It’s possible that this is the worst prime time game the NFL has ever offered — or at least the worst they have offered in a long, long time. The Chargers have loads of talent, but their last six quarters have been impossibly bad. First, they blew a 24-0 halftime lead against the Broncos, didn’t score again, and lost 35-24. Then they lost 7-6 in Cleveland in a game that set the entire sport of football back at least a decade. They have now lost four of five, and the lone win — at Kansas City — doesn’t earn them any credit. The Norv Turner era has been marked by underperformance and frustration, but never have the issues been as pronounced as they are now.
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As bad as the Chargers are right now, though, they look like the 1985 Bears compared to the Chiefs. Kansas City hasn’t had a lead in regulation all year, and despite a strong running game they can’t score points and really can’t keep their opponents from scoring them. Of the most concern, though, is the attitude the team is displaying. They look like they know they are beaten as soon as they step on the field. Even worse, they don’t look like they care. They know that a massive overhaul is on the horizon, and they seem incapable of doing anything about it. It’s just plain ugly.
Chiefs at Chargers Betting Storylines
The Chiefs have quarterback issues, and the short week certainly isn’t going to help. The team made the decision to go with Brady Quinn over a healthy Matt Cassel last week. Like everything else this year, though, that backfired horribly on them. Quinn was hurt early on, and after undermining any last credibility and confidence that Cassel may have had they were forced to put him back in. Cassel was predictably lousy, but he’ll start again here because Quinn has been ruled out with a concussion. The backup will be Ricky Stanzi, the former Iowa starter who the team has such confidence in that they didn’t even activate him last week. It goes without saying with this team at the best of times, but the Chiefs can’t be trusted at QB this week.
Despite the woeful performances of both teams this year there is one matchup that is actually impressive, and that will likely define the outcome of this game — at least in terms of covering the spread. The Chiefs are third in the league in rushing yards with 155.1 per game thanks to the heroic play of Jamaal Charles. Only the Bears have allowed fewer than the 80 yards per game on the ground that the Chargers have given up. It’s strength against strength, and one is obviously going to give. I’d bet on it being the Chiefs’ running game because the Chargers can gamble that they won’t be beaten through the air, but your view on what happens here will impact where the value is in the spread more than anything else.
A subplot that will have an impact on this game and an even bigger one on the rest of the season for both teams is the job security of the coaches. There is none. Norv Turner should have been replaced last year, and it would take a remarkable turnaround for him to save his job. Now that early-season struggles have become the norm for his team I’m not sure even that would be enough. It’s even harder to believe that Romeo Crennel can survive the total mess of the Chiefs. You can argue that a lot that has happened isn’t his fault, but he’s still the man in charge and really doesn’t seem to be the answer. When everyone knows a coach is in trouble and that coach isn’t respected it’s very hard for a team to play at full effort.
Antonio Gates has long been central to the success of this San Diego offense. This year, watching him has been like riding a roller coaster. He has played in six of the seven games the team has played. In three of them he has been strong, with good yards per catch and active participation. In the other three, though, he has been far from effective. The bad games have followed a good game in each case, and he was lousy last week against the Browns. Therefore, perhaps he’s due for a strong performance this week. Against the Chiefs’ secondary that certainly isn’t a bad bet.
Chiefs at Chargers NFL Odds and Betting Trends
There is some interesting early line movement here. The game opened with the Chargers favored by 8.5 points, and they have drawn about 70 percent of bets. Despite that, the line has fallen to 7.5 points in most places. That’s a sign that early sharp money was on the Chiefs. The line is also bouncing around more than normal, so there is both some interest and some confusion surrounding this game. The total can be found at 42.5 or 43, and seems to be reasonably stable there.
Underdogs have covered each of the last six Thursday night games. The home team has won five of the last six between these squads, with the first meeting this year between these teams in Kansas City being the exception. The “under” is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the teams.
Chiefs at Chargers Predictions and NFL Picks
In a word — pass. I don’t like anything about this game, and don’t really see any good reason to want to bet on it. If I was absolutely forced to, though, I’d take the Chargers since they are at home, and because the Chiefs are just 2-5 ATS and really not playing their best football.
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