Thursday Night Football Week 15 Preview and Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Ben Gretch is back previewing and predicting Week 15's Thursday Night Football matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs.
Ben Gretch |
Thu, December 16, 9:19 AM EST | 4 min read
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Copy Link
r-nfl-chiefs-mahomes-300120.jpg

Thursday Night Football Week 15 Preview and Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Thursday, December 16, 2021

Game Time: 8:20 pm ET

Where to Watch: FOX/NFL Network

  • Key Stat: Since Week 6, just two of eight Chiefs’ games have gone over 45 points

Click Here For Chargers vs Chiefs Odds

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Preview

The Chiefs head to Los Angeles for a huge divisional matchup with the Chargers that seems like a high-scoring affair on paper. Patrick Mahomes vs. Justin Herbert. Two of the game’s biggest-armed and brightest-shining young quarterbacks.

That explains an over/under that is at 52.5. And that makes a lot of sense, at least on the Chargers’ end. Since their Week 7 bye, Los Angeles games have averaged 55.6 total points, with none of the seven games falling short of 40. They play fast, and they are explosive on offense, while their defense has had cracks in its armor, allowing each of their last nine opponents to score at least 20 points as they concede the run in favor of covering the deep pass, but have nonetheless allowed their fair share of big plays.

Chargers vs Chiefs Over/Under Movement

That two-deep shell defense was, of course, a response to Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive offense, and it’s changed the way Kansas City attacks games. With an improved defense limiting opposing offenses, Kansas City has turned into a team that takes what defenses give them on the offensive side of the ball. Over their past eight games, during which they’ve gone 7-1, Chiefs’ games have averaged just 37.8 total points. They’ve allowed just one opponent to score more than 20 points, holding four under 10, and have themselves broken 22 points just three times in those eight contests.

One of those games was last week, when the Chiefs destroyed the Raiders, 48-9. That scoreline immediately brings to mind the Chiefs of old, but that’s not how that game went. Of Kansas City’s six touchdowns, four went to running backs, and their defense scored a fifth on a fumble return. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce saw just four targets each.

Some of that was due to Kansas City dominating so thoroughly in the first half that the scoreline necessitated a lot of second-half running. But it’s the continuation of a trend, and Mahomes has thrown for more than 300 yards just once in his past seven games. Given the way, the Chargers play defense, and given the way the Chiefs have won games over the past two months, it takes some optimism to believe this is the situation where we’re suddenly going to see Hill go for 150 and two scores while hitting for big plays down the field. That’s just not the way things have gone for Kansas City this season, as hard as it is to buy into.

The question becomes whether Herbert and the Chargers can speed things up by putting pressure on the Chiefs’ offense. During the stretch where Kansas City’s defense has played at such a high level, they’ve certainly had favorable matchups. They shut down the Cowboys at home but have otherwise feasted on teams like Denver, the Giants, the Raiders twice, and the Packers with Jordan Love under center. Herbert, for his part, led an aerial assault last week on a Giants’ secondary that had been posting impressive recent results. The Chiefs are also coming off three straight home games and five home games in their last six to go on the road on a short week.

I think if you’re playing this game to go over the total, you’re doing it because you think the Chargers are going to win outright. So I will sprinkle a little money on the Chargers’ moneyline. Still, the total is high for this matchup, partly because the Chiefs are coming off a big offensive total in a game against the listless Raiders where they got an early defensive score and didn’t post 48 the way we’ve come to expect. This should be a fun game, but I’m taking the under with a bit of a hedge on the Chargers to win outright.

Chargers vs. Chiefs Pick

  • Under 52.5 (-105)
  • Chargers Moneyline (+150)

Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

0Betslip

Almost there!

We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.