(6-8, 7-7 ATS)
Kansas City Chiefs
(9-5, 8-6 ATS)
NFL betting action doesn’t get much bigger than this. No one really expected either the Tennessee Titans or the Kansas City Chiefs to be in the playoff picture this deep into the season, but they’re both right here. One will most likely see their dreams put on life support or eliminated on Sunday when they meet at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Titans just barely hung on to their hopes last week, as they had the perfect combination of a win by the Indianapolis Colts and a win over the Houston Texans in the same week. Now, there are five more games that must bounce their way for them to get into the second season as the AFC South champs. This is obviously one of the three, as any loss or any win by either the Colts or the Jacksonville Jaguars would eliminate them. QB Kerry Collins is doing a slightly better job as a starting quarterback this year than he did last season, but that’s not saying a heck of a lot. He has thrown for 1,288 yards and 10 TDs in five starts and three relief appearances. As always, it’ll be up to RB Chris Johnson to carry the load for an offense that doesn’t have a single receiver with even 40 catches on the year. CJ has 282 carries for 1,267 yards and 11 TDs, and though these numbers pale in comparison from his 2,006 yard season from 2009, he is clearly going to be a Pro Bowl selection.
KC can lock up the AFC West title on Sunday with a win and some help, but Head Coach Todd Haley knows that his team is essentially playing two more playoff games before getting to the playoffs, because the San Diego Chargers probably aren’t losing again this year. The only real number that stands out on offense is 168.6. That’s the number of yards per game that the Chiefs are averaging on the ground this year. The other crucial number is 1. That’s the ranking corresponding with that rushing number. With 172 yards from RB Thomas Jones over the last two games of the season, both he and RB Jamaal Charles will have reached the 1,000 yard barrier this year. Though others have done that before, it has been a number of years since a team has had a 3,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard rushers, and a 1,000 yard receiver. QB Matt Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe can join the party as well with big games on Sunday. Cassel has thrown for 24 TDs against five picks and has one of the best TD/INT ratios in the NFL.
The Chiefs have been getting kicked in the teeth week after week in the media, as it just seems like a foregone conclusion that they are blowing the AFC West lead and aren’t making the playoffs. However, few are mentioning that this is a 6-0 team at home this year. Tennessee has met its match and will be bounced from the playoffs, as KC rolls to a comfortable win at home to move one step closer to the second season.
NFL Free Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -5