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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM

MNF - Chiefs vs. Chargers

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Kansas City (-5, 53) vs. L.A. Chargers, 8:15 pm ET, ESPN

Los Cargadores look to keep their fading playoff hopes alive and los Chiefs hope to wake up atop the AFC West on Tuesday morning instead of being stuck on the outside looking in with just five games left to play.

That’s the backdrop for Monday night’s Week 11 closer, which will be played in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, home to the three games played south of the border since the NFL started exporting its regular-season product to try and help grow its brand internationally. The first installment in 2005 drew over 100,000 fans and the first two games this decade went off without a hitch prior to last year’s cancellation of a Rams-Chiefs game that had to be relocated because or irreparably poor field conditions due to overuse.

The Kansas City Star reports that Club America, the soccer club that calls Azteca home, hasn’t played a game there in weeks and no concerts have been scheduled since August. That means field conditions will be pristine as the Patrick Mahomes show finally takes the stage in Mexico against the other L.A. team.

Even if the game were being played on the moon, Kansas City (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) would be favored here and an offense that averages 28.7 points per game would dictate a total topping 50. The Chiefs have played nothing but tight, high-scoring games over the last three weeks, losing at home to the Packers before beating the Vikings while Matt Moore filled in for Mahomes. Last week featured an upset loss in Nashville where the big consolation prize to having their defense get diced up was that the reigning MVP returned from his dislocated kneecap and played brilliantly.




Mahomes threw for three touchdowns and finished with 446 passing yards against the Titans but couldn’t suit up to play on the other side of the ball, which left him in the role of helpless bystander as Ryan Tannehill engineered a four-play, 61-yard drive to take back the lead and kicker Harrison Butker’s game-tying 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked. It wasn’t a great look for the Chiefs’ defense and special teams, which puts pressure on both units to hold up against Los Angeles (4-6, 3-6-1) in the first of two meetings against them before the season ends. Kansas City will host the regular-season finale and returns home to square off with rival Oakland on Sunday, making this the most important week of the season if they want to not stress a return to the playoffs.

The Chargers are already in must-win mode after falling just short in a 26-24 road loss in Oakland after Philip Rivers wasn’t able to execute the same fourth-quarter rally Mahomes was tasked with in Tennessee. Rivers wasn’t able to even set up a field goal attempt as the Raiders defense got stops on poorly conceived downfield passes that seemed to ignore the fact the middle of the field was open, ending the team’s first winning streak of the season after upsets of the Bears and Packers. L.A. is 2-1 SU and ATS as an underdog this season while Kansas City has won five of eight as ‘chalk’ but has covered only half the time. The Chiefs have beaten the Chargers in nine of 10. Details are available below.

Rivers is 1-1 outside of the U.S., losing a 37-32 duel at Wembley against Drew Brees and the Saints in 2008 and beat the Titans 20-19 back in London last season. Kansas City beat the Lions 45-10 in its lone NFL International Games’ appearance back in 2015, but Mahomes does have plenty of experience on the Monday night stage and threw six touchdowns and three picks in a 54-51 loss to the Rams in that aforementioned relocated game that ended up being played at the L.A. Coliseum on Nov. 19 of last year. He won his MNF debut by helping lead a fourth-quarter comeback in Denver, throwing for over 300 yards. The second-year starter said he feels healthier than he’s been all season and no longer has to concern himself with nagging ankle and knee ailments.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in explosive plays with 45, so Rivers is going to have to push the ball downfield while riding Melvin Gordon and the run game. He said earlier this week that he intends to return in 2020 and entered Week 11 as the league’s leader in passing yards (2,816), attempts (364) and completions (240), which bodes well for the shootout many expect. Be sure to check out “Total Talk” below to further break down the over/under game.

Mahomes has called in kind of a “must-win” and the Chargers have made no secret of head coach Anthony Lynn having already told his team that they have to run the table if they’re going to make the playoffs, so the intensity here should be palpable and it will have a playoff-type feel given the Monday night stage and international setting. We’ll see which set of playmakers rise up and make plays, but given the number of guys who skill-wise rank among the top at their position, it should be a good show. Tyreek Hill surpassing 90 receiving yards and finding the end zone are props available at the Westgate SuperBook at -110 and have my recommendation. For a free pick on a prop, click here .

The teams took different approaches to preparing for the altitude of Mexico City, with the Chargers working out in Colorado Springs and the Chiefs not working in altitude at all. It remains to be seen who physically holds up better, but if you’re of the belief practice makes perfect, wagering on L.A. come second half may be for you. Both teams are relatively healthy. See the injury report below for details on who won’t play.

Los Angeles is looking for consecutive wins in this series for the first time since sweeping the regular-season meetings in 2012 and 13. Mike Williams caught a touchdown pass with four seconds left and then hauled in the two-point conversion last December in Week 15, giving the Chargers a 29-28 win. Mexico may deliver an equally higher-scoring contest and will provide a fun setting to witness just how far Mahomes can throw a football.

TOTAL TALK

The ‘over’ was on a 6-0 run in primetime games the last two weeks but in the two contests played under the lights in Week 11, bettors riding the low side were treated to a pair of clear-cut ‘under’ tickets. Will Monday’s finale complete the trifecta?

Chris David of VegasInsider.com offers up his thoughts and lean on the total for this AFC West matchup.

“This total opened 49 ½ last week and as of Monday morning, most books are holding 53 and that’s a bit of a head-scratcher even though I understand that the Chiefs-Over combination is one of the most popular combinations for bettors,” said David. “When it comes to ‘over’ tickets, it takes two to tango most times and the Chargers have been very inconsistent offensively this season, often leaving points off the board with careless turnovers.”

While Kansas City has watched the ‘over’ go 7-3 this season, Los Angeles is 7-3 to the ‘under’ in 10 games. This has been an ‘over’ series recently with four of the last six going high, which includes a 2-0 record last season. The pair split those games, with the visitor coming out on top in each contest and we saw 66 and 57 combined points scored.

Even though is technically a neutral site game, the Chargers have been deemed the home team. David dug up the numbers on the Chiefs outside of Arrowhead and he believes Kansas City’s offense will travel well for this international series matchup.

The ‘over’ is 2-1 in games played in Mexico City and 2-2 this season in games played overseas in London. The high side has connected in three straight Chiefs games and six of the last eight involving them, while the Chargers come off surrendering their second-highest scoring output of the season in Oakland. Skies will be clear and temperatures in Mexico City are expected to be in the mid-60s, so both teams will only have to deal with altitude as far as the elements are concerned.

“We all know Mahomes is a special talent and what we’ve seen from the kid and the Chiefs on the road is ridiculous in his short career. Since he took over as starter in 2018, Kansas City has averaged 36.1 PPG in 13 games away from Arrowhead and the ‘over’ has gone 10-3 in those matchups. The lowest scoring outcome for the offense during this span were 27 twice and 28 points, meaning KC has posted 30-plus points 11 times. The Chargers defense just isn’t the same without safety Derwin James and even when healthy last season, Mahomes notched six touchdowns in two games against Los Angeles. The team total on the Chiefs has been juiced up to 28 ½ and I fully expect Kansas City to jump that number tonight.”

LINE MOVEMENT

Kansas City Chiefs
Projected season win total: 10.5 (Over -130, Under +110)
Odds to win AFC West (pre-Week 1/current): 1/2 to 2/7
Odds to win AFC (pre-Week 1/current): 11/5 to 6/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 5/1 to 12/1
 
Los Angeles Chargers
Projected season win total: 10 (Over +120, Under -140)
Odds to win AFC West (pre-Week 1/current): 11/5 to 12/1
Odds to win AFC (pre-Week 1/current): 7/1 to 50/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 14/1 to 100/1

INJURY CONCERNS

Chargers tackle Russell Okung was downgraded to doubtful and likely won’t be available, making him this game’s biggest question mark. The L.A. defense will have DT Justin Jones (shoulder) and LB Denzel Perryman (knee) available to try and provide some resistance against the Chiefs. Safety Roderick Teamer is questionable. James remains out and fellow safety Adrian Phillips is in the process of coming off IR in a few weeks but also won’t be available here .

The Chiefs will have their projected starting offensive line available for the first time since Week 2 since Eric Fisher (groin), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), Mitchell Schwartz (ankle) and Cam Erving (ankle) have all been practicing and will return. Defensive ends Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah are out, but Frank Clark (neck) is in. WR Sammy Watkins (groin) should also be in the mix.

RECENT MEETINGS
(Chiefs 9-1 SU, 4-4 ATS last 10, OVER 5-3)

12/13/18 Chargers 29-28 vs. Chiefs (LA +3.5, 54)
9/9/18 Chiefs 38-28 at Chargers (KC +3.5, 48)
12/16/17 Chiefs 30-13 vs. Chargers (KC -1, 47)
9/24/17 Chiefs 24-10 vs. Chargers (KC -3, 47.5)
1/1/17 Chiefs 37-27 at Chargers (KC -5.5, 45)
9/11/16 Chiefs 33-27 vs. Chargers (SD +6.5, 45.5)
12/13/15 Chiefs 10-3 vs. Chargers (SD +10.5, 44)
11/22/15 Chiefs 33-3 at Chargers (KC -3, 45)
12/28/14 Chiefs 19-7 vs. Chargers (KC -2.5, 42.5)
10/19/14 Chiefs 23-20 at Chargers (KC +3, 46)

NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED

The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 12 numbers featured the Rams and Ravens being a pick’em next Monday night, but both of these teams will be enjoying a bye week upon their return from Mexico.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA

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