Monday Night Football Preview: Can the Chargers Upset the Chiefs?
This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the 6-4 Kansas City Chiefs traveling to Mexico City to face the 4-6 Los Angeles Chargers in a key AFC West showdown. Both teams will look to gain some ground within the division in this matchup.
After a surprising 35-32 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City now faces the Chargers as 4-point favorites in what is officially a "road" game for them. On the other side, the Chargers also look to rebound after a 26-24 upset at the hands of the Oakland Raiders. With advantages on both sides, here are a few matchups to watch ahead of tonight's game.
For the Chiefs, MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes returned from a multi-week knee injury to record 446 passing yards and 3 scores. Completing 66.3-percent of his passes, Mahomes' 8.46 net yards per attempt ranks number one in the NFL. Adding to Mahomes' Week 11 outlook, the Chiefs face the 23rd-ranked Chargers' pass defense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics.
On the other side, Philip Rivers enters the game sixth in the NFL in pass attempts (364), with the Chargers trailing in a majority of their games. As a passer, Rivers is also third in the league with 2,816 passing yards, with a strong 7.00 net yards per attempt. Unfortunately for Rivers, the Chargers face a Kansas City pass defense that ranks sixth overall, according to our metrics, and eighth in raw passing yards allowed per game (221.4). However, with the game totaled at 52.5-points, bookmakers expect both teams to move the ball here.
Running Back Breakdown
Since LeSean McCoy lost a fumble in Week 8, Damien Williams has dominated work in this backfield. In back-to-back games, Williams played 73-percent of Kansas City's snaps with touch counts of 14 and 24. This week the Chiefs face a 24th-ranked Chargers run defense, which should open lanes for Williams to operate.
On the other side, the Chargers continue to use a committee consisting of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Since Gordon ended his holdout, he has averaged 57 percent of Los Angeles' snaps, to 50 percent for Ekeler. However, the two backs play very different roles in the offense. Gordon averages 14.3 carries per game to Ekeler's 5.7, while Ekeler averages 6.2 targets per game to Gordon's 3.5. With the Chiefs ranked 30th in rush defense, both backs could have productive days in this spot.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs rank 15th, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics, while the Chargers rank 24th.
The Chiefs currently rank sixth against the pass and 30th against the run. The Chargers rank 23rd against the pass and 24th against the run.
To read all premium content, upgrade to a Premium account with numberFire
If you're not a Premium subscriber, it takes just a few seconds to sign up. You'll get access to all of our insider information, game projections, handicapping advice, DFS tools, advanced statistics, and more.