphasis, long-time hold-out Melvin Gordon is regaining mid-season form. Gordon has seen his workload increase steadily since he came back to the team, posting 20 rushing attempts against the Raiders last week compared to his running mate Austin Ekler only receiving 6 carries.
I expect more of the same from teams tonight, exacerbated by the thin air of Mexico City and Azteca stadium. We have seen in Denver for years, defenses get winded in the latter stages of high altitude games. Given the game remains competitive – which is always a concern with Patrick Mahomes involved – I love the chances of Gordon flying over this yardage total.
Chargers +5 vs. Chiefs-.25 Units
Don’t forget about the Baja connection for this tilt. While the Chargers don’t have a fanbase in Los Angeles necessarily, they do have supporters throughout much of Mexico. They’ve far better on the road anyway since moving to LA. With support from the local fanbase, and a built-in comfort playing outside Dignity Park, I think the Chargers might have a point or two of an edge here, that is not built into the spread.
From ESPN‘s Eric D. Williams:
The Chargers built a significant following in the Mexican border town of Tijuana during the team’s 56 years spent just north in San Diego.
More importantly, the Chargers finally field a healthy 22-man unit. LA has players back on both the offense and defense. In the trenches and around the perimeter. Anthony Lynn’s men present a starkly stiffer test than their year-to-date numbers suggest.
3-Team, 6-point Teaser (+165): Chargers +11 vs. Chiefs, Giants +13 @ Bears, Seahawks +8.5 @ Eagles -.25 Units
Leg 1: Sage, veteran Philip Rivers won’t be thrown off by the unusual circumstances of this football game. Moreover, with a much-improved team since switching up their OC and getting some key pieces back, I would expect LA to keep it within 10 on a neutral field against any team in the league at the moment.
Leg 2: The Bears have a crisis at QB as Mitch Trubisky continues his year 3-regression. Whether or not they switch to Chase Daniels, as they did at the end of Sunday Night Football last night, I don’t think they can generate the consistent offense required to pull away from a team like Giants. I expect Saquon Barkley to have some fun Sunday at Soldier Field.
Leg 3: The Seahawks coming off a bye will be a very difficult out for an Eagles team with injuries piling up at the skill positions. I love the chances Russell Wilson can make it at least a 4th quarter game.
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