The Kansas City Chiefs face the stop-start Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football. Who will claim AFC West supremacy?
As Christmas approaches, the NFL enters its own sort of silly season. Teams are fighting for their playoff positions, and nowhere in the NFL is it tighter than the AFC West. Week 15 opens on Thursday night with what might be the season’s best TNF game, the Kansas City Chiefs facing the L.A. Chargers.
The Chiefs enter this game in their stride, winning their last six and hoping to secure the division. However, the Chargers are a different prospect, and their matchup in Week 3 shows that the Chargers can beat the Chiefs. What can Justin Herbert do to get over this newly dominant Kansas City defense? We look at three key predictions that will decide the game.
3. Kansas City Chiefs defensive improvements
The Kansas City Chiefs are on a six-game winning streak. After the first six weeks of football, there would have been impressive returns for betting on that turn of events. Their football was topsy turvy, and they were not clicking on key offensive plays. It seemed like the league’s defensive coordinators had figured them out on key downs for momentum.
Of course, the offense still scored and caused problems, but they were no longer overpowering teams. So what changed? Surprisingly, their defense became meaner than ever.
For years, the Chiefs’ recipe for success has been to outgun, outman and overpower opponents by scoring more. It didn’t matter what game management was put in front of them, they just dared teams to settle for special teams options. This season, the formula has been tweaked and it has been the defense that has carried a sputtering offensive unit.
Over the current six-game win streak, the Chiefs have conceded two touchdowns or less in every game. In fact, four out of the six opponents were held to single-digit scoring, including a Dallas Cowboys offense that was first in the league in total yards until the past fortnight. They have been exceptional.
Currently, the Chiefs are 14th in rushing yards allowed per game and 4th in forced fumbles with 15. The Chiefs’ defense is making stops in big moments. Opponents have been able to complete third-down conversions 38.41% of the time, 12th in the league, and an impressive statistic considering the offenses they have faced.
The Kansas City Chiefs are rolling, and their defensive prowess is a primary factor in their recent turnaround. The Chargers will be kept to less than 20 points on Thursday night by the Chiefs defense, the first key prediction for who will win.