Miami Dolphins (6-8 SU, 5-7-2 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8-6 SU, 8-6 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 24, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA +10/KC -10
Over/Under Total: 43
The Miami Dolphins come to Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a big week 16 AFC matchup. The Chiefs have been able to resurrect their season after a really rough stretch, winning their second straight last Saturday with a 30-13 win over the Chargers. They are now back atop the conference and can clinch the AFC West with a win this week. The Dolphins arent technically out of it, but their road to the playoffs at 6-8 is problematic at best, made worse by their 24-16 loss to Buffalo on Sunday. A pair of big wins, including a victory over the Patriots the previous week, instilled some hope, but they fell flat in a must-win game and its been par-for-the-course in what has been a letdown season for the Dolphins.
Midway through the 4th quarter last week, the Dolphins were down 24-6 to Buffalo, before adding ten late points to make it look better than it was. With a 35-9 win over Denver and a win over the Pats, there was ample hope heading into week 15. Three Jay Cutler interceptions undermined a sluggish offense. And while the defense played a good second-half, the lead Buffalo got off to early was too much for Miami to overcome. A 4-2 start this season evaporated with a bad run of five straight losses. They have shown more life as of late, but last week illustrated their issues.
Jay Cutler is still dangerous, but age, inconsistent play up-front, and a thin cast of difference-makers on offense have made it so the offense is a bottom-tier group this season. He has 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions this season. The run-game is weak overall, though Kenyan Drake has been somewhat-surprising stepping for the departed Jay Ajayi with some nice performances. He is also useful with short passes. Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills have been effective, with WR DeVante Parker not having the best season. They havent really been able to extract the most out of what they have, which should at least be an average offense. All told, theyve been solidly substandard this season.
At 26th in points allowed this season, the defense hasnt come together either. Safety Reshad Jones made the Pro Bowl, Ndamukong Suh is still a force in the middle, and Kiko Alonso a very-serviceable linebacker. Cameron Wake has nine sacks. But there are some soft spots across this defense and after a 4-2 start, they began getting exploited, giving up over 35 points a game for 5 games. Theyve been better over the last three weeks and even last week, they had just one bad half after doing really well the previous week against New England. This is a tough spot for this defense to thrive, but this might not be the slam-dunk for Kansas Citys offense that some might be forecasting.
It might be early to say the Chiefs have just magically shaken off that big funk they were in that almost derailed their season. Still, two wins over divisional foes nipping at their heels in consecutive weeks is a great development. Last weeks 30-13 win over the Chargers at home was a big win, a dominant performance that at least suggests the Chiefs are back to their old selves. But that run of 6 losses in 7 games happened and it is enough to make them somewhat less-than-bankable.
Alex Smith is having a career-year for the Chiefs at quarterback, already surpassing his season-high for yardage. He was efficient against a good Chargers pass-defense, throwing two touchdowns on 23-for-30 passing. When Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce all produce, this offense is hard to stop. Hunt had 155 yards and a TD, with another 7 catches and a TD aerially. Tyreek Hill had 88 yards receiving and a score, as well, with Kelce adding 6 grabs. The line was really in top form, mostly containing a fierce Chargers pass-rush. It was a timely week for the Chiefs offense to perform well, putting a season-high 30 points up on the Chargers.
The recipe for success on Kansas Citys defense is a bit different. They are not one of those air-tight defenses, nor do they try to be. Opposing offenses will be able to find success against this bunch. Where the Chiefs thrive is in being able to make game-changing plays, while coming with clutch play in the right spots. Weve seen more of that lately. Marcus Peters picked Philip Rivers off twice, with Ron Parker also getting a pick on Saturday. Parker also recovered a key Chargers fumble as they were driving to climb back into the game. Its promising to see them in that kind of form heading into the stretch-run of the season and then the postseason.
This isnt an easy game to make a pick. The urgency, recent form, and locale of the game favor the Chiefs. But its a big number and the Dolphins have shown enough recent fighting spirit to justify a stance of them. They can really be scrappy on occasion. But I see the urgency resonating for the Chiefs this week, as these teams have different mindsets entering this game. And a streaky Chiefs team is now on the positive side of the coin and should continue to shine this week. Ill take the home team.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 10 points. - Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus (Deposit $100, get $100 FREE!)at the web’s oldest sportsbook: Intertops!