#475 Kansas City
#476 Los Angeles


In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Chiefs vs. Chargers Prediction

Monday, November 18, 2019 at 8:15pm EST
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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2019 at 12:02pm EST


The good news for the Kansas City Chiefs is Patrick Mahomes returned after a two-game absence due to a knee injury and looked every bit the league's reigning Most Valuable Player.

The bad news is it was not enough for a win and leaves the Chiefs needing a victory Monday night in Mexico City over the Los Angeles Chargers to stay atop the AFC West.

Oddsmakers, though, appear less worried about Mahomes and less impressed with the up-and-down Chargers as they have made the Chiefs (6-4) early 3.5-point road favorites in this game. They were also 5.5-point road favorites in Week 10 at Tennessee, only to come up short in a 35-32 loss to the Titans.

Los Angeles (4-6) can pull within one game of Kansas City with a win, but trying to figure out what type of momentum the Chargers carry from week to week is a challenge. After coming off their best win of the season in shutting down Green Bay in Week 9, the Chargers failed to build on it with a 26-24 loss at Oakland on Nov. 7.

The over/under is a robust 52.5 points, which the teams cleared in both meetings last season. The Chargers snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series with a 29-28 victory in the most recent meeting in Kansas City in Los Angeles as Philip Rivers and Mike Williams hooked up on a 1-yard touchdown toss with four seconds to play and the two-point conversion as well.

The NFL has returned to Mexico City, with last year's titanic showdown between the Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams originally scheduled to be played at Estadio Azteca moved to the L.A. Coliseum because of unplayable field conditions. The teams will have to deal with a substantial altitude adjustment, with the elevation at 7,200 feet.

Los Angeles has opted to practice during the week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where the elevation is 6,000 feet above sea level.

Kansas City Chiefs Review

After splitting two games with backup Matt Moore under center, the Chiefs were ready to get back to normal with Mahomes. With the entire starting offensive set of skill players available for the first time since the season-opener, Kansas City's offense did not disappoint.

Mahomes completed 36 of 50 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns and staked the Chiefs to a 29-20 lead with 11:54 to play after hooking up with Mecole Hardman on a 63-yard scoring pass.

The defense, though, could not make the lead stand as the Titans scored touchdowns on their next two possessions. Kansas City gave up 9.86 yards per play on those two drives and 371 for the game as Derrick Henry bulldozed the defense for 188 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The run defense continues to be a point of contention for the Chiefs, who have given up 148.1 yards per game on the ground and rank 30th in the league with 38 runs allowed of 10 or more yards.

Los Angeles Chargers Review

Though Rivers is 184 passing yards shy of his 14th consecutive season with at least 3,000, there have been moments where defenses are willing to let him try and beat them as opposed to the Chargers' rejuvenated ground game.

Rivers could not engineer a potential go-ahead field goal drive after Los Angeles fell behind with 1:02 to play, misfiring on six straight passes before being intercepted by Karl Joseph to seal the Chargers' defeat. Rivers completed 17 of 31 passes for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns but also was picked off a season-high three times -- including one in the first half returned for a touchdown.

After missing the first four games of the season in a contract dispute, Melvin Gordon III has clearly come into a groove in the last two. He had a season-high 108 yards against the Raiders and has totaled 188 while averaging 4.48 yards per carry in the last two games.

Los Angeles has rushed for 305 yards in the last two games after a six-game stretch in which it totaled just 294 on 2.58 yards per carry.

The Running Game

Kansas City Chiefs Running Offense
vs. Los Angeles Chargers Running Defense

Kansas City Chiefs Running Offense

The Chiefs are getting production from their running game, though they are not established in terms of a true No. 1 running back with both LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams splitting carries throughout the season.

McCoy, in fact, was essentially a healthy scratch last week as he did not see any playing time. Chiefs coach Andy Reid likened it to load management, telling ChiefsWire for USA Today, “LeSean’s not getting any younger, so it’s important that I manage him the right way as we go. I just thought it was the right thing to do at this time.”

The Chiefs ground game does not necessarily have to be good, it merely needs to keep defenses honest to make Mahomes that much more effective with regards to play-action. If you remove Williams' 91-yard touchdown run versus Minnesota in Week 9, he is averaging 2.71 yards per carry, so it is clear that something is amiss in Kansas City's run game.

If McCoy has a big game versus the Chargers, Reid looks like a genius, but there still appear to be systemic issues with the ground game he needs to fix in order for this offense to not over-rely on Mahomes' arm.

Los Angeles Chargers Run Defense

There is a common theme among the teams that have had success against the Chargers -- running backs who are smaller in stature. All four opponents who have gained at least 100 yards against Los Angeles have had running backs 6-foot or shorter -- Marlon Mack (Indianapolis),

Philip Lindsay (Denver), Benny Snell (Pittsburgh), and David Montgomery (Chicago). Of that quartet, only Snell can be labeled a "bruiser" coming out of the backfield, and McCoy does not fall under that label either. What makes opposing teams' success surprising is how the Chargers 'D' was distinctively different last season with an oversized safety in a 4-2-5 scheme that helped them swarm opposing running backs.

The Chargers, though, have made strides in this area, yielding just 123 yards in the last two games. Some of that can be attributed to Green Bay abandoning the run in Week 9 playing from behind, but Los Angeles did limit standout rookie Josh Jacobs and the Raiders to 78 yards in their Halloween loss.

The Chargers held the Chiefs to 60 yards on 17 carries in the win at Kansas City last season, but that also came after Kansas City cut Kareem Hunt.



Team Rushing Statistics

Carries — 213 (T-24th)

Carries Per game — 21.3 (27th)

Rushing Yards — 908 (21st)

Rushing Yards Per Game — 90.8 (24th)

Average Yards Per Carry — 4.26 (18th)

Rushing Touchdowns — 7 (T-18th)

Individual Rushing Statistics

LeSean McCoy -- 72 carries/371 yards/5.15 yards per carry/2 TDs

Damien Williams -- 79/302/3.82/3

Darrel Williams -- 24/93/3.88/2

Patrick Mahomes -- 17/82/4.82/0

Tyreek Hill -- 4/18/4.50/0

Sammy Watkins -- 2/12/6.00/0

Anthony Sherman -- 3/9/3.00/0

Darwin Thompson -- 5/8/1.60/0

Mecole Hardman -- 3/8/2.67/0

De'Anthony Thomas -- 1/4/4.00/0

Matt Moore -- 3/1/0.33/0


Team Rushing Defense (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponent Carries — 265 (8th)

Opponent Carries per game — 26.5 (15th)

Opponent Rushing Yards — 1,105 (11th)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game — 110.5 (14th)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry — 4.17 (18th)

Opponent Rushing TDs — 7 (T-19th)

Individual Defensive Statistics

Thomas Davis Sr. -- 44 solo tackles/34 assists/78 tackles/2 stuff/3 TFL

Joey Bosa -- 31/17/48/5.5/12

Roderic Teamer -- 30/10/40/0/1

Rayshawn Jenkins -- 26/14/40/1/2

Desmond King II -- 30/9/39/1/4

Denzel Perryman -- 28/10/38/2.5/4

Drue Tranquill -- 22/12/34/1/1

Melvin Ingram III -- 23/4/27/3/7

Uchenna Nwosu -- 20/6/26/3.5/5

Michael Davis -- 20/6/26/0/0

Kyzir White -- 17/8/25/0/1

Casey Hayward Jr. -- 18/4/22/0/0

Brandon Facyson -- 15/5/20/0/1

Justin Jones -- 9/11/20/0/1

Who has the Edge?

It is a curious matchup given the Chargers look good against the run of late while the Chiefs have not been all that great running the ball. Since its 4-0 start, Kansas City has averaged just 83.5 yards in its last six games -- and Williams' 91-yard touchdown run accounts for 18.2 percent of the 501 yards gained in that stretch.

This part of the game will be an early referendum on Reid's decision to sit McCoy last weekend, and if the veteran delivers, it could wind up being the start of big things for the Chiefs.

Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers Running Offense
vs. Kansas City Chiefs Running Defense

Los Angeles Chargers Running Offense

Finally. That would sum up the Chargers' ground game over the past two weeks after everyone expected it to be a strength this season and one of the reasons they were tipped to be contenders in the AFC instead of fighting for their wild-card lives.

After essentially using his first four games following the end of his holdout as his preseason, Gordon has averaged 4.0 yards or better per carry in each of his last two games and had a season-best 108 against the Raiders.

As Daniel Popper of The Athletic pointed out, Gordon had 73 yards after contact versus the Raiders compared to 64 in his first four games upon his return.

Gordon's effectiveness makes Austin Ekeler more effective, though Ekeler did not get enough touches in the ground game versus the Raiders to be truly effective. But each provides a threat to break off a big-yardage run on every carry, and against a porous run defense with the Chiefs, that opens the playbook further for Anthony Lynn and Los Angeles.

Kansas City Chiefs Run Defense

The Chiefs had their worst game of the season against the run versus the Titans, getting gashed for 225 yards. Derrick Henry had 188 of them, including a 68-yard touchdown dash, and seven of Tennessee's 26 rushes went for 10 or more yards.

The performance, or lack thereof, was a noticeable step back for Kansas City -- the Chiefs had given up 95 yards per game over their previous three contests while conceding only five double-digit runs.

“We definitely came into the game trying to slow him,” Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen tld the Hays Daily News. “He breaks a long run on us, but I think, again, it goes back to the details and everybody just being sound, and I think we had a pretty good plan. Just a couple of plays here and there that we need to execute better.”



Team Rushing Statistics

Carries — 228 (20th)

Carries Per game — 22.8 (24th)

Rushing Yards — 861 (24th)

Rushing Yards Per Game — 86.1 (26th)

Average Yards Per Carry — 3.78 (25th)

Rushing Touchdowns — 7 (T-18th)

Individual Rushing Statistics

Austin Ekeler -- 90 carries/340 yards/3.78 yards per carry/3 TDs

Melvin Gordon III -- 86/300/3.49/4

Justin Jackson -- 20/149/7.45/0

Philip Rivers -- 10/24/2.40/0

Keenan Allen -- 2/21/10.50/0

Troymaine Pope -- 10/20/2.00/0

Derek Watt -- 5/6/1.20/0

Mike Williams -- 1/2/2.00/0

Tyrod Taylor -- 4/-1/-0.25/0


Team Rushing Defense (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponent Carries — 288 (4th)

Opponent Carries per game — 28.8 (6th)

Opponent Rushing Yards — 1,481 (2nd)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game — 148.1 (2nd)

Average Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry — 5.14 (3rd)

Opponent Rushing TDs — 12 (T-2nd)

Individual Defensive Statistics

Damien Wilson -- 40 solo tackles/19 assists/59 tackles/1 stuff/2 TFL

Charvarius Ward -- 41/12/53/0/0

Anthony Hitchens -- 33/17/50/0.5/2

Tyrann Mathieu -- 35/8/43/1.5/2

Juan Thornhill -- 29/10/39/0/0

Derrick Nnadi -- 15/22/37/2/1

Emmanuel Ogbah -- 23/9/32/1.5/6

Kendall Fuller -- 23/8/31/1/3

Ben Niemann -- 19/12/31/0/1

Bashaud Breeland -- 24/6/30/0/1

Daniel Sorensen -- 19/8/27/0/1

Darron Lee -- 15/7/22/0/0

Chris Jones -- 14/7/21/0/4

Frank Clark -- 16/5/21/2/6

Who has the Edge?

The Chargers can turn this into a lower-scoring game if Gordon and Ekeler are successful pounding the Chiefs defensive line, burning clock and limiting possessions. Gordon was effective in the two games last season with 142 yards on 34 carries, but the Chiefs also didn't break defensively -- his best run was 18 yards, and he had only four runs of 10 or more yards.

It is a smaller edge because Los Angeles' run game is only now gaining steam, but Kansas City has rarely put together a dominant effort in run defense.

Advantage: Los Angeles Chargers

The Passing Game

Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense
vs. Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense

Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense

Every week Mahomes does something that just leaves tongues wagging and jaws dropped -- and this is glossing over the fact he essentially showed no ill effects of missing two-plus games with a sprained knee.

What was also noteworthy despite the loss was the elevated productivity of Kansas City's passing game. Last weekend marked the first time since the season-opener at Jacksonville that Mahomes had all of his top five options at wide receiver and tight end playing together -- Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman.

The quintet combined for 28 catches, 390 yards and three touchdowns. Everyone did something different, with Kelce being targeted short, Hill trying to stretch the defenses, and Hardman showing his big-play potential. And all this does not even factor McCoy and what he can do in space.

"It was amazing just to see him out there, back from a bad injury just like he did," Hill told ESPN. "It was amazing to see him out there having fun, playing the game that he loves."

Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense

It has come to the point where the game plan for the Chiefs is to make them earn their way down the field and force Mahomes into being patient -- which he is learning how to do with each passing game. The Chargers, though, can also alter the formula on the strength of their pass rush led by their bookend rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

The pair have accounted for 13 of Los Angeles' 24 sacks, with Bosa registering a team-best 8.5 takedowns. He was held without a sack for just the third time this season against Oakland, and it may not be a coincidence the Chargers are 0-3 in those games.

"You just have to try and keep him in the pocket with the pass rush," Bosa told the team's official website about containing Mahomes. "Even when there's a good pass rush he makes something happen. What did he have the other day, 400 yards? It might be a tough ask to limit him too much because he's such a great player but just to try and keep him in the pocket and affect him with that pass rush."



Team Passing Statistics

Passes Attempted — 383 (2nd)

Passes Completed — 252 (2nd)

Completion Percentage — 65.8 (12th)

Gross Passing Yards — 3,285 (1st)

Net Passing Yards – 3,139 (1st)

Net Passing Yards Per Game — 313.9 (1st)

Average Gain Per Pass Play — 7.83 (2nd)

Yards Per Attempt — 8.58 (2nd)

Yards Per Completion — 13.04 (2nd)

Passing TDs — 22 (2nd)

Interceptions — 1 (32nd-most)

Times Sacked — 18 (T-23rd most)

Passer Rating — 110.7 (3rd)

Individual Passing

Patrick Mahomes — 193 completions/291 attempts/66.3 completion percentage/2,626 yards/18 TDs/1 INT/114.1 passer rating

Matt Moore -- 59/91/64.8/659/4/0/100.9

Dustin Colquitt -- 0/1/0.0/0/0/0/39.6

Individual Receiving

Travis Kelce -- 56 receptions/741 yards/13.2 yards per catch/3 TDs

Sammy Watkins -- 40/512/12.8/3

Tyreek Hill -- 33/543/16.5/5

Demarcus Robinson -- 27/379/14.0/3

Damien Williams -- 22/150/6.8/1

Mecole Hardman -- 21/437/20.8/5

LeSean McCoy -- 20/129/6.5/1

Darrel Williams -- 12/156/13.0/0

Byron Pringle -- 10/147/14.7/1

Deon Yelder -- 3/50/16.7/0

Blake Bell -- 3/10/3.3/0

Darwin Thompson -- 3/10/3.3/0

Anthony Sherman -- 1/15/15.0/0

De'Anthony Thomas -- 1/6/6.0/0


Team Passing Defense Statistics (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponents’ Passes Attempted — 286 (T-27th)

Opponents’ Passes Completed — 205 (T-20th)

Opponents’ Completing Percentage — 71.7 (2nd)

Opponents’ Gross Passing Yards — 2,235 (23rd)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards — 2,078 (20th)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards Per Game — 207.8 (28th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Attempt — 7.81 (8th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Completion — 10.90 (22nd)

Opponents’ Average Gain Per Pass Play — 6.70 (11th)

Opponents’ TD passes — 14 (T–17th)

Interceptions — 7 (T-13th)

Sacks — 24 (T-15th)

Opponents’ Passer Rating — 100.5 (8th)

Individual Defense Sacks and Quarterback Hurries

Joey Bosa -- 8.5 sacks/62.5 yards/19 QBH

Melvin Ingram III -- 4.5/29.0/7

Desmond King II -- 2.5/14.0/4

Uchenna Nwosu -- 2.0/18.0/5

Jerry Tillery -- 1.5/8.0/2

Thomas Davis Sr. -- 1.0/5.5/2

Roderic Teamer -- 1.0/0.0/1

Brandon Mebane -- 1.0/5.0/2

Isaac Rochell -- 1.0/1.0/1

Interceptions and Passes Broken Up

Casey Hayward Jr. -- 2 INTs/7 PBU

Rayshawn Jenkins -- 2/3

Roderic Teamer -- 1/2

Michael Davis -- 1/4

Kyzir White -- 1/1

Desmond King II -- 0/2

Damion Square -- 0/2

Who has the Edge?

A healthy Mahomes and a healthy receiving corps means the Chiefs have the edge in almost any scenario, but Bosa and Ingram can do damage against a makeshift Kansas City offensive line that was down to five healthy players in the second half versus Tennessee.

The Chargers do not blitz all that often, opposing quarterbacks are 27 for 39 for 216 yards and been dropped three times in those scenarios, so there will be pressure on Bosa and Ingram to collapse the pocket while Los Angeles likely will play six and seven back to try and limit Mahomes' options.

Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense
vs. Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense

Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense

Now less than a month shy of his 38th birthday, there are certain parts of his game Rivers simply cannot do. He can shift in the pocket but can't scramble out of it. He also cannot do all that much if the offensive line collapses around him, which is something that contributed to his disastrous final drive.

"It’s easy to second-guess quarterbacks the day after the game when you’re not out there under that pressure making those decisions. But we didn’t get it done as a team. I wouldn’t put all of that on Philip," Lynn told the San Diego Union-Tribune regarding Rivers.

“If you watch the film and you look at those plays, you have short routes, you have intermediate routes and you have long routes. We had options there. We didn’t have to throw the ball down the field," he added.

Left tackle Russell Okung was limited to seven plays against the Raiders due to a groin strain and did not practice early in the week.

There were tons of hot takes on this being the beginning of the end for Rivers following the loss to the Raiders, which is to be expected given how the game ended and being on national television. At the same time, if you take away the ill-fated final drive, Rivers was 17 for 24 for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions.

That means reports of Rivers' demise may be exaggerated, but don't think people aren't watching.

Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense

The good news for the Chiefs is they have shown a consistent pass rush over the past four games, recording 19 of their 30 sacks in that span. The downside is they have not recorded an interception in those contests while yielding 919 yards and eight touchdown passes.

Jones will have to take on more responsibility getting to the quarterback with fellow defensive lineman and sack-leader Emmanuel Ogbah (5.5) done for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Frank Clark has played better in his last two matches, recording three takedowns, but is still well off his 2018 total of 13.

The secondary has also taken its lumps, pretty much opting to throw at anyone not named Tyronn Mathieu -- who has yielded just 178 yards on 20 completions while breaking up five passes. Charvarius Ward has a team-high two INTs, but he also has been picked on far more as opposing QBs are 29 for 48 for 421 yards.



Team Passing Statistics

Passes Attempted — 365 (5th)

Passes Completed — 241 (4th)

Completion Percentage — 66.0 (10th)

Gross Passing Yards — 2,823 (3rd)

Net Passing Yards – 2,701 (3rd)

Net Passing Yards Per Game — 270.1 (8th)

Average Gain Per Pass Play — 7.00 (8th)

Yards Per Attempt — 7.73 (12th)

Yards Per Completion — 11.71 (13th)

Passing TDs — 14 (T-16th)

Interceptions — 10 (T-5th most)

Times Sacked — 21 (19th most)

Passer Rating — 90.7 (18th)

Individual Passing

Philip Rivers — 240 completions/364 attempts/65.9 completion percentage/2,816 yards/14 TDs/10 INT/90.6 passer rating

Tyrod Taylor -- 1/1/100.0/7/0/0/95.8

Individual Receiving

Keenan Allen -- 62 receptions/725 yards/11.7 yards per catch/3 TDs

Austin Ekeler -- 57/559/9.8/6

Hunter Henry -- 33/418/12.7/3

Mike Williams -- 31/585/18.9/0

Melvin Gordon III -- 15/91/6.1/1

Dontrelle Inman -- 8/132/16.5/0

Justin Jackson -- 7/20/2.9/0

Virgil Green -- 6/52/8.7/0

Travis Benjamin -- 6/30/5.0/0

Lance Kendricks -- 3/50/16.7/0

Geremy Davis -- 3/38/12.7/0

Derek Watt -- 3/32/10.7/0

Jason Moore -- 2/43/21.5/0

Andre Patton -- 2/22/11.0/0

Troymaine Pope -- 2/14/7.0/1

Sean Culkin -- 1/12/12.0/0


Team Passing Defense Statistics (Opponent Offensive Rank)

Opponents’ Passes Attempted — 343 (T-8th)

Opponents’ Passes Completed — 217 (10th)

Opponents’ Completing Percentage — 63.3 (T-20th)

Opponents’ Gross Passing Yards —2,456 (12th)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards — 2,214 (15th)

Opponents’ Net Passing Yards Per Game — 221.4 (25th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Attempt — 7.16 (20th)

Opponents’ Yards Per Completion — 11.32 (17th)

Opponents’ Average Gain Per Pass Play — 5.94 (23rd)

Opponents’ TD passes — 16 (T–11th)

Interceptions — 6 (T-16th)

Sacks — 30 (T-5th)

Opponents’ Passer Rating — 92.9 (16th)

Individual Defense Sacks and Quarterback Hurries

Emmanuel Ogbah -- 5.5 sacks/37.5 yards/11 QBH

Chris Jones -- 5.0/43.0/11

Frank Clark -- 4.0/31.0/5

Alex Okafor -- 3.0/18.0/7

Tanoh Kpassagnon -- 3.0/37.0/7

Anthony Hitchens -- 2.0/31.0/3

Damien Wilson -- 1.5/9.5/4

Tyrann Mathieu -- 1.0/14.0/1

Kendall Fuller -- 1.0/7.0/1

Derrick Nnadi -- 1.0/1.0/1

Reggie Ragland -- 1.0/6.0/1

Khalen Saunders -- 1.0/0.0/2

Armani Watts -- 1.0/7.0/1

Interceptions and Passes Broken Up

Charvarius Ward -- 2 INTs/6 PBU

Tyrann Mathieu -- 1/5

Frank Clark -- 1/2

Bashaud Breeland -- 1/5

Juan Thornhill -- 1/2

Emmanuel Ogbah -- 0/3

Who has the Edge?

There are a lot of "ifs" to this one. If the Chargers can give Rivers a clean pocket, he can be successful. Conversely, if the Chiefs can collapse it, they can speed up Rivers and knock off some of his timing throws. Los Angeles has a diverse passing game and one of the league's more underrated receivers in Keenan Allen.

If Rivers and Allen can establish a connection, it could help the Chargers keep pace offensively with the Chiefs.

Advantage: Push


Kansas City Chiefs

As stated earlier, this game is a little bit of a referendum on Reid's decision to hold out McCoy, but by and large, Kansas City's success comes down to execution or the lack of it -- much like its blocked field goal last week versus Tennessee.

Kicker Harrison Butker has been otherwise solid, hitting 29 of 31 PATs, while three of his four missed field goals among his 27 attempts have been from beyond 50 yards. Butker also has an impressive touchback rate of 63.5 percent on his 62 kickoffs.

Punter Dustin Colquitt continues to be effective, with 13 of his 31 punts getting inside the opponents' 20, and the Chiefs have conceded just 60 return yards. Hardman has shown the potential to break off a long return either by punt or kickoff but also has not had many opportunities in the former.

Los Angeles Chargers

The spate of injuries to Los Angeles' offensive line is a concern, more so this week since depth will matter with the elevated attitude of Mexico City. The ebb and flow of the offense with the improved ground game and struggles passing last week make for an interesting dynamic.

There is no panic for the Chargers despite being 4-6, but any chance to win the AFC West requires a victory in this game -- one Los Angeles hopes would provide a knock-on effect for the final five games.

The kicking game instantly solidified with the return of Michael Badgley, and the "Money Badger" is 5 for 5 on PATs and 5 of 6 on field goals. Ty Long has made the most of his limited time on the field -- he's averaging 47.7 yards on just 29 punts, but he has outkicked his coverage often and netting only 41.9 yards as teams are averaging nearly eight yards per punt return.

Desmond King has a punt return touchdown to his credit, but that feels like an anomaly -- his other 13 returns have totaled 28 yards.

Who has the Edge?

Very little separates the teams in special teams, with Badgley's return making the kicking game close to a wash. Hardman has the potential to be a game-breaker given Long's propensity to boom punts as opposed to set up his coverage, so that will be worth watching.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook

The pick is the Chiefs, with the feeling the Chargers offensive line issues are eventually going to catch up with them as they try to keep up with Mahomes. Kansas City's offense is simply too diverse and filled with too many playmakers for Los Angeles to slow down consistently.

Additionally, Mahomes might be the only player who can thrive in a one-dimensional offense when asked to take over a game. The high-side hook on a field goal offers some resistance, but the matchups across the board favor Kansas City offensively.

In terms of trends according to, the road team has covered in seven of the last eight meetings, and the Chiefs have covered on the road in their last six matchups.

Latest Updates, Injury Reports, and Line Movements

The Chiefs got some extra good news along the offensive line as both starting left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are expected to play. Fisher has been sidelined since Week 2 with a groin injury, while Duvernay-Tardif last played in Week 8 before suffering an ankle injury. It will mark the first time since Week 2 Kansas City's starting offensive line was whole and should provide a boost to the running game in addition to keeping Mahomes upright.

Speaking of the running game, Damien Williams is expected to play after flying to Mexico City on Sunday. He was excused from practice during the week due to personal reasons and was listed as questionable.

Los Angeles right tackle Sam Tevi is the only Charger listed as out, while Okung is questionable with a groin injury.

Prediction: Chiefs -5 (-105)

Second Opinion on this pick from

Additional Insiders' Best Bets

Full-game Total Bet

Insiders Status:


The defenses do not look equipped to slow down the skill players enough. The Chiefs have scored 28 or more points in six of the eight games Mahomes has played, and per, the over is 8-3 in Kansas City's last 11 games following an ATS loss.

And according to, the over is 9-4 when the Chargers are underdogs between 3.5 to 10 points.

Prediction: OVER 52 (-110)

Full-game Prop Bet

Insiders Status:


The chance to grab the Chiefs getting points and knocking the line below 50 in what should be a high-scoring game is too good to pass up. If Fisher and Duvernay-Tardif are fully healthy and serviceable, Kansas City's offense has the potential to take a step up in productivity and do most of the lifting to get to the teaser number.

Additionally, the lack of a Chiefs pass rush with Okafor and Ogbah out should give Rivers the time in the pocket he needs to hook up with his wide receivers for big-yardage plays to keep the Chargers competitive.

Yardage Plays We Like

Kelce OVER 70.5 receiving yards (-114)

Mike Williams OVER 59.5 receiving yards (-114)

Mahomes OVER 311.5 passing yards (-114)

Kelce feels like the strongest play of the three because it goes back to the offensive line being whole. While he may need to chip block Bosa on occasion, Kelce will also be able to run more straight pass routes with the line back at full strength, which could result in an extra pass or two thrown his way and perhaps give him 10 targets for the game.

Either Williams or Keenan Allen (68.5 yards) is a good play, especially with Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller questionable with a thumb injury. If Rivers gets time to throw, he should be able to spread the wealth in the passing game, and Williams topped 59.5 yards in both meetings last year, racking up 157 yards in the two games.

Mahomes is a bit riskier considering he threw for only 499 yards in last season's two games. But with a full receiving corps and his offensive line at full strength -- and the thin Mexico City air in which he may try a few more deep shots than usual -- the reigning NFL MVP is worth the play.

Prediction: Chiefs +2/OVER 46 points teaser (-110)

Half-time Side Bet

Insiders Status:


A flat FG line isn't sexy, but a plus-53 first-half point differential good for fourth in the NFL is. That is also well ahead of the Chargers, who are in the middle of the pack in 17th at minus-2. Kansas City is also still the only NFL team with more than 100 second-quarter points (110).

Prediction: Chiefs -3 (-115)

Half-time Total Bet

Insiders Status:


The high-side hook is a nuisance, but since both teams are fairly proficient at scoring points late in the half -- the Chiefs have 42 and the Chargers 33 -- the hunch is one such score could make the difference in carrying the over in this case. The Chiefs have also had games with 26 or more first-half points in four of their last five outings.

Prediction: OVER 24.5 points (-110)

Half-time Prop Bet

Insiders Status:


Both teams rank in the bottom third when it comes to points allowed in the opening 15 minutes, and the 70 yielded by the Chiefs are better than only the New York Giants (81). Los Angeles is not much better at 54, and with the big-play potential of both offenses, it would not be surprising to see the game open with matching touchdown drives to deliver an early over.

Prediction: OVER 10 points 1st quarter (-110)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is based in Chicago. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiner, he worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Follow Chris daily right here at W&W and on Twitter at @AlTruda73. You won’t be disappointed.