Free NFL Picks: Kansas City at San Diego 12-12-2010

December 12, 2010

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Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers

Sunday December 12th, 2010 4:15 PM EST

Line: San Diego -7

Overview:

The 8-4 Kansas City Chiefs took the AFC West by storm this season. On opening day, they took out the Chargers and won 21-14. They sit comfortably atop the division and have enjoyed a three game win streak. If the Chiefs win even one game remaining on their schedule, they have a good chance at winning the division. Their biggest hurdle will come this week, when they take on their division rival Chargers.

The Chargers are notorious for ending the season strong after a slow start and winning the division. This season, they might not be so fortunate. Although they came out of the gate slowly as usual, the 15 point loss to Oakland last week may have put a wrinkle in their plans. A win Vs. Kansas City will bring them within one game of the Chiefs, but will it be enough to launch them into the drivers’ seat when everything shakes out?

Keys to the Game:

  • The Chiefs may have the best running attack in the game, but the Chargers are solid against the run. Jamaal Charles just got a huge extension, which he earned this season by dominating virtually every opponent he faced. Charles has a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry. Charles has posted back-to-back 100 yard games. Will the Chargers allow Jamaal Charles to duplicate the 97 yards and a touchdown performance Darren McFadden had against the Chargers last week?
  • Philip Rivers is a great quarterback. People complain that he whines, but I think the general public simply misreads his emotions. Rivers is a hard worker and he wants to win. He is getting it done with guys like Mike Tolbert in the backfield and Malcom Floyd streaking down the sideline. Rivers is the most key element of the San Diego offense and he needs to take advantage of the Chiefs’ secondary.
  • The second I saw Matt Cassel had an emergency appendectomy, I knew he would sit in the following game. I had my appendix out a few years ago and take it from someone who has been there, there is no way he could have been effective at absorbing any sort of contact. It is in his best interest to rest and give the reigns to Brodie Croyle. He obviously wants to be there for his team, but there are three other games the Chiefs need him for in the regular season alone.
  • Brodie Croyle’s chances of succeeding are bleak. The Chargers have the best pass defense in the entire league. One of the reasons they are so effective is the pressure they get from guys like Shaun Phillips, who has quietly racked up ten sacks this season. Croyle can’t find himself trying to make plays. He needs to get the hands of their offensive play makers and let them do the work. The Chiefs needs to rely heavily on Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles in the run game this week to allow Croyle to smoothly transition into the offense.

Key Matchup:

Dwayne Bowe Vs. Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason

  • Dwayne Bowe has 14 touchdowns this season. He has been Matt Cassel’s go to guy and will be a great weapon for Croyle to utilize this week. Last week, Bowe was completely shut down for zero yards and zero catches. While he is likely to struggle again this week, it can’t possibly get any worse for him. The Chargers can’t get caught up in the run game and forget about Bowe.
  • They can play man with either one of their corners and feel confident in their matchups. Jammer and Cason could see a pick if pressure gets the best of them, but they need to be more focused on simply containing Bowe, especially in the red zone. The Chiefs are hard enough to handle when they are one dimensional. When Bowe gets going, it can be miserable for defenses.

Wrap Up:

I like the chiefs, but they play much worse on the road. The Chargers suffered a minor set back, but I still like them to win in this one. With no Cassel, it seems as though the Chiefs will need to go through an adjustment period. It’s poor timing, but teams deal with adversity in every season. Even though I think the Chargers will win, the Chiefs should still cover. They beat the Chargers by seven last time they played and the Chargers just fell hard to the Raiders last week.

Free NFL Pick: Kansas City +7


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