Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
The Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season last week in New England, losing 43-40 in an epic shootout. It was a close game, but it easily could have been a wider margin, as the Chiefs trailed by 15 at halftime, but were able to catch up thanks to a second half strip sack, a long kickoff return, and a busted coverage on a 75-yard passing touchdown. The Patriots won the first down rate battle by 5.16%, totaling 31 first downs and 4 offensive touchdowns on 75 offensive snaps, as opposed to 18 first downs and 4 offensive touchdowns on 53 offensive snaps for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs obviously have an incredible offense and Pat Mahomes’ performance last week on the road in New England was arguably his best of the year, despite the end result of the game, but their defense remains a major problem, allowing opponents to pick up first downs or touchdowns on 44.86% of defensive snaps, 3rd worst in the NFL. They could turn into a serviceable stop unit by season’s end when they get safety Eric Berry and top edge rusher Justin Houston back from injury, which would make them a scary team in the AFC, but both remain out, so the Chiefs should continue having trouble stopping people in this one.
Given that, this line is too high at Kansas City -6. The Bengals lost in disappointing fashion at home to the Steelers last week, but remain one of the better teams in the AFC and should be able to keep this one close in a shootout. Even last week’s loss could have turned out differently if they had managed to hold on to one of the first half interceptions they dropped. I wouldn’t bet a lot on Cincinnati this week because this could easily end up being a touchdown win by Kansas City, but I have this line calculated at -3.5, so we’re getting enough line value with the Bengals at +6 for them to be worth a bet.
Kansas City Chiefs 30 Cincinnati Bengals 27
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +6