Sunday Night Football offers what might not look like a good game on paper but one that might end up being fairly competitive. The Kansas City Chiefs have won four straight and five of their last six and with a home game against the moribund LA Chargers on deck for the final weekend they need to take a win from the Bears at Soldier Field to maintain their positive momentum. More significantly, they’re hoping to hold on to the #3 seed in the AFC since it’ll be exceedingly difficult to run down 12-3 New England and impossible to catch the 13-2 Ravens.
The Chicago Bears aren’t going anywhere and they’re out of playoff contention. Their defense played reasonably well last week at Green Bay holding the Packers to 21 points but the offense failed to show up in a 21-13 loss. That broke a three game SU winning streak though Chicago’s struggles against the number continued. The Bears are the worst pointspread team in the NFL to this point in the season going 4-10 against the spread. They’ve won 4 of 6 SU but covered only 2 of their last 8 games. Chicago would like to finish at or above .500 to salvage some pride but they’ve got a tough road ahead playing KC at home this week and ending the season against Minnesota at the US Bank Stadium where the Vikings are undefeated this season (6-0 pending the outcome of Monday Night’s home game against Green Bay).
The kneejerk reaction is to lay the points with the Chiefs but there’s several areas of concern. KC catches a break with the weather as they’ll have clear skies and game time temps in the mid 40’s which is downright balmy by ‘Chicago in December’ standards. The reasonably decent weather takes some of the pressure off of Patrick Mahomes and KC’s miserable rushing attack. The Chiefs are #24 in rushing yards per game meaning they’ll find the going tough against a stout Bears’ defense. At least the weather won’t force KC to run the ball out of necessity.
At the very least, this game is important to Chicago head coach Matt Nagy. Nagy was formerly the offensive coordinator in Kansas City and it would reflect poorly on him if the team fails to show up here. That’s not going to be an issue–even with the team’s offensive struggles the effort has been there every week. Overall, no real interest in laying a TD with KC on the road. The Bears’ pointspread swoon this year has resulted in them being undervalued in this spot. We’ll take the points with the home team and play this one ‘Under’ the total. KC now ‘Under’ in their last 3 and the Bears have gone ‘Under’ in 9 of their last 11 December games and 15 of 21 as an underdog.