Kansas City Chiefs (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-1 SU, 5-1 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date and Time: Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC +4/SD -4
Over/Under Total: 45
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An interesting AFC West battle will ensue on Sunday afternoon when the Kansas City Chiefs face the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers are on one of their best rolls in recent memory, peeling off 5 straight wins to go to 5-1. Theyve been equally productive at the betting windows, covering 5 of 6 spreads, with the only exception being last Sundays narrow win over Oakland. Kansas City is coming off a bye week, which followed a 22-17 loss to San Francisco.
On one hand, you could reason that the Chargers twice beat the Chiefs last season and the Chiefs have gotten worse, as San Diego has improved. The Chargers are one of the surprise teams of the season, a real threat to do some big things this year. Kansas City, meanwhile, was projected by many as a letdown candidate this season and so far, they have fulfilled that prediction.
That doesnt mean to expect a Chargers romp this week, despite some signs pointing to that outcome. Anyone who has followed the Chargers for any length of time knows that expectations are usually accompanied by disappointment. The correct way to look at it is that the Chargers are off to a promising start–thats all. Theres a long way to go where any number of things can happen. Even though they closed last season strong and the only thing separating them from a perfect record this season was an opening week two-touchdown 4th quarter comeback by the Cardinals, theres a lot of work to still do. And last week showed a little bit of shine coming off, as they played from behind with two scores in the final 6 minutes notching them the 31-28 win. But they got the win and thats what counts. Winning on an off-day, even against a winless Oakland team, is the sign of a good team.
Kansas City is sitting at 2-3, but there is a story behind that record. An opening week 26-10 loss to Tennessee was disheartening, but they looked better in a competitive loss at Denver the next week. They crushed Miami on the road by 19 in their third game, before hammering the Patriots at home on MNF, 41-14. On October 5, they lost 22-17 at San Francisco. So its been a real mixed bag against a pretty tough lineup of opponents. Coming off the bye should help and one cant afford to count out the Chiefs. Bottom line–theyre dangerous and can beat anyone on the right week.
Chiefs QB Alex Smith has been his normal efficient self, though the KC aerial game has languished at times. Smith is usually competent, but has been a bit inconsistent at times this season. The run-game has been hampered by Jamaal Charles being bitten by the injury bug, but that has only given rise to a potential big-time 1-2 punch at running back, with the emergence of Knile Davis. With Charles providing the speed and the bruising Davis applying the punishment, this has the makings of an awesome RB combo. Dwayne Bowe is a dangerous WR and TE Travis Kelce has been doing great as a possession guy and red-zone presence.
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The Chargers have held up incredibly well in the face of a litany of injuries. But you wonder if last weeks comedown could maybe be attributed to the losses in manpower. Some guys have returned, like center Rich Ohrnberger and rookie corner Jason Verrett, but RB Donald Brown and now Eddie Royal are both questionable. Its quite amazing that the Chargers have held up so well with the injury bug in full-flight.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers is in fine form, completing nearly 70% of his throws, making full use of a stacked pass-catching crew, where 7 different players have double-digit receptions. Their running backs have been decimated by injuries, with the first three choices, Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown all out of action. Undrafted rookie Branden Oliver has stepped in with consecutive 100-yard games. That is just a microcosm of the Chargers this season, where someone always seems to step in when someone goes down with an injury.
Look for the Chiefs to employ heavy doses of their running game. The Chargers should be able to hold their own, having done well against the run this season. A lot depends on Alex Smith, who has been up and down a bit so far this season. A subpar effort wont get it done on the road on Sunday, but if he performs like he did against the Pats or Miami, the Chiefs will be hard to stop. And truth be told, it did look like some of the personnel losses had started registering with the San Diego D last Sunday against Oakland. The Chiefs should be able to have some good moments on Sunday.
The line of San Diego -4 seems to be a possible trap. The first inclination on the part of many bettors would be to take the 5-1 home team in this spot against the 2-3 opponent. But when you combine the fact that the Chiefs might be a bit underrated and the Chargers could be leveling off a tad, it seems about right. Coming off a bye, Kansas City should be in good shape, as coach Andy Reid does own a 13-2 record after a bye week. I like Kansas City.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 4 points.