San Diego Chargers (3-9 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Chiefs
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SD +10/KC -10
Over/Under Total: 45.5
On Sunday in an AFC West battle, the San Diego Chargers come to Arrowhead to face the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs continued their dramatic season turnaround on Sunday, with a 34-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. The win was their 6th in a row and takes KC to 7-5 with an inside track on an AFC wild card spot. The Chargers, however, fell to 3-9 on the season, following a 17-3 home loss to the Broncos. The Chargers continue to flounder, as poor play and injuries have derailed what many thought would be a promising season.
Its important to take into account the character make-up of the players and coaching staff of a team that rebounds from a 1-5 record, especially considering the heartbreaking nature of the majority of those defeats. With a quarter of the season still remaining, they went from the cellar to now being poised to assume a wild card playoff spot if they can keep the good momentum going. They have pulled it off, despite the season-ending injury to their top offensive contributor in Jamaal Charles. They have seen players step up and play better, while running backs Chancandrick West and Spencer Ware have been trying to fill the void, with both having productive games as of late. Not a lot of 1-5 teams are able to muster the wherewithal to pull off what the Chiefs have been doing for the better part of the last two months.
On Sunday, the Chiefs were looking at a 4th quarter deficit to the Raiders. All told, their offense was outplayed by the Raiders, despite the two-touchdown win. KC had 12 less first downs than Oakland and was outgained by 130 yards. West and Ware werent terribly productive on the ground. But they got a big assist from the defense, which picked off 3 Derek Carr passes in the 4th quarter alone, setting the offense up for three late scores to cinch the win. Alex Smith hit Jeremy Maclin twice for touchdowns and this is a team that went all of 2014 without one receiver catching a TD pass. Tyvon Branch ran back a pick-six and a lot of different pieces contributed for the big win. Kansas Citys offense isnt always sailing smoothly, so it comes in handy to have a difference-making defense that can pick up the slack.
The reason for the Chiefs revival is multifold. Theyve been getting clean performances from Alex Smith, who has now put together nine games without throwing a pick. Earlier in the season, the big question was with a defense that looked to take several steps backward this year. They have since become the unit of oldrushing the passer, forcing turnovers, and making solid contributions to the team effort. During this current 6-game win streak, only one of the wins was not by double-digits and that was an 8-point win. Andy Reid has done a bang-up job in bringing this team together.
The Chargers will certainly be up against it this week, facing a team that worked so hard to reverse the momentum of the season. Prying that loose could be tough for a San Diego team that is steeped in dysfunction. Its hard to imagine them keeping head coach Mike McCoy beyond this season and playing for a lame-duck coach has obvious drawbacks. And they arent getting great play across most areasthat much is plain to see. At the same time, there arent many teams who wouldnt be flat on their backs with the injuries the Chargers have suffered.
Almost all of Philip Rivers key weapons are gone. The pass-catching corps has been stripped dry. The O-line continues to see guys dropping like flies on the field. If the Chargers are on TV and you just enter a room to watch the game at a random moment, youre very likely to see a Charger being attended to on the field. Its been that bad. And even though they were able to register a nice road win the prior week over the Jaguars, the body language and overall energy of the team was low last Sunday.
The Chargers still have Philip Rivers, who is doing the best he can and is still capable of moving an offense, however dilapidated it may be. That didnt come to pass on Sunday against the leagues top-ranked defense, but hes done the most with what he has, which is very little. He has thrown 5 pick-sixes this season, with most of those stemming from errors being made around him. On Sunday, he was constantly on his heels and the inexperienced receivers in there couldnt get open with any regularity. With this line, they cant run the ball, though Melvin Gordon has been slowly coming around. Any way you choose to slice it, its been a disheartening situation on all fronts for San Diego Charger football this season.
Its hard to back San Diego right now. The injuries are simply too numerous and at some point if you dont have the horses there is only so much a team can do. Its jarring how seldom things are going right for this team. When you hear the announcers get excited during a game, its almost always because the other team just had something go right. The injury bug has also hurt the San Diego defense. They have some good players, guys like Melvin Ingram Jason Verett, Eric Weddle and other guys too, but injuries and an offense that cant keep them off the field has hurt their continuity and overall effectiveness. They did allow just ten points from the Denver offense on Sunday and have been playing better in the past few weeks, so one shouldnt shovel dirt on this defense just yet.
These teams already played this season on November 22 in San Diego, with the Chiefs dominating the Chargers, 33-3. Some of the matchup concerns facing San Diego were evident in that game, with the Chargers offense stymied for the whole game, while the KC offense had its way. This season is a lost cause for SD and the Chiefs have a ton to play for. And rather than getting healthier, the injuries keep piling up for the Chargers and its difficult to forecast even a close game this week in Arrowhead. Im taking Kansas City.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 10 points.
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