Two games separate the 7-2 Kansas City Chiefs and the 5-4 Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West, so we’ll see if that deficit expands or gets tightened when these two teams meet up on Sunday night in Week 11.
KC already has a 27-24 win over the Chargers this year, so getting swept and going down three games (plus the tiebreaker) might be it for the division.
Four of the last five games in this series have been decided by one score (two in OT), and the Chiefs are giving -5.5 on the road in this matchup.
Chiefs’ Offense Sputtering?
We expect a lot out of the Kansas City offense, so when they’re held to 20 points in two of the last four and only beat Jacksonville 27-17 last Sunday, it’s going to strike up the concern narrative.
The truth is the numbers are still there for the K.C. offense, even if the points are not. Patrick Mahomes threw the ball 68 times and for 446 yards in Week 9, even though the Chiefs needed OT for a 20-17 win over Tennessee. Last week Mahomes had four TD passes vs. the Jaguars and went over 330+ pass yards for the fourth straight game, so things look fine in Kansas City.
Where you attack the Chargers is through their run defense (146.8 ypg), but that’s not really how the Chiefs roll even though they had 155 yards vs. the Jaguars (39 from Mahomes and 32 on a Kadarius Toney reverse). Kansas City ran the ball just 19 times vs. the Titans, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has gone AWOL with just ten attempts in his last three games.
Chargers in a Must Win
Los Angeles will still be alright in the pursuit of a wild card berth if they lose on Sunday, but if they want any chance at the AFC West, it’s a must-win against the Chiefs.
The Chargers have alternated wins and losses in their last four games, so that trend would leave them in line for a victory following a 22-16 loss in San Francisco last week.
If you’re going to have concerns about the Kansas City offense because they’ve ‘only’ scored 20 points twice in the past four games, then L.A. has to answer those same questions.
The Chargers have been held to 20 or less in three of their last four, so it’s a real testament to their defense that they are 2-2 over that span.
Justin Herbert threw for a season-low 196 yards last week against the 49ers, and he’s also thrown an INT in four straight games. If L.A. has any chance on Sunday night, Herbert has to be extra special, and his play recently doesn’t give a lot of optimism for that to happen.
Chiefs at Chargers Pick
These two teams usually play each other pretty closely, so it’s tempting to look at the Chargers +5.5. LAC is just 2-2 at home this season, though, and the Kansas City defense is improving in holding their last two opponents to 17 points each – although it was the Titans and Jaguars and in home games for the Chiefs.
L.A. is banged up in their receiving corps with Keenan Allen still fighting through his hamstring issue and Mike Williams dealing with a tricky ankle – plus, who knows how well Herbert’s ribs have healed because it looks like something is bothering him. With Mahomes dialed in on the other side, this looks like a Chiefs win by at least a TD.
Pick: Chiefs -5.5