Kansas City Chiefs (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-10 SU, 7-8 ATS)
Week 17 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: KC -4.5/SD +4.5
Over/Under Total: 45
The Kansas City Chiefs go to Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the San Diego Chargers. This game only has real meaning for one of these AFC West teams, with the Chiefs still in it and the Chargers just waiting for 2016 to end. Kansas City is in the postseason, with the range being wide. A win for the Chiefs in this game and an Oakland loss to Denver would earn the Chiefs the division and a first-round playoff bye. Anything less than that would put the Chiefs on the road in the wild card. On Sunday Night Football, the Chiefs beat the Broncos, 33-10, while the Chargers kept finding new and creative ways to stink in becoming the first team to lose to the Browns this season.
For the Chargers, this could be it for them in San Diego. An awful lot of signs point to a move to LA next season. You would think that maybe that would give way to a positive send-off and a high-energy day overall for the Chargers. And maybe it will. But a chasm has formed with the fan base, which didn't even turn out enough to pass what seemed like a no-brainer vote on a new stadium tax that would be paid by tourists. In their last home game, against the Raiders, the lack of support was deafening. To top it off, a once-plucky Chargers team seems to be phoning it in at this point.
The Chargers' offense has been eviscerated by injuries this season. Their top offensive playmakers are all out of action, leaving the bulk of work to Kenneth Farrow and Ronnie Hillman on the ground, with Antonio Gates, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, and Travis Benjamin through the air. Those players have performed well at times. But a good offense earlier in the season has been killed by personnel issues and an O-line that just hasn't gotten its act together. Philip Rivers is still prolific, but with a bad line and sometimes-inconsistent play on his part this season, they aren't doing very well at the moment.
The Chargers defense has a lot of talent, but again, injuries robbed them of whatever upside they would have otherwise had this season. There are some great signs moving forward, but the injury list now looks more like the defensive lineup than the actual defense at this point. The secondary can make plays, as Casey Hayward leads the NFL in picks. Joey Bosa has been a bonanza in his first season, despite the late start. Melvin Ingram is a stud. They have players. And while not embarrassed much this season, they have been one of the least clutch groups in the league.
The real question for the purposes of this game is what the Chargers have left. The offense is as bad as it has been all season. They can't be in great spirits after losing to Cleveland. They have a lame-duck coach in maybe their last game in a city where they've lost support. Why would they suddenly spring to life now, so they can make life hard for the Chiefs in the spoiler role? We're not so sure about that.
The Chiefs looked good on Sunday night with a thorough hammering of the Broncos. It was a good development for a team that blew it the previous week at home against Tennessee. With Derek Carr now out of action, their prospects of winning the division go up, as they hold the season-sweep against Oakland. The offense looks to have a little extra burst and the defense has been getting better over the course of the season.
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On Sunday, Alex Smith looked good, with accurate passing and a nifty TD run, as well. Late, lineman Dontari Poe got into the mix with a TD pass. Spencer Ware (questionable) looked as good as he had in weeks and Travis Kelce continues to shine at tight end, as he caught 11 balls for 160 yards and a score. But giving this offense a real kick is versatile Tyreek Hill. He ran for a 70-yard score and is also a threat on returns and aerially. They seem to be giving him more opportunities to shine and he's become a real difference-maker for this team. Suddenly, a sometimes-flat KC offense has some wind in its sails moving forward. It's not great and they don't always fire, but they have hope.
Having given up just 42 combined points in their last three games, the Chiefs defense looks to be getting its act together at the right time. Guys like Dee Ford and Poe are effective up-front. Their secondary has played pretty well all season—not the stoutest group perhaps, but one of the better playmaking ones with Marcus Peters and Eric Berry back there making plays. This defense has scored five touchdowns this season. With a few more on returns, the KC offense gets nice support from time to time.
In these types of games, the obvious conclusions can often go awry. A lot of money is lost in week 17 by overplaying the urgency angle. We see a Chiefs team that has something to play for and wants to keep their momentum moving into the playoffs. Then we see a Chargers team that looks worn down and mentally-depleted in a town that they feel doesn't want them anymore, with a lame-duck coach to boot. Even so, I see the Chiefs getting it done against a dispirited Chargers team.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 4.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Kansas City vs. San Diego game from the comfort of home at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!