Two games to watch today, including the Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (4 p.m., NFL Network) in an NFC North battle and the Los Angeles Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs (8:25 NFL Network) in a battle for the AFC West lead.
THE magnitude of this one can't really be underestimated - although the division won't be decided by the result with two games still to play after this. In fact, it's interesting that the Chargers play in a stadium called the StubHub Center, because it will nearly take a ticket bought on StubHub to attend this AFC West Show down. Last week, the Chiefs played and beat division rival Oakland. It's a matchup that, despite being on the road, sets up well for L.A. has barely run on any functional defense since Week 5, and the Chiefs' pass defense. Under first-year head coach Anthony Lynn (who was potentially looking at going one-and-done), the Chargers are one of the hottest teams in football. A win by either team in this game would mean sole ownership of first place in the AFC West and important tiebreakers that will matter greatly down the stretch.
It's been a unusual season in the NFL and in the AFC West itself with the Denver Broncos looking like one of the worst teams in football and the Oakland Raiders failing to capitalize on their great season from a year ago. The game will be the biggest for the Chargers for at least the last three years. Kansas City's offense broke out of its slump over the last two weeks, hanging 57 points on the Jets and Raiders.
Who the Public Likes: As of Saturday morning, 53% of betting tickets is on the Chiefs while 55% of the money is also on Kansas City to either win or cover the spread.
I think this game all boils down to whether defensive linemen like Allen Bailey, Chris Jones and the re-emerging Rakeem-Nunez Roches get the same kind of interior push that they did last game against Oakland.More news: Real Madrid set team record with Club World Cup triumph
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The Chiefs saw off the Chargers in their Week 3 clashWhat time is kick-off? The best path to the playoffs for either of these teams is to win on Saturday night. The Chiefs offensive line is bleeding as their center Mitch Morse has been put on IR with a foot injury. To win this game the Chargers will need to get turnovers which they had in recent games and the way to get him to turn the ball over is by hitting him.
Kade Dohmen (6-7): "Big night game in Arrowhead".
Derek's Prediction: Chiefs 23, Chargers 17. Chiefs are playing better in both sides lately.
Otherwise, the talent that made this team a preseason darling is still quite evident. So tonight would show us what a matchup could look as a road team going into Kansas City on a short week. "We can't let all those different things they do slow us down". According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Chiefs are 1-point home underdogs versus the Chargers, who opened as a 1-point dog. The Chiefs defense had struggled for a month before the Raiders came to town and even though they played well against the Raiders the Raiders are just not a very good team.