The San Diego Chargers disappointed coming off a bye last week, as they blew a 21-10 halftime lead and lost 27-21 to the New York Jets.
The Kansas City Chiefs, meanwhile, have now won three straight games after an 0-3 start and suddenly find themselves just one game behind San Diego in the AFC West, making this a big game for both teams.
The Chargers are (-3) road favorites at odds of (-130), with the total set at 44.
ODDS: OPEN: CHARGERS -3.5 | CURRENT: CHARGERS -3 | O/U: 44
1. Why San Diego will cover the spread: The Chargers look like the superior team on paper, and they now have Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Ryan Matthews all back and healthy at the same time. Thus, they should cover this spread if they merely play to their full capabilities for an entire game. The Chargers looked like the best team in football in the first half last week, and they then got shut out in the second half with Philip Rivers uncharacteristically throwing two late interceptions.
Well, Rivers is not facing Darrell Revis here and San Diego knows the importance of this divisional battle, so look for a focused effort from start to finish.
2. Why Kansas City will cover the spread: The Chiefs will cover this spread if their defense plays as well as it did while shutting out the Raiders last week and if it continues to run the ball effectively. Kansas City has actually assembled a pretty good defense and this unit returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week. The Chiefs can be run on, but truth be told, they would rather allow a few yards on the ground than commit to stopping it and allow Rivers to hit Gates and Jackson all game long.
Also, the Chiefs looked done once running back Jamaal Charles was lost for the season, but they may have found a suitable replacement in Jackie Battle, who has rushed for 195 yards on 35 carries (5.6 YPC) the last two games, and the Chargers just allowed a season best 112 rushing yards to Shonn Greene while coming off the bench.
3. Total Talk: While we have no doubt the Chargers will be much more focused this week, that does not mean the Kansas City defense will give them anything, at least not through the air. Thus, look for a heavier reliance than usual on Matthews and on Michael Tolbert between the 20s before Rivers starts looking for his favorite big target in Gates, Jackson and Floyd in the red zone.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs saw what Greene just did despite getting benched in favor of LaDainian Tomlinson, so look for Battle to continue to see lots of work on the ground. With that in mind, the ‘under’ seems like the play here, despite the threat of the Chargers being aggressive with the pass from the start.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The Chiefs are 23-11 ATS in October since 2002, but on the flip side they are also 12-22 ATS at home since 2007. The ‘under’ is 5-0 in the last five Kansas City divisional games. The Chargers are just 2-7-1 in their last 10 games as a road favorite, but the Chiefs are 1-4 ATS following a win of more than 14 points.