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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 7: Chiefs Vs. Chargers

Kansas City Chiefs Vs. San Diego Chargers: SD -4 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This line is a true head-scratcher. In the look-ahead, Westgate had this at Chargers -5. When it reopened it went up to -5.5. Since then it's been bet down to -4.

Why? I didn't downgrade the Chargers one bit after their first non-cover last week vs the Raiders. Teams can't possibly cover every game, and Derek Carr deserves full marks for his performance on Sunday. I think this line move provides some value on one of the best teams in the league. Betting is split right down the middle 50-50.

Bottom Line

Both of these teams probably qualify as surprises through six weeks. Everybody had written off the Chiefs after Week 1 (including me), but they've remained resilient and put together some strong performances ever since. Their offense is ranked slightly above average, with impressive ratings in both red zone offense and third down conversions.

Conversely, the Chargers defense has improved to a middle of the pack unit, but their one big weakness has been inside their own 20, where they rank dead last. Despite that, I don't see this side of the ball as a significant mismatch in favor of the Chiefs. And if they fall behind, Alex Smith will need to get out of his comfort zone and force the issue. Don't be surprised if Brandon Flowers comes up with a big game here. He was unceremoniously cut by KC and he's had a really great start to the year.

The big problem for the Chiefs will be figuring out how to slow down Philip Rivers. Granted, most teams face that issue, but San Diego's passing game really is on another level this year. They rank first in the league in the air, and have maintained their abnormally high third down conversion percentage from a year ago. When this team needs a play, they've been able to deliver all year.

I'll keep riding the Chargers as long as I'm getting appealing lines like this one.

NFL Pick: SD -4.

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