Kansas City Chiefs (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (2-7 SU, 3-6 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC -3/SD +3
Over/Under Total: 44
The Kansas City Chiefs come into Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon in AFC West action. The Chiefs have been doing well lately, winning 3 straight games, including a 29-13 road win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. They are now one win away from evening their record and after starting the season 1-5 and losing 5 straight, thats not half-bad. The Chargers, meanwhile, are mired in a bad funk with 5 straight losses and 7 in their last 8 games.
The Chargers season has been an unmitigated disaster. Early in the season, the talk was about how good they might be. Now were hearing about maybe getting a high draft pick. It looks to be a combination of a few things. First and foremost is an unrivaled litany of injuries that has forced most starters to miss time. Key weapons on both sides of the ball are missing and San Diego did not have the depth to survive that many befallen players. The offensive line has been massacred by injuries, making it hard to pass-protect, while opening holes for the run-game has been a futile effort. First-round rookie Melvin Gordon hasnt run for a single touchdown and its not clear whether or not its his fault. Truly, the injuries are almost too many to name.
You have to feel for San Diego QB Philip Rivers. He has really tried and gives it his full effort week in week out. Its just that he gets so little help around him that his efforts are rendered moot. And his weapons keep getting taken away from him, with Keenan Allen being lost with injury, as the talented receiver was poised to break the all-time SD receptions mark. Despite a ramshackle line and a slew of injuries in the skill positions, Rivers has still managed over 3000 yards through 9 games with 19 TD passes. And somehow, hes managed to complete nearly 70% of his throws. Makes you wonder what things would be like if they gave him what he needs to win.
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Obviously, when losing 5 straight and 7 out of 8, the defense is not playing very well. And thats an issue connected largely to injuries, as this defense was not a unit that could afford to have very many. In giving up an average of 27.7 points per game, they are 28th in the league. They are near the bottom of the league in rush defense and simply havent been very robust in any area. They never seem to come up with the big play.
And in a nutshell, there you have it with the Chargers. As of right now, they might just be the least-clutch team in the league. They simply cannot come up with the big play to turn some of these close losses into wins. And in addition, when the opposing team needs something big to stay in the game or pull it out at the end, they seem to get it without fail. They are coming off the bye week and maybe that helped in some way, namely in letting some banged-up players rest. But theyre going to need to find a way to manufacture some wins.
The Chiefs have really sprung back to life, with their road win at Denver signaling an arrival of sorts for a team that nearly ruined their season with such an awful beginning. The early part of the season was plagued by close defeats that occurred in agonizing fashion. They took the pain from those games and redoubled their efforts, overcoming a rough start and season-ending injury to their top offensive contributor in Jamaal Charles.
On offense, Alex Smith has been playing well for the Chiefs. He is his usual proficient self, having not thrown an interception in the last 6 games. Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce have been delivering as ball-catchers, helping this offense move. And though he was just so-so against the Broncos on Sunday, RB Charcandrick West has been good in relief of Charles and was coming off two big games. Look for him to get back on the right track against this wishy-washy San Diego D. Kansas City doesnt have a great offense, but with 97 points in their last 3 games, they are starting to get rolling. And as always, they are efficient. They have picked off opposing quarterbacks 13 times, while only throwing 3. The O-line, however, has given up 30 sacks on Smith this season.
The defense hasnt been as good as its been since Andy Reid came in several years ago. Theyre not quite the difference-making unit they once were, while becoming a bit more porous along the way. They are still pretty resilient against the run and they should be able to produce a consistent pass-rush against this San Diego front. But with mid-pack pass-defense, look for Rivers to have his share of success in this game. But compared to the Chargers, this defense can make plays from time to time and have a positive impact on the game.
The Chargers can still jump up and bite you. They have the leagues top-rated aerial offense, though their lack of balance renders them not the most-threatening offense. Weve seen the oddsmakers make the adjustment, with San Diego now a home dog to a sub-.500 division rival. And that little tweak might make San Diego the better value this week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Diego Chargers plus 3 points.
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