Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) at San Diego Chargers (2-7)
The Chargers had their bye last week and it came at a perfect time, as it allowed them to get much healthier. Left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin, tight end Antonio Gates, and safety Eric Weddle, all of whom have missed significant time with injury in recent weeks, all come out of the bye healthy. That’s great news because they’re all key players and the Chargers have been one of the most banged up teams in the league this season. They’re still missing top wide receiver Keenan Allen for the season and right guard DJ Fluker and wide receiver Malcom Floyd will join him this week, but they’re still significantly healthier than they normally are.
Despite all of their injuries, the Chargers have been a solid team this season. You wouldn’t know it from their record, as they’re 2-7, but they rank 10th in rate of moving the chains differential. Their record is largely the result of a 2-5 record in games decided by a touchdown, a -5 turnover margin, a -3 return touchdown margin, a -6.6 yards per kickoff return margin, and a -6.2 net punt margin. None of those things suggests anything deeply wrong with this team though, but rather that they have the framework of a good team and just need to clean some things up. They’ve won the rate of moving the chains battle in 6 of 9 games and could easily be 4-5, 5-4, or even 6-3. The Chiefs only rank 14th in rate of moving the chains differential, so it’s surprising that they’re favored by more than a field goal here on the road in San Diego, especially considering close to 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less. That’s enough for me to take the Chargers with confidence.
San Diego Chargers 23 Kansas City Chiefs 20 Upset Pick +150
Pick against the spread: San Diego +3.5