The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers will travel to Mexico for their Monday Night Football matchup, squaring off at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. This is an important game for each of these teams, as they have hopes of a division crown, the playoffs, and much more.
Kansas City comes into this contest in a surprising tie atop the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders after the Raiders beat Cincinnati on Sunday to move to 6-4. The Chiefs have dropped four of their last six and need a victory to avoid falling into second place heading into Week 12. Los Angeles is on the outside of the playoffs looking in at this point, with five teams ahead of it for the Wild Card spots in the AFC, as the Chargers currently sit at 4-6 and tied with Cleveland and Jacksonville in the conference standings.
The moneyline for this contest has the Kansas City Chiefs -230 and the Los Angeles Chargers +190. Kansas City is favored by five points, while the over/under for the game has been set at 53.
Need To Get Rolling
Kansas City has long been assumed to be one of the favorites to make the AFC Championship Game yet again, thanks in large part to the ability of Patrick Mahomes. And while Mahomes has been excellent when he’s been playing this season, passing for 2,626 yards, 18 touchdowns and just one interception despite missing two games after dislocating his kneecap, he can’t do it alone. The Chiefs are the top passing team in the NFL, averaging 313.9 yards per game, but they rank 24th in the league in rushing, averaging just 90.8 yards per game. That kind of offensive imbalance is going to catch up to the Chiefs sooner or later, or perhaps it already has.
Defensively is another area where the Chiefs struggle. Kansas City is allowing 369.5 yards and 23.9 points per game, putting the pressure on the team’s offense to continually put points on the board. The Chiefs are getting after opposing quarterbacks, tying for seventh in the league with 30 sacks. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah leads the team with 5.5 sacks, while defensive tackle Chris Jones has contributed five.
Can’t Put It Together
It looked like the Chargers were ready to take the next step back towards the postseason, but they couldn’t close the deal against the Raiders last week in a key AFC West showdown. Philip Rivers has been great this season, throwing for 2,816 yards — third in the league — to go with 14 touchdowns, but he’s also tossed 10 interceptions and been sacked 21 times. Rivers had three interceptions and was sacked five times by Oakland in the Chargers’ last game. The soon-to-be 38-year-old must avoid mistakes if Los Angeles is going to stay in this one.
Los Angeles has a dangerous pass-rushing duo in defensive ends Joey Bosa (8.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss) and Melvin Ingram (4.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss). The two of them move all along the line to try to create mismatches, and they’ll be looking to get after Mahomes in this one. The Los Angeles defense has its own wily veteran leading the way in linebacker Thomas Davis Sr., who, at 36, leads the team with 78 tackles.
These two teams had a pair of shootouts last season, with Kansas City winning at Los Angeles, 38-28, before the Chargers returned the favor with a 29-28 road victory. Expect the same kind of offensive fireworks on Monday night, as both teams will pass the ball more than they will throw it. Mahomes has more weapons and will be able to avoid the Los Angeles pass rush long enough to lead Kansas City to the win. I’m taking the Chiefs -5 to win by a touchdown.