NFL Week 9 – Thursday Night

Both these teams have been pretty underwhelming so far this season.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who were picked by many to be sleepers this season, have amassed a grand total of one win through their first seven games. They may be out of the playoff hunt, but a win on Thursday night could be a redeeming moment for this downtrodden team.

The San Diego Chargers, who are consistently predicted to win 10-13 games a season, are in need of a redeeming moment themselves: their 3-4 record was topped off last week with an ugly loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns. They are very much in the playoff hunt in a weak AFC – not to mention an even weaker AFC West. A win against KC would be a huge divisional win that brings them back to .500 and keeps them within shouting distance of the division-leading Denver Broncos.

To escape Thursday night with a win, the Chargers need to avoid turning the ball over on offense and stop the KC rushing attack on defense. If SD takes care of the ball, KC won’t have a chance to win this game. It all starts with good decision making from QB Philip Rivers on offense.

On defense, the Chargers need to stop the dangerous running of RB Jamaal Charles. Charles is one of the few RBs in the NFL that are so effective with their speed that they’re like a secondary passing attack. If the Chargers can’t lock him up, expect at least one 40+ yard run from him.

For KC, the gameplan needs to be the opposite: create turnovers on defense and make sure the rushing attack gets going on offense. The KC passing attack isn’t good enough to win this game by itself; and if it tries to do it by itself, expect there to be a few INTs tossed by QB Matt Cassel.

The Charges have the obvious advantage tonight. They’re a better all-around team and they have home-field advantage. If the Charges can take a 24-0 first-half lead on the fierce Denver Broncos just two weeks ago, I’d imagine they could do even better against the Chiefs. But for the sake of sanity, let’s just hope they don’t repeat the second half of that Broncos game.

Bold prediction: Chargers win 24-17 despite 300 passing yards from Matt Cassel.

Computer Prediction by DynamicPicks:

Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers

Projected win: San Diego, 64.7% – CORRECT

Projected ATS win: Kansas City +9, 55.8% – INCORRECT

I don’t like the 9-point line, but the math is saying KC +9 is a solid value bet.

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