Monday Night Preview: Who Will Win the Showdown Between the Rams and Chiefs?
This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs traveling to take on the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams in the highest totaled game in league history (63.5 points). The Chiefs enter this contest on a four-game winning streak after knocking off the Arizona Cardinals, 26-14, last week. Likewise, the Rams come in hot off a 36-31 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Both of these offenses sit in the top three in scoring and yards per game. With the winner on the fast track toward a playoff bye, here are the matchups of note in this contest.
Beginning with the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes has absolutely dazzled in his first season as the starter, eclipsing 300 yards passing in all but two of his starts. Mahomes has also impressed going by our signature Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. Among the 23 quarterbacks with at least 300 drop backs this season, Mahomes' 0.45 Passing NEP per drop back ranks first in the NFL. With KC yet to score fewer than 26 points in a game, all signs point toward Mahomes' historical season continuing tonight.
On the other side, Jared Goff has seen a career resurgence with Sean McVay calling plays. On the season, Goff has six 300-yard passing performances with a 22-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Looking at NEP, Goff has also impressed. His 0.38 Passing NEP per drop back ranks third among the aforementioned group, behind only Mahomes and Drew Brees. Like Mahomes, Goff should keep rolling on Monday night.
Running Back Breakdown
In the backfield, Kansas City will roll with impressive second-year pro Kareem Hunt. Through 10 games, Hunt has racked up an impressive 1,091 total yards and 13 touchdowns. Looking at NEP, among the 27 backs with at least 100 carries, Hunt's 0.07 Rushing NEP per attempt ranks seventh in the NFL. Also a capable pass catcher, Hunt currently has 23 receptions for 337 receiving yards.
On the other side, Todd Gurley continues to tear up the league with an NFL-leading 1,390 yards and 17 touchdowns. Predictably, Gurley's 0.18 Rushing NEP per carry ranks first among qualified running backs. He already has an astounding 67 touches in the red zone this season and should continue his dominance in a great matchup.
According to our schedule-adjusted metrics, both KC and the Rams have struggled on defense, with the Chiefs ranking 28th and the Rams slotting in at 21st.
The Chiefs have been poor in both phases, boasting the league's last-ranked run defense and 15th-best unit versus the pass. Similarly, the Rams rank 29th in run defense and 17th against the pass. This bodes well for the offenses on both sides, which explains the huge over/under.
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