Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pick 12/29/19
Los Angeles Chargers (5-10 SU, 4-9-2 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4 SU, 10-5 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: Sunday, December 29, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Point Spread: LAC +8.5/KC +8.5 (WagerWeb - 50% Real Cash Bonus + 19 Point Teasers!)
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Los Angeles Chargers come to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday for an AFC West showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. For the Chiefs, getting to 12 wins would be a major feather in the cap for a team that didn’t have things easy this season, but still soldiered through. On Sunday, they handled business with a dominant 26-3 road-win at Soldier Field over the Bears. For the Bolts, the problems continue, and on Sunday, they showed very little fire at home in falling to a sideways Raiders’ bunch, 24-17. It was their fifth loss in 6 games, as they continue being a letdown to themselves, their minuscule fan-base, and the unfortunate bettors who plunk their money down on this bunch.
Clues from the First Game?
Previous divisional matchups within the same season can be tricky to look at. In week 11 in LA, the Chiefs beat the Chargers, 24-17. It was Mahomes’ second game back from injury, and he struggled on the day with 182 yards through the air. For all their failings this season, the Bolts have had one of the better secondaries in the conference. And the Chargers’ biggest weakness can’t really be taken advantage of by a Chiefs’ run game that is in some disarray. Between KC’s own defense playing well and some big run-plays, the Chiefs were able to cross the finish line ahead in their first game. Having won all their games since then, it’s fair to say the Chargers will be facing a sharper and more-urgent Chiefs’ squad this time around.
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Naturally, there are none for the Chargers, but the Chiefs have some things on the line in this one. Based on their results here and what the Texans and Pats do, they could end up anywhere from a 2-seed to a 4-seed. That’s a pretty big difference, and it should resonate with the Chiefs, who are in no position to approach this game willy-nilly. Granted, some of the things they need to have happen, like New England losing to Miami, seem far-fetched. The chances are that regardless of what happens here, they’re probably going to be hosting a wild card game. But for Chargers’ backers to bank on a letdown might be ill-conceived.
Where the Chargers Stand Morale-Wise
There have been some mixed signs in the last handful of games. Lopsided wins over the Packers and Jags saw an on-point Chargers’ team. But as of late, we’re seeing an outfit befitting of their W-L record. And covering one measly spread since week nine has probably soured a lot of people to put their money on what has been a very dicey proposition this season. The Chargers have four covers on the whole season. In their last two games, both at home, they fell to the Vikings by almost 30, before losing as better than touchdown favorites to a Raiders team that had been outscored 136-49 in their previous four games. Now they have to go into Arrowhead. It’s hard to be optimistic.
Tough Spot for the Chargers
On the heels of a tough season, the Chargers now have to play an early game (for them) while the team must be awaiting the end of a huge letdown season. They have to go into Arrowhead, where the elements will be harsh (again, for them) to play a team that has covered the spread each of the last five weeks. They have seen their run-game suffer all season behind a bad offensive line, and they won’t be able to take advantage of the Chiefs’ biggest weakness on defense, which is against the run. Rivers can still put up yards, but his 21/18 TD-to-INT spread tells a lot of the story about an offense that can’t convert and undermines itself constantly.
Even so, the Chargers are a weird team that can deliver something unexpected from time to time. It didn’t come off this season, but they still have a guy who can air it out with Rivers, working with a vast cast of aerial weapons, with two good backs who can do a lot of things in Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Their defense can make a lot of plays, bolstered by a strong secondary and a significant pass-rushing component that doesn’t always surface, but can on a given day. Combine that all with a Chiefs’ defense that while improved, can still be exploited in spots, and you can see a picture starting to form.
For what it’s worth, I suspect the Chargers, from Anthony Lynn to a lot of players whose statuses will be in limbo after this nightmare season, will be looking to leave a nice last impression. And for longtime followers of the Chargers, it’s hard not to notice how the Bolts play in relation to the component of expectations. This is a trait that is embedded within the franchise. When you in any way start banking on this franchise to thrive, that’s the death-knell in the team because they absolutely will not meet expectations. Once the pressure of having hopeful eyes fixed upon them is off, they will start doing the things you hoped would happen in the first place. Granted, it’s hard to justify this on the heels of what we saw Sunday, but it’s food for thought.
Go Ahead and Lay the Number
It’s a tricky spot, as a lot of final-week matchups are. The spread almost seems a bit on the low side as if “the man” is tempting to you to take the Chiefs, which would make one inclined to go the other way. And it’s understandable too. If the Chiefs look up and see the Pats are blowing out Miami, they could let up. At the root of this equation is simply wanting to rely on a positive-moving football machine, rather than hope the broken one is able to keep pace. On one side is hope, ansd on the other is total deflation. Banking on a Chiefs’ letup or trying to time the sporadic Chargers’ explosion seems less bankable than just relying on a peaking Chiefs’ team to handle things on Sunday. I’ll take Kansas City.
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